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Old 29th November 2016, 06:07 PM   #1
Cerjak
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Default A 17th century sword with a lionheaded pommel for comment .

A 17th century sword with a lionheaded pommel for comment ,
O.L. 90 cm ; blade L. 81 cm; blade width at hilt 2.2 cm
single-edged blade except in the last 10 cm near the tip.
Any comment on it would be welcome
Best
CERJAK
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Old 30th November 2016, 06:06 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Interesting hilt, and very similar to the felddegen posted on the other thread of c. 1610-50. The pierced plate in the bilobate guard with open ring reverse and thumb ring are reminiscent of this, but the blade suggests probably a court or dress sword, particularly as the ring in the lions mouth and aperture on quillon are likely for chain.

The lionhead pommel is most unusual and I think mostly of the 18th century British swords with these. However, we know that lion heads were indeed in use in the Continent as well, and in Holland in the 17th c.

In the work by Van der Sloot & Kist ("Some Facts Concerning Sword Hilts at Hoorn around the Year 1650", p.15; plate VI) there is an image of sword of Sgt. Jon Groote in a painting, c. 1655, which has a gold colored lion head pommel. It is noted that these kinds of lion heads were applied to 'swords of honor' awarded to deserving commanders in the Admiralty in those times. However perhaps wider presentation and variation I would think may have also been the case.

While this sword is clearly not as elaborate as the one illustrated in the previous reference, it does seem to support the idea of this being a dress or parade sword of a military officer or ranking civil official, probably of mid to third quarter 17th c. In "Blanke Wapens" (J.P. Puype, 1981, p.10) there is an illustration of a strikingly similar configured sword in use, but with standard orb type pommel. In the same book, the fixtures for attaching chain from quillon to pommel is shown and noted mid 17th century.

I cannot make out the inscriptions on the blade, but the sword wielding arm issuing from a cloud is a known symbolic from a number of German blades, and heraldic device from a number of countries. The arm holding a sword is associated with Munich sword maker Christoph Stantler (as referenced by Jasper) as well as Peter Munich, but neither issue out of cloud. Still these clouded sword arms are seen on other German blades seen but not noted further.

So I would say Dutch officers court or parade sword mid to third Q. 17th c.
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Old 30th November 2016, 07:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Interesting hilt, and very similar to the felddegen posted on the other thread of c. 1610-50. The pierced plate in the bilobate guard with open ring reverse and thumb ring are reminiscent of this, but the blade suggests probably a court or dress sword, particularly as the ring in the lions mouth and aperture on quillon are likely for chain.

The lionhead pommel is most unusual and I think mostly of the 18th century British swords with these. However, we know that lion heads were indeed in use in the Continent as well, and in Holland in the 17th c.

In the work by Van der Sloot & Kist ("Some Facts Concerning Sword Hilts at Hoorn around the Year 1650", p.15; plate VI) there is an image of sword of Sgt. Jon Groote in a painting, c. 1655, which has a gold colored lion head pommel. It is noted that these kinds of lion heads were applied to 'swords of honor' awarded to deserving commanders in the Admiralty in those times. However perhaps wider presentation and variation I would think may have also been the case.

While this sword is clearly not as elaborate as the one illustrated in the previous reference, it does seem to support the idea of this being a dress or parade sword of a military officer or ranking civil official, probably of mid to third quarter 17th c. In "Blanke Wapens" (J.P. Puype, 1981, p.10) there is an illustration of a strikingly similar configured sword in use, but with standard orb type pommel. In the same book, the fixtures for attaching chain from quillon to pommel is shown and noted mid 17th century.

I cannot make out the inscriptions on the blade, but the sword wielding arm issuing from a cloud is a known symbolic from a number of German blades, and heraldic device from a number of countries. The arm holding a sword is associated with Munich sword maker Christoph Stantler (as referenced by Jasper) as well as Peter Munich, but neither issue out of cloud. Still these clouded sword arms are seen on other German blades seen but not noted further.

So I would say Dutch officers court or parade sword mid to third Q. 17th c.


perfect

can also be swiss, see a dutch one as painted by rotius and a swiss one

best,
Jasper
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Old 30th November 2016, 10:36 AM   #4
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Thank you Jim, as usually your comment is very well documented .

Jasper,
Your photos shows two dogs head pommel I'm wondering if dog head and lion head pommel were in use in same period .
Two more examples with more elaborate hilts from "blankwaffen Seitz, Heribert ".
the left sword with the wire bound grip style with some similarity.


Best

Jean-Luc
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Old 30th November 2016, 10:55 AM   #5
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I believe one of the inscriptions under the hand brandishing a scimitar reads:
Si deus pro nobis
Quis contra nos
(If God is with us, who can be against us)
and the one in the same position on the other side
Inter arma...
(Among weapons ...)
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Old 30th November 2016, 11:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas
I believe one of the inscriptions under the hand brandishing a scimitar reads:
Si deus pro nobis
Quis contra nos
(If God is with us, who can be against us)
and the one in the same position on the other side
Inter arma...
(Among weapons ...)

ANDREAS
Thank you very much for the translation of this latin motto !
Best

CERJAK
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Old 30th November 2016, 06:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
perfect

can also be swiss, see a dutch one as painted by rotius and a swiss one

best,
Jasper


Jasper, that single word from you means a lot!!! Thank you!!!
I agree of course, this could equally be Swiss, or German for that matter.
Would the filtering of these influences be attributed to the landsknecht factor and the use of mercenary forces by various European nations and principalities?

Jean Luc, thank you, especially for the opportunity to learn from this and the many examples you and Jasper always share here. When I began researching this sword, quite honestly I could not be sure on its nationality but the period seemed right. It was the lion head that presented such an intriguing challenge!

I began to think of the much discussed and debated sword of Ceylon, the kastane, and the animal head pommel, which is typically regarded as a lion head. There are many views which regard these as Makara, the mythical beast in the lore and tradition of these regions and the subcontinent.

The reason of that association is of course with the Dutch VOC, and that many Dutch swords in the 17th c are seen with rather exotic looking 'lion' or animal heads on the pommels. Actually these type beastly or dragon head like pommels continued with English swords well into the 18th century, and were termed 'gargoyles' in heraldic notion. The confluence of Dutch and English style and fashion was of course well established during these times.

While for a time it was tempting to think that the Dutch lion heads and zoomorphic pommels were influenced by these Ceylonese examples, the earliest example of the kastane in its recognized form was c. 1619.
Actually it seems likely that these were with such form much prior to that date, but then so were European pommels in some degree.

I think it more likely that the lionhead and for that matter, other beasts in European arms are more likely to have heraldic origin than other ethnic influence in general. However one cannot dismiss other instances in more singular cases.

Touching on the heraldic factor, thank you Andreas so much for the translation on that motto! and I would note that the arm with sword issuing from the cloud seems very much a heraldic device. In the well known religious conflicts of the 17th century in Europe, this and the Latin motto seems well placed on this blade.
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Old 1st December 2016, 06:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas
I believe one of the inscriptions under the hand brandishing a scimitar reads:
Si deus pro nobis
Quis contra nos
(If God is with us, who can be against us)
and the one in the same position on the other side
Inter arma...
(Among weapons ...)


inter arma silent leges="In times of war, the law falls silent."

best,
jasper
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Old 1st December 2016, 09:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
inter arma silent leges="In times of war, the law falls silent."

best,
jasper

Thank you Jasper
Unfortunately this motto is even more relevant today.
I still try to find out for the last inscription.
Best
Jean-Luc
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Old 1st December 2016, 11:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerjak
Thank you Jasper
Unfortunately this motto is even more relevant today.
I still try to find out for the last inscription.
Best
Jean-Luc


you should try harder to read it Jean Luc, not the easy way.



vincer aut mori =to conquer or to die


best,
jasper
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Old 1st December 2016, 11:51 AM   #11
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Congratulationes tibi ago, Jasper
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Old 1st December 2016, 12:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
you should try harder to read it Jean Luc, not the easy way.



vincer aut mori =to conquer or to die


best,
jasper

Jasper
His hand writing is unreadable, I guess we did not go to the same School!
Best

Jean-Luc
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Old 1st December 2016, 01:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Congratulationes tibi ago, Jasper


Fernando, Gratulor tibi
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Old 1st December 2016, 03:42 PM   #14
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Bravo Jasper, well done!
Andreas
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Old 1st December 2016, 05:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas
Bravo Jasper, well done!
Andreas


thanks but it was not really a big effort, only reading.

best,
jasper
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Old 1st December 2016, 06:00 PM   #16
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If i may, it surely involves experience, that is, being acquainted with such inscriptions that were deciphered before. Smiths being often iliterate and putting down the lettering with their personal 'stylized' mode, i see it more as a question of interpreting than actually reading.
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Old 2nd December 2016, 08:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
If i may, it surely involves experience, that is, being acquainted with such inscriptions that were deciphered before. Smiths being often iliterate and putting down the lettering with their personal 'stylized' mode, i see it more as a question of interpreting than actually reading.


Well said, Fernando. As someone who often has to transcribe old manuscripts as part of his job, I couldn't agree more.
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