Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
I have been watching this discussion (and of course admiring this cutlass!) and am glad to see things develop. I am curious Jasper about the designation of Russia as the potential client for this particular hilt. I am not questioning it, but curious about the particulars.
It seems the Netherlands were especially fond of elaborate and decorative themes in their hilts for these high end dress swords. While they of course were indeed the 'arsenal of the world' as Puype so well put it, furnishing huge volume of other ranks arms.....these beautifully hilted swords excelled as well.
I had thought perhaps you meant that the lions devouring the Ottoman sultan were indicative of Russian victory over the Turks (in the generations of wars they fought against them) but realized that the lion was a key symbol used in Dutch themes as seen with their lionhead hilts.
It would seem that the Dutch had a kind of unusual circumstance with the Ottomans, as the Dutch were struggling with Catholic dominance there, and even had declared themselves 'better Turk than Papist' as see in the "guezen' associations in the 'Spanish Netherlands' (1556-1714). While they had varying degree of alliance or cooperation with Ottomans, I am unclear on that standing during the European Holy League (Austria, Poland, Venice) which also seems to have somewhat included Russia.
However, as always. arms trade knows no sides, and the commerce moves regardless of politics or any other delineating circumstance it would seem.
These thumb guard hilts seem to have prevailed long after that feature had diminished (after c. 1700) and these kinds of shell guard hilts survived and were produced in the simpler single shell form well through the 18th c.
I am wondering if refurbishing at some point in maintaining these long favored swords and keeping them serviceable might account for the seemingly incongruent peen.
That is the wonder of these magnificent swords, the stories that they often hold in the deviations and anomalies about them, that reflect the character established during their often very long working lives.