The Bereber kingdoms had mixed relationships with the Islamic dominions in the Iberian peninsula throughout their history... it was during the time of last Nasrid Caliphs (mid-late 15th c.) that these hilts developed.
To be fully sincere, I find that the relationship between this kind of guards and the so-called nimcha
swords deserves a deeper study, although I don't expect to find any direct link. But that's because I'm afraid I lack too much data... To start with, I would like to know when these guards first start to appear in the Maghrib and in Arabia, and if it is possible to clarify where they appeared first. My preliminary bets would go to them going from Arabia to the Maghrib, and not the other way around, just for a question of raw power of influence. Besides, I've seen at least one exemplar of "Zanzibar
", with stems (in Spanish they are called pitones
) in the hilt and a short(ish), wide, cutting blade, with traces of etched designs and inscriptions in Arabic, but with a koftgari
and enamel decoration typical of North African late exemplars. What it means, is hard to say without knowing where it came from and an approximate date for it, but at least it bears witness of a cross-influence. Too many questions and far too little data for anything but preliminary hypothesis, for now, at least in my case... gotta get a hold of that article relating these swords with Genoa, I've heard this argument a lot of times and would really love to see the data that led to that conclusion, it would probably dispel some of my doubts. Funny, this is one of the many questions that I have permanently in the back of my mind, probably because I like this type of swords so much...
How are the secondary arms of the guard called in English? I can't recall right now... in Spanish they are called patillas
, "little legs" (and also "sideburns", funnily enough).
Fernando, thank you very much for your offer. The photocopies I have are from what I think is a small catalogue of the Daehnhardt's collection, or at least a part of it. I got them in the fly, a long time ago, without being really able to ask for details (one of these "take it or leave it" things, but I just couldn't let pass the chance of having at least a small glimpse into one of the most important arms collections in the Iberian Peninsula). I don't know if such a catalogue really exists and is still available somewhere...
Congratulations on your purchase by the way
And about being the sword in the auction... well, arms collecting and studying is a small world, after all. Spend some time in it, and you start to find the same names again and again and again...
There's some more swords of this design in Spain and elsewhere in Europe, at least the Spanish variation, some in Museums, some in private hands. One of them is indeed the beautiful exemplar in the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan