Lead Moderator European Armoury
Join Date: Dec 2004
In fact, Rainer Daehnhardt has bought that rare navigator's sword at the auction, and even another one, also taken from a tomb, and in a very bad excavated condition. So now he has three specimens, so many as those existing in Spain. As Mark says, arms collecting is a confined circuit. Anyway this man is quite a character, his collection inventory is measured by the thousand multiple. Given the fact that Philip has his famous book Homens Espadas e Tomates but the texts are in Portuguese, and also that i have just posed Mr. Raehnhardt some ( layman ) questions on this subject, let me here try and offer a couple coments to your remarks.
Fernando's sword has rounded terminals to the principal quillons that are related to the testicles, whereas Gonzalo's hilt has flattened ends.
The version of Gran Capitan de Cordoba was in fact the most used style by Portuguese, Spaniards and Italians. Eventualy, and with my respects to Antonio Cejunior, the fifth picture in the above shown Antonio's page, a 1500's navigator sword, is quoted in Daehnhardt's book as being of Venetian origin.The version with the round quillons (guardas or quartões ) appears to be a Portuguese exclusive, mostly used and developed in the Portuguese strongholds in Africa. Known as colhona by rank and file, it was listed in inventories as Espada Preta de Bordo ( Board black sword ). They were painted black, to avoid rust and light reflexion, and they were considered ( also) for naval use. Outstandingly in some specimens, the round quillons are found quite sharpened, which sugests that these parts were also used as weapons for close combat.
It's interesting to note that the colonial imitations have much smaller pommels than their European predecessors.
European specimens were in fact of highly noticeable superior quality, but in colonial pieces some differences could be noticed between those made by Portuguese smiths detached to Africa, like to the Fort of São Jorge da Mina, and those made by Indigenous imitators, like those from Congo, who kept making them till a much later period. The tangs could just be bent at the pommel end, and not riveted, as also other finishing details would be neglected, like the pommel size. However the blades could be of similar quality, as all imported from Spain and Germany, which makes it harder to distinguish one from the other.
French writers on the subject maintain that they were designed this way as "blade catchers"
Actually Daehnhardt also quotes this possibility.
Ablout your observation:
To be fully sincere, I find that the relationship between this kind of guards and the so-called nimcha and Zanzibar swords deserves a deeper study
Daehnhardt sugests that Portuguese influence extends from the Morocan Nimcha to the Cingalese Kastane.
BTW, I must warn you that, in the book i have sugested and provided the link, the only crab swords shown are those in the pictures i have posted above. The many others are of different weaponry.
On the other hand, Homens Espadas e Tomates is well within this area of Discoveries Swords, having already sold several thousand copies ( some six editions from three different editors ) and costs something like 20 euros.
If i manage to deal with my wild scanner, i will send you copy of some pages, for you to have an idea of how interesting it is for you ... or not.