EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
This interesting sword does seem a genuinely intended example, in the 'style' of the 'cavalier' type swords of the 17th century which were in effect transitional precursors of the small sword on the 18th c. from rapiers.
In my view this is too much a civilian type rapier blade, too narrow for a campaign or 'arming' sword. The hilt does seem inadequately situated for effective handling in the fencing manner suggested by the long, slender blade.
The elements of the hilt appear cast, suggesting later production than the presumed 17th century period, but made in the style of. Regarding the 'French' attribution with the fluer de lis, it is important to realize the much broader use of that device in European symbolism and heraldry.
With regard to being French also, this long blade seems contrary to the 'fast' swordsmanship preferred by the French, as well known in the evolution of the small sword.
The unusual elongated 'Passau' wolf confined within the fuller seems a contrived application, but that was of course common. I would point out that this device was more a talismanic element which was attributed to Passau and such applications of these kinds of 'art' and amulets from there.
I have not found sound evidence of blade smiths from Passau, and it seems they actually received their blades from Solingen or Munich. One reference actually notes that the 'wolf' was applied to blades destined for Passau from Solingen (re: Wundes, "Cut and Thrust Weapons" E. Wagner, 1967, Prague).
In all, this may well be a 'historismus' weapon from later intended for dress or other wear. The fluer de lis may simply be intended with allusion to the Bourbon regime in some provincial tone.
Still a most attractive weapon with some interesting background.