Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > European Armoury
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 4th April 2015, 03:44 AM   #1
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,645
Default Earliest Use of Paired Crescent Moons on Solingen Blades

In a concurrent thread on basket hilt swords, the subject of markings of paired crescent moons placed at the terminus of shorter right and left fullers in a central three fuller configuration came up on an Anglo-English basket hilt c.1740s.

The character of these paired 'man in the moon' faced markings are not commonly known on European blades, however they are extremely common in North African blades used in takouba and kaskara. According to Lloyd Cabot Briggs in his article on these blades (JAAS, 1965) his exhaustive research on European, typically Solingen, blades imported into these North African spheres, these 'paired moons' were inherently native applied. While considerable numbers of these blades were indeed European, it appears that native armourers used them on the blades they made as well as possibly applying them to imported or acquired foreign blades .

It has been well known, as described by Oakeshott ('Records of the Medieval Sword') and other instances, that broadsword blades, often of Solingen or Sudanese make, have been mounted in some cases in authentic medieval European hilts and in other cases in other hilts of varying form and age.

The objective of this thread is not to discredit examples of swords with these types of markings but to establish and authenticate the earliest use of the paired moons in Europe on blades so as to determine the origins of their use in North Africa.

In the images I borrowed from the other thread, on the left is a basket hilt with triple fullers and paired moons c.1600 posted by Cathey. In my opinion this is one of the strongest cases for European use of these moons. It will be noted that at the blade root flanking the central triple fullers are two flutes. The moons are more in the character of European astral images used in motif, and blade is entirely of early Solingen types destined for Scotland.

On the right is a basket hilt c.1745, also shown by Cathey, an outstanding Anglo-Irish hilt. The blade however has paired moons more of the character seen on North African kaskara blade examples. While there is of course the possibility this is a German blade, the markings are atypical for Solingen forms known, and both degenerated, almost stylized geometric in form.

The blade example below posted by Iain illustrates the nature of the variations of these moons and fullers on kaskara blades. Many of these are produced in North African locations and blades with the moons are termed 'masri' (Rodd, 1928) with the moons termed 'dukari' and placed for magical and talismanic purpose.


I am hoping that possibly we might look into the use of crescent moons on European blades, and especially instances of their occurrence in pairs facing away from each other as seen here.
We know that the man in the moon type devices occur, usually with other cosmological themes , but looking for the paired examples.
Attached Images
   

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 4th April 2015 at 04:02 AM.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2015, 07:41 AM   #2
ulfberth
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 231
Default

Hi Jim,

in auction 69 in Hermann Historica there was a late 16th century German riding sword with six moon stamps on the ricasso, though not facing away from each other, this provides a good idea of the shape and dimensions of old European type of stamps.

Kind regards

Ulfberth
Attached Images
   
ulfberth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2015, 08:10 AM   #3
ulfberth
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 231
Default

and this one with the moons faced away from each other, discribed as:
A German gold-plated rapier circa 1580
Double-edged thrusting blade of flattened hexagonal section. Both sides signed "CLEMENS STAM" within the double fullers and struck with six marks on the ricasso.
Attached Images
 
ulfberth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2015, 09:00 AM   #4
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: CSA Consulate, Rm. 101, Glos. UK: p.s. - Real Dogs Have Feathering.
Posts: 2,462
Default

single moon engraving:

Austro-Hungarian Hussar Sabre of General Andreas Hadik c.1760
Attached Images
 
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2015, 11:03 AM   #5
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Morava - Olomoucký kraj - Czech Republic
Posts: 1,491
Default

Good idea to split this out into another topic Jim. As others have noted these moon stamps are derived from engraving styles which have existed for centuries. Probably the closest to a transitional piece I ever saw was this nice single fuller astral/talisman blade with paired engraved crescents.

I'm also including a Katzbalger with a stamped variation of the crescent. But it's a singular.

Regarding the application of the marks themselves, my understanding is that these would be stamped hot. Meaning that in a non-European context this would be not easy to achieve without destroying the temper of the blade. Briggs is a great source, but he could well have simply got it wrong.

To be clear, the example of mine you posted is 100% produced in Europe, it is an older example and from the 18th century I am 99% sure.
Attached Images
  
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2015, 08:50 PM   #6
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,645
Default

Ulfberth, Kronkew and Iain, thank you so very much guys!!!!

Ufberth, the multiple moons are exactly the concept I have been trying to learn more on. As often noted, the crescents are typically singular, but seen in multiples like this begs many questions.

I have seen cases where kings head, for example as used by Wundes, appear in as many as four or five strikes. It recalls the groupings of stamps applied with silver hallmarking and seems to allude to that sort of 'quality' connotation.
In cases where such a mark, with more pragmatic use such as guild or compliance stamps has become more a motif, such as linear use of the sickle or eyelash marks, it may be perceived as multiplication of power or quality (i.e. more means better).

Speaking of sickle marks, these are another case where what was apparantly a guild type mark associated with Genoa, yet other North Italian centers used similar marks in other configurations and groupings with other marks. Like the moons, running wolf and many other marks were purloined by other centers in many other countries and cultures.

Kronckew, excellent example of the cosmological motif which became popular on blades in the 17th through 18th centuries in Europe. These images became the prototypes for various native interpretations because of the prolific import of trade blades bearing these.

Iain, great points as always, and good info on the stamping of the blades.
I have always been admittedly puzzled on this as there are so many cases of swords and weapons being cold stamped with arsenal marks etc. I was never clear at how this could be accomplished with hard steel.
Briggs does note an analogy on the dukari marks being stamped on an already thuluth covered blade, naturally suggesting these were placed by native artisans. In other references it is noted that the native smiths were using stamps which over time became damaged and suggesting this as cause of degenerating images on later examples

As we have discussed, it certainly seems likely that Solingen, in their phenomenal marketing prowess, might have tailored their blades, including markings, to their clientele. We already know this factually with the 'Spanish motto' blades of the 18th c.; the 'Sahagum' of 17th and 18th to low countries of the Continent; and of course..the 'Andrea Ferara blades to Scotland of the 17th and 18th.
With the decline of markets and demand at the end of the Franco-Prussian war with an overbuilt industry in Solingen for blades, they turned to other potential markets in colonial spheres. It seems we have found that blades were indeed produced for North Africa in this 19th century period and later but we have not yet found definitive data proving so, nor if these were stamped with dukari as discussed.

If these blades were indeed stamped with these marks in Solingen, whether 19th century, or as suggested in the 18th it would be key information. Naturally, if the 18th century date for these was the case, then it would explain just how this unique configuration of even distorted moons became situated in Saharan context. It would also explain these several anomalies in Scottish basket hilts with these dramatically uncharacteristic blades and marks as we are discussing. It would also suggest that the volume of these strategically marked blades for North African consumption were thus shipped away from Europe, explaining the notable absence of examples in European context.

A lot to be considered!!! but well on the track !
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th April 2015, 08:41 AM   #7
ulfberth
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 231
Default

Here is another one German from the beginning of the 17th century.
It seems that famous blade makers also used the moon mark as a quality stamp, amongst other stamps.
Described as: A military rapier, Munich, circa 1610/20

A thrusting blade of flattened hexagonal section struck on both sides with Wolfgang Standler's crescent moon mark on the ricasso

Kind regards

Ulfberth
Attached Images
  

Last edited by ulfberth : 5th April 2015 at 08:54 AM.
ulfberth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th April 2015, 12:01 AM   #8
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: CSA Consulate, Rm. 101, Glos. UK: p.s. - Real Dogs Have Feathering.
Posts: 2,462
Default

new poster just posted links to another austro hungarian blade with similar markings to the one i posted, HERE see the link for the 1765 infantry hanger.
Attached Images
 
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th April 2015, 01:57 AM   #9
stephen wood
Member
 
stephen wood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 217
Default

I think the sword with the Irish hilt almost certainly has a late 19th/early 20th German blade: I recognize the particular stamps. The invisible giveaway with these remounted kaskara blades is that the tang does not pass through the grip - it is shorter and pierced to accommodate a peg rather than to be peened at the pommel.
stephen wood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th April 2015, 07:45 AM   #10
ulfberth
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 231
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen wood
I think the sword with the Irish hilt almost certainly has a late 19th/early 20th German blade: I recognize the particular stamps. The invisible giveaway with these remounted kaskara blades is that the tang does not pass through the grip - it is shorter and pierced to accommodate a peg rather than to be peened at the pommel.


While I'm not an expert on kaskara blades I do know a thing or two on old European blade's and I tend do agree with you, however I can't rule out the possibility 100 % that the blade is 18th c either
That's what make's this tread so interesting, the one in my next post is even more difficult to pinpoint, but people like you who are experienced with these kaskara blade's might know more ....

Thanks

Ulfberht
ulfberth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th April 2015, 09:10 PM   #11
Norman McCormick
Member
 
Norman McCormick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,167
Default

Hi,
Paired crescent moons and a big'un on a small sword hilted spadroon of mine with Solingen blade 2nd half 18thC.
Regards,
Norman.
Attached Images
   

Last edited by Norman McCormick : 6th April 2015 at 11:17 PM.
Norman McCormick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th April 2015, 09:13 PM   #12
Norman McCormick
Member
 
Norman McCormick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,167
Default

Hi,
More scattered crescents on other parts of blade.
Regards,
Norman.
Attached Images
   
Norman McCormick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2015, 08:11 AM   #13
ulfberth
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 231
Default

Hi Norman,

that is a very nice small sword, beautiful guard and nice blade to.
I think that the engraved crescent moons are mostly used as a symbolic or decoration on the blade, but just as interesting of course, whereas the stamps were uses as marks for identification and or quality.

Kind regards

Ulfberth
ulfberth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2015, 06:14 PM   #14
Norman McCormick
Member
 
Norman McCormick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,167
Default

Hi Ulfberth,
I thought possibly this image with the paired crescents may be applicable.
My Regards,
Norman.
Attached Images
 
Norman McCormick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th April 2015, 07:41 PM   #15
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,645
Default

Thank you so much Norman and Ulfberth for these great examples! as well as the well placed observations.
As noted in the title of this thread, this query is prompted by questions pertaining to the occurrence of faced crescent moons on European blades, particularly those which appear on the blade center near the terminus of fullers.

There is of course a great deal of speculative analysis on what the symbolic or in some cases, talismanic meaning of these crescent moons might have been. This undoubtedly varied in the perceptions of the many circumstances in which they were applied. While this presents fascinating opportunities for possibilities, it is the curious case of multiples in their application, as well as the configuration and position on the blade which is most intriguing.

We know that various stamped marks were placed on European blades and often in multiples as have been seen on examples seen in this thread. It seems that typically makers stamps are most often at the forte on earlier European blades. In the case of most astral themes containing crescent moons as well as stars, sun etc. these are inscribed in central areas of the blade field.

The crescent moons, in pairs, are well known in Saharan regions primarily in North Africa and found on various broadsword blades. These occur invariably at blade center near fullers. We know that large volumes of these blades came from Europe as trade products. We also know that these 'trade' blades apparently inspired native armourers to apply these marks to blades they made as well as others.

It has long been suggested that Solingen indeed produced blades for export to North Africa much as for their many client entrepots in many countries .
It seems these blades may well have been stamped with the moons in Europe in accord with much earlier blade forms also made there.

What we need to discover, and hopefully those of you who have access to resources on Solingen history might have, is some kind of specific reference to documented record of such exports to African markets. Perhaps in addition to finding just how early these moons were used on European blades, we might determine when blades to North Africa began specific export, and if these used the moons.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2015, 06:17 AM   #16
ulfberth
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 231
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi Ulfberth,
I thought possibly this image with the paired crescents may be applicable.
My Regards,
Norman.


Hello Norman,
good point and indeed it is, my attention was drawn towards the big moon, however the smaller crescents seem to be an engraved version and in the same place were most stamps are on the broad sword blades.
On rapier blades the moons mostly seem to appear on the forte.

kind regards
Ulfberth
ulfberth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2015, 08:36 PM   #17
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,645
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
Hello Norman,
good point and indeed it is, my attention was drawn towards the big moon, however the smaller crescents seem to be an engraved version and in the same place were most stamps are on the broad sword blades.
On rapier blades the moons mostly seem to appear on the forte.

kind regards
Ulfberth


Well said! and indeed Norman this significant motif is of course pertinent as while of course later period, it recognizes the use of paired moons in earlier times as they became associated with quality and other imbued occult symbolism. In these later times, groupings of various cosmological devices alluded to occult and talismanic allegories, and apparently often included the by then, venerable, paired moons as recognized embellishment.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th April 2015, 08:56 AM   #18
ulfberth
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 231
Default

Hi all,

I found another one, described as a 17th century schiavona.
Jim , Iain , any thoughts on the blade ?
Altough the crescent moons are not that visible in the picture, the shape of the blade and the fullers resembles the kaskara.

kind regards

Ulfberth

Last edited by ulfberth : 16th April 2015 at 11:57 AM.
ulfberth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th April 2015, 11:48 AM   #19
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Morava - Olomoucký kraj - Czech Republic
Posts: 1,491
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
Hi all,

I found another one, described as a 17th century schiavona.
Jim , Iain , any thoughts on the blade ?
Altough the crescent moons are not that visible in the picture, the shape of the blade and the fullers resembles tha kaskara.

kind regards

Ulfberth

Not seeing an image.
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th April 2015, 11:56 AM   #20
ulfberth
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 231
Default

Attached Images
 
ulfberth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th April 2015, 03:29 PM   #21
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,645
Default

Ulfberth, thank you so much for your ongoing support in this discussion and for adding such valuable examples. These are excellent in our look into the similarities/differences in the use of crescent moons in Solingen, followed in other cultural spheres.

It would seem that in North Africa, the talismanic and magical imbuements of these faced crescent moons was well integrated into the symbolisms of tribal folk religions. That coupled with the special attention given by traders to these marks as indicators of high quality blades seem rather a 'shoe in' for incorporating them into subsequent native versions of the blades.

In this outstanding schiavona example, the blade is indeed central triple fuller and the moons in the familiar positions below the outside fullers.
It has long been clear that blades for schiavona were often supplied to North Italian makers in instances from Solingen.
While the competition between major centers in Italy, Germany and Styria was well established, in my opinion, it seems unlikely that Solingen blades would have been required in Italy as early as the date of this hilt. Naturally if the sword was in use outside its original sphere, and subsequently refurbished during its working life (often considerably long), then the use of a Solingen blade as replacement seems understandable.

This seems further support for these types of blades being produced by various smiths in Solingen in the 18th century, probably earlier as well, to provide blades to fulfill these kinds of requirements.....obviously in Scotland and other centers including Italian oriented domiciles.

As I have found in reviewing many old notes, these moons, like other often used devices, were not necessarily confined to a particular maker, especially the most prominent families of them. These were probably adopted by producers outside those within Solingen perimeters and provided as a kind of 'after market' type commodity, with such marks alluding to the quality of more renowned blades without the obvious copy of established makers marks.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th April 2015, 03:38 PM   #22
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,645
Default

I wanted to note that the excellent example of court sword posted by Norman in #14 on its blade has the blade motif, using these kinds of magic/occult motif in what is often termed the 'Caissignard' style, which originated or was typical in Nantes, France.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th April 2015, 06:49 PM   #23
cornelistromp
Member
 
cornelistromp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 888
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
Hi all,

I found another one, described as a 17th century schiavona.
Jim , Iain , any thoughts on the blade ?
Altough the crescent moons are not that visible in the picture, the shape of the blade and the fullers resembles the kaskara.

kind regards

Ulfberth


No, this does not mean that there is a link with Africa/Kaskara
this type of blade with triple fullers, with the middle fuller longer and sometimes extending to the point, occurs frequently from 1500 onwards in Europe, both on German and Italian swords! often without moons.

best,
jasper
cornelistromp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th April 2015, 07:18 PM   #24
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: CSA Consulate, Rm. 101, Glos. UK: p.s. - Real Dogs Have Feathering.
Posts: 2,462
Default

form follows function.
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th April 2015, 08:26 AM   #25
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Morava - Olomoucký kraj - Czech Republic
Posts: 1,491
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
No, this does not mean that there is a link with Africa/Kaskara
this type of blade with triple fullers, with the middle fuller longer and sometimes extending to the point, occurs frequently from 1500 onwards in Europe, both on German and Italian swords! often without moons.

best,
jasper


Hi Jasper, agreed, however the presence of these stamped paired moons seems to be not particularly common in European mounts?
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th April 2015, 08:40 AM   #26
cornelistromp
Member
 
cornelistromp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 888
Default

you do not see them often, but I know several European blades with a double moon in the middle of the blade with multiple Fullers.
but also blades with only Fullers without any marks.
I believe that the double moon has its origins in Europe, Toledo or Solingen somewhere in the 16th century

best,
jasper
cornelistromp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th April 2015, 04:16 PM   #27
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,645
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
No, this does not mean that there is a link with Africa/Kaskara
this type of blade with triple fullers, with the middle fuller longer and sometimes extending to the point, occurs frequently from 1500 onwards in Europe, both on German and Italian swords! often without moons.

best,
jasper


Actually the point has not been to draw any connection in particular to African kaskaras, but more to determine the presence of paired crescent moons with faces in European context. It seems fairly well agreed that these moons were indeed used as marking devices , even into earlier medieval times as per Oakeshott along with numerous others (I do not believe the addition of 'faces' came until later).
Apparantly the Espaderos del Rey in Spain used variations of the faced moon (Briggs, 1965; Mann, 1962, others) however they were singular and often with other devices usually. I would agree that the 16th century in the centers noted by Jasper would probably have been where these paired moons began.
It is my opinion that the use of 'multiples' such as the konigskopf (kings head) at the forte in Solingen, may have influenced or been associated with same with the moons on the swords Ulfberth posted using said configuration.

The purpose of these duplicated images is unclear, just as the use of the paired moons on the blade center near fullers remains......but however rare, it seems that Europe was the source of origin.

The unfortunate fear of incorporating 'ethnographic' medium into a discussion on European blades was the cause for unnecessary concern in the 'basket hilt' thread, and the inclusion of the kaskara instances were pertinent in recognition of the origin and period of the moons in Europe in rather a symbiotic sense. I think Briggs in his key 1965 article on the use of European blades in Tuareg edged weapons is a most dynamic illustration of that situation.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st April 2015, 08:10 PM   #28
peserey
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 4
Default

There are a Shasha of my family. I think the solingen it is. far as I know in my family 200 years. What do you think about this?
Attached Images
   
peserey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd April 2015, 07:58 PM   #29
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,327
Default

Welcome to the forum, peserey .
Very nice old shashka with suggestive marks.
It will be interesting to know what the members say about them.
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd April 2015, 09:21 PM   #30
peserey
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 4
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Welcome to the forum, peserey .
Very nice old shashka with suggestive marks.
It will be interesting to know what the members say about them.



Thank you . yes I am also very curious.
peserey is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 10:41 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.