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Old 26th March 2015, 11:32 AM   #31
E.B. Erickson
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English, last half of the 1700s.
36" se blade with wide and narrow fullers, stamped "GILL".
Oval paneled hilt with oval rein opening on the left.
Shagreen covered grip bound with copper wire.
The detachable forward guard is a modern restoration.
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Old 26th March 2015, 11:38 AM   #32
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Scottish "Turcael", probably first half of the 1700s.
33" curved se blade with triple fullers, stamped "ANDRIA FERARA".
Shagreen grip covering and binding is one of my restorations that is done over the original (?) wood core. I had the sword disassembled to repair some broken hilt elements, and decided to recover the grip as long as things were already apart. The woolen tassel that can be seen under the pommel is original (?).
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Old 26th March 2015, 05:15 PM   #33
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Great regripping job. Where do you source your fishskin. I can get ray but the finer fishskin I have yet to find.
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Old 28th March 2015, 12:37 PM   #34
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Hello Will,
By "shagreen" I mean rayskin. I just purchased a rayskin and used the section with the smallest denticles so it would approximate sharkskin.

I don't have a permanent source for sharkskin. I have picked up old dilapidated sharkskin covered scabbards on eBay, and once got an almost complete very old dogfish (dogfish is the correct species for Brit/Scots grips) skin. The only problem with the dogfish is that there are spots that have decomposed, and you can't tell until you try to recover a grip. The decomposed spots sort of dissolve when they get wet!

--ElJay
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Old 28th March 2015, 10:50 PM   #35
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I too have rayskin but it's the dogfish I need. I believe they are similar to a small shark.
I don't believe any of the sword manufacturers would sell any as they want the business of doing the whole job, but shipping a sword to and from the UK is cost prohibitive.
Possibly to patch a spot one could use a thin layer epoxy putty and sprinkle on tiny beads and push them in to adhere. After dye it black.
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Old 29th March 2015, 12:22 AM   #36
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Default Crescent Moon Marks on Basket Hilts

Beak Nose Basket Hilt Sword

Nationality Scottish
Date Circa 1600
Maker/Retailer Blade possible by Stamm Clemens Soligen?
Overall Length 38 3/8” 97.4 cm
Blade length 32 ľ” 83.3 cm
Blade widest point 2” 5.1 cm
Hilt widest point 6 ˝” 16.7 cm
Inside grip length 3 ľ” 9.7 cm
Marks, etc. Two Crescent moons back to back

Description
Early Scottish Ribbon Hilted "Beak Nose" Broad Sword. The large Iron hilt forged from broad Iron bars and Large circular plates, with deep engraved line borders and circles. Large bun shaped pommel with button top. The grip of fruit wood and cut with spiral fluting, there are some cracks in the wood. Wide blade of 2" with five narrow fullers of various lengths, halfway down the blade is the blade makers stamp attributed to Stamm Clemens of Solingen. Blade length is 32 ľ".

Mark has been attributed to Clemens Stamm Soligen 1580-1610 by the late dealer Terrance Porter who sold this sword in 2001.

References:
DUFTY, Arthur Richard EUROPEAN SWORDS AND DAGGERS IN THE TOWER OF LONDON Published Her Majesty's stationary office 1968.13cplate 107
NEUMANN, George G. SWORDS AND BLADES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION pp138-139 231.S & 232.S

I have another basket in my collection that also has the back to back crescent moons, however whilst similar in design they are not identical to this one.

I know there is a hand and a half sword in the Tower of London also bearing this mark, but I have been unable to confidently attribute either version to a particular maker and would be grateful for any other views on this subject and the opportunity to see other examples of European swords with this distinctive mark.

Cheers
Cathey and Rex
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Old 29th March 2015, 09:59 AM   #37
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Cathey - nice ribbonhilt! Yours is in way better condition than most, and it's got a good blade, too. Thanks for posting it!

Will - Dogfish is in fact a species of shark. I still have some of the old dogfish skin left; do you want me to send you a piece? If so, let me know how big a section you need and I'll see if I've got enough left for your purposes.

--ElJay
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Old 29th March 2015, 10:45 AM   #38
Iain
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The sword with three fullers is more or less identical to the crescents found on blades common to African broadswords, kaskara and takouba. This version of the mark is typically later (19th century) than the more well formed crescent faces as seen in the sword on the left. A few examples attached.

So I am quite interested what comes out of this topic. Following with interest...
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Old 29th March 2015, 03:45 PM   #39
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ElJay pm sent.
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Old 30th March 2015, 07:37 AM   #40
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Default Kaskara’s with earlier German blades

Hi Iain

You are quite correct about the similarly as many Kaskara’s often have earlier European blades including those featuring the double moons. A number of those you have featured are probably German circa 1700 looking at the quality. The feel and sping of the metal will generally give you an indication of whether this is a locally forged blade or a European addition.

The sword attached hear and referred to in my previous post traditionally has this exact blade with this hilt as featured in NEWMAN, G.G. Swords and Blades of the American Revolution pp150, plate 265.s. Actually I am yet to see an example of this particular pattern which is quite distinctive with any other blade; however I have seen this exact blade on a number of other basket hilts of the same period.

Sword details
BASKET HILT Irish Dragoons Broadsword circa 1745
Nationality Irish – British Cavalry
Overall Length 107 cm (42.1 inches)
Blade length 90 cm (35.4 inches)
Blade widest point 4.8 cm (1 7/8 inches)
Marks, etc back to back crescent moons

BASKET HILT Irish Dragoons Broadsword circa 1745 this variation often called the “Irish Hilt” because of use by some British Regiments in the Irish Establishment in particular the 6th Inniskilling. It has a three-quarter basket hilt comprised of broad vertical bars joined by a middle horizontal strap. Broadsword, early double-edged blade bears two central fullers & crescent engraving.

General Remarks
The 6th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards were raised in 1689 to fight for King William III. The Regiment left Ireland in 1708 and did not return for 100 years fighting in the 1715 rebellion in Scotland were in Flanders and fought at Fontenoy in 1745, later at Waterloo in 1815 and Balaclava in the Crimea in 1854.

References:
BEZDEK, Richard H. SWORDS AND SWORD MAKERS OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND pp 284
GARDNER, R. E. Small Arms makers Pp 368
LENKIEWICZ, Zygmunt S. 1000 SWORD MARKS OF EUROPEAN BLADEMAKERS pp66 nm
MAZANSKY (C.) British Basket-Hilted Swords: A Typology Of Basket-Type Sword Hilts. Pp229 Fig VIII4
NEWMAN, G.G. Swords and Blades of the American Revolution pp150, plate 265.s
Wallis & Wallis Sale No 473 5-6/5/04 Plate 5 lot 1341 Pp51


Cheers

Cathey and Rex
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Old 30th March 2015, 09:06 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathey
Hi Iain

You are quite correct about the similarly as many Kaskara’s often have earlier European blades including those featuring the double moons. A number of those you have featured are probably German circa 1700 looking at the quality. The feel and sping of the metal will generally give you an indication of whether this is a locally forged blade or a European addition.

The sword attached hear and referred to in my previous post traditionally has this exact blade with this hilt as featured in NEWMAN, G.G. Swords and Blades of the American Revolution pp150, plate 265.s. Actually I am yet to see an example of this particular pattern which is quite distinctive with any other blade; however I have seen this exact blade on a number of other basket hilts of the same period.

Cheers

Cathey and Rex


Hi Cathey,

Thanks for the additional references. All very correct, a couple of the blades I showed are 18th century. The puzzle for collectors like myself on the ethnographic side has always been tracking down the crescents applied in Europe and associated makers as opposed to the habit of African smiths applying similar stamps after the fact so to speak.

I have to admit the form of the crescents show in this pattern I have more or less considered non-European due to the differences with the more elaborate crescents often seen. But I am quite happy to be shown to be wrong! I have always considered that quite a few of these blades turning up in basket hilts were 20th century combinations taken from kaskara/takouba (I am not trying to insinuate yours is).

So once again, thanks for the references!

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Old 30th March 2015, 12:50 PM   #42
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Regarding the African blade connection, I too have always assumed that these were later blades mounted in old hilts. However, last week Czerny's had an auction, which I viewed last night, and so I attach photos of lot 186. It's basically a twin to Cathey's, and I am now asking myself, is it reasonable to think that a collector or dealer in times past started a production line of this type of sword (Cathey's and the Czerny's examples aren't the only ones I've seen over the years)? I am starting to think that a more reasonable answer is that these are not composite swords, but were made this way for a cavalry regiment back in the 1700s.

Sorry about the fuzzy shot of the moon marks; I started from a tiny little thumbnail photo!

--ElJay
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Old 30th March 2015, 01:00 PM   #43
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More baskets of an English origin.

Grenadiers (?) half basket, 1750 (?)
30" curved se blade with single narrow back fuller.
This sword, although fairly pitted, is all original and does not appear to have ever been taken apart. The grip wire and wrap are long gone, but the ferrules remain. In spite of the pitting, there are traces of S HARVEY stamped on the flat of the blade.
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Old 30th March 2015, 01:06 PM   #44
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Another probable Grenadier's hanger, ca. 1750.
27" se blade, with single narrow back fuller, stamped with the running fox and SH as used by the Harvey swordmakers.
Grip is sharkskin wrapped with brass wire; ferrules are brass as well.
The guard base is an open heart, and this sword retains what appears to be it's original heavy leather liner.
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Old 30th March 2015, 01:12 PM   #45
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English/Scottish composed of rounded bars, arranged to form a basket of trellis form.
32" se blade, narrow and wide fullers, spuriously etched in the wide fullers during the 1700s with ANDRIA FERARA and various orb and cross marks.
Grip is sharkskin with gilt wires and Turk's heads (some wires missing).
The original scabbard is present.
The velvet liner is I think a later restoration.
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Old 30th March 2015, 01:42 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E.B. Erickson
Regarding the African blade connection, I too have always assumed that these were later blades mounted in old hilts. However, last week Czerny's had an auction, which I viewed last night, and so I attach photos of lot 186. It's basically a twin to Cathey's, and I am now asking myself, is it reasonable to think that a collector or dealer in times past started a production line of this type of sword (Cathey's and the Czerny's examples aren't the only ones I've seen over the years)? I am starting to think that a more reasonable answer is that these are not composite swords, but were made this way for a cavalry regiment back in the 1700s.

Sorry about the fuzzy shot of the moon marks; I started from a tiny little thumbnail photo!

--ElJay


I hope nobody feels I've derailed this thread by bringing up the African aspect.

Here's a couple larger images of the Czerny sword. It really does seem a twin.
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Old 30th March 2015, 04:23 PM   #47
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I was quite leery of this one at Czerny's, the grip has no covering and is wood with red/brown and black as is the finish on the remainder of the sword.
Only recent rust is red/brown and it's not rust.
It very much looks like red primer with black paint applied and since then worn down.
I may be mistaken but I have never seen this colouring on a sword.
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Old 30th March 2015, 07:59 PM   #48
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A fascinating topic, and Cathey as always presents superb examples along with outstanding support and documentation.

With the 'crescent moon' anomalies I would like to add my own notes and I pretty much concur with Eljay toward possible explanations.

As far as I have known, and I spent several hours going through Gyngell, Lenciewicz, Neumann, et al, there are no examples I can find of paired crescent moons at fuller terminus on European blades. It seems I saw one blade with something like it but not in the fuller aligned configuration.

The 'man in the moon' or crescent with face device seems to have derived from perhaps cosmologically oriented occult motif in Spain in mid to late 16th c. These figures also became somewhat allegorical in various themed configurations. Most often they were grouped with other devices and punzones to certain makers. The practice of course was adopted by Solingen by the 17th c.

The inclusion in this thread of the 'North African' connection is well placed as German trade blades using these kinds of marks became the prototype for copies of these applied by native artisans. Briggs (1965, p.88) states, "...I have seen no Tuareg weapon with half moon marks which I felt were surely European". This was in reference to the application of these half moons to blades with three fullers positioned much in the manner of the shown examples in this thread.
In his 'Records of the Medieval Sword' , Oakeshott describes the cases where many kaskara brought back from the Sudan after Omdurman had their blades removed to be remounted in hilts of various vintage, often medieval .
It does seem possible that this might be the scenario described by Eljay. I know that I have an old Indian pata which has a triple fullered kaskara type blade with cosmological motif as often seen on these bringbacks.

I know that Solingen is believed to have produced blades in the Mahdist period and probably post Omdurman specifically for export to entrepots in North Africa, and we have long tried to determine if perhaps these might have been stamped with these moons there. Thus far no evidence has been found as far as I have known. It is also known that the moon stamping was done in native centers as Briggs notes applications over many of the thuluth type motif blades.

I think that it should be considered that these blades could be German trade blades which might have been in kaskara (much as in suggestion by Iain).

I think the exception might well be the ribbon hilt with the broadsword blade with the fullers on each side near hilt flanking the central three. If ever there was a strong case for European use of paired moons on an early broadsword blade this would be it! Those moons look very European.

Regarding the 1745 example, what puzzles me is that I had always thought that 18th century British cavalry favored 'backsword' or single edged blades. That would be another question regarding this blade with strangely degenerated looking moons (as the case with the North African 'dukari').
Naturally it might be argued that officers often carried ancestral blades however, but the North African possibility is a consideration .

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Old 31st March 2015, 01:53 PM   #49
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And now for a few baskets from the continent.

Probably German, ca 1600.
32" curved se blade with single wide fuller, stamped with a mark on the left side.
Grip is a replacement that I need to replace one day, and the pommel may be a replacement as well.
Although of nice form, this is a crude munition grade basket of fairly hefty construction. There is a small curved hilt element missing on the left side of the hilt.
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Old 31st March 2015, 02:01 PM   #50
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German, also ca.1600
37" straight se blade with a single moderately wide fuller, stamped with a heart and cross on the left side. The heart/cross stamp has been tentatively identified as an Italian bladesmith's mark.
While the basket itself is typical, the long straight quillions are unusual, and I've only seen one other hilt of this type with quillions like these. The base of the guard consists of two solid shells, the left one with a thumbring attached.
This sword is in excavated and cleaned condition. The forward quillion is modern, and several pieces of the guard have been repaired. The leather covered grip is one of my restorations.
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Old 31st March 2015, 02:20 PM   #51
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German. I've seen these hilts dated from the 1550s up to about 1600.
41" straight de blade with a short central fuller in which is engraved IOHANNES.
Interesting hilt form that may have inspired Schiavonas. The oval members pierced with a slot defy identification, although I have heard a few hypotheses put forward (one of them x-rated).
The wire bound grip is one of my restorations, but the ferrules are original.

I first came across this sword in the early 1990s, when a collector that I knew got it out of a European collection. My aquaintance brought it to me because the grip was gone, and he wanted a replacement. The sword was covered in old, black, thick lacquer, which I suspect was used as a preservative in an old arsenal. The lacquer was to be removed as well. Where the lacquer resisted moisture and stuck firmly to the steel, the steel is nicely preserved, but where moisture penetrated the lacquer, some moderately deep pitting is present. So in the photos you can see areas of pitting, and right next door is a virtually pristine section of metal.
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Old 31st March 2015, 03:49 PM   #52
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@ Jim nice to see you back here :-)

@ E.B. Erickson
wow, nice
Iam still looking for one of those.
this type of basket hilt from the third quarter of the 16C, is extremely beautiful and extremely rare, there are only a few known to me.


the most beautiful I know of, is auctioned at Bonhams;

A Composite North German Basket-Hilted Sword
Sold for Ł2,640 (€3,602) inc. premium


Auction 14956: Fine Antique Arms & Armour from the Henk L. Visser Collection 28 Nov 2007 13:00 GMT

also pictures of two others from the same auction, the left sword was for a period in my collection, the inner guard is formed as a fleur de lis.

best,
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Old 31st March 2015, 05:41 PM   #53
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Default I cast my fly into a very deep dark pool here...full of very big fish!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
A fascinating topic, and Cathey as always presents superb examples along with outstanding support and documentation.

With the 'crescent moon' anomalies I would like to add my own notes and I pretty much concur with Eljay toward possible explanations.

As far as I have known, and I spent several hours going through Gyngell, Lenciewicz, Neumann, et al, there are no examples I can find of paired crescent moons at fuller terminus on European blades. It seems I saw one blade with something like it but not in the fuller aligned configuration.

The 'man in the moon' or crescent with face device seems to have derived from perhaps cosmologically oriented occult motif in Spain in mid to late 16th c. These figures also became somewhat allegorical in various themed configurations. Most often they were grouped with other devices and punzones to certain makers. The practice of course was adopted by Solingen by the 17th c.

The inclusion in this thread of the 'North African' connection is well placed as German trade blades using these kinds of marks became the prototype for copies of these applied by native artisans. Briggs (1965, p.88) states, "...I have seen no Tuareg weapon with half moon marks which I felt were surely European". This was in reference to the application of these half moons to blades with three fullers positioned much in the manner of the shown examples in this thread.
In his 'Records of the Medieval Sword' , Oakeshott describes the cases where many kaskara brought back from the Sudan after Omdurman had their blades removed to be remounted in hilts of various vintage, often medieval .
It does seem possible that this might be the scenario described by Eljay. I know that I have an old Indian pata which has a triple fullered kaskara type blade with cosmological motif as often seen on these bringbacks.

I know that Solingen is believed to have produced blades in the Mahdist period and probably post Omdurman specifically for export to entrepots in North Africa, and we have long tried to determine if perhaps these might have been stamped with these moons there. Thus far no evidence has been found as far as I have known. It is also known that the moon stamping was done in native centers as Briggs notes applications over many of the thuluth type motif blades.

I think that it should be considered that these blades could be German trade blades which might have been in kaskara (much as in suggestion by Iain).

I think the exception might well be the ribbon hilt with the broadsword blade with the fullers on each side near hilt flanking the central three. If ever there was a strong case for European use of paired moons on an early broadsword blade this would be it! Those moons look very European.

Regarding the 1745 example, what puzzles me is that I had always thought that 18th century British cavalry favored 'backsword' or single edged blades. That would be another question regarding this blade with strangely degenerated looking moons (as the case with the North African 'dukari').
Naturally it might be argued that officers often carried ancestral blades however, but the North African possibility is a consideration .



Salaams Jim, This is a great example of our huge library resource being better than much of what is out there...almost .. In researching I found your comments in earlier forums most interesting...and of course what brilliant resources you have aboard the Bookmobile !!! and how great it is to see you back..

I was puzzled at first in seeing this blade with a basket hilt and wondered what the connotations were in trying to solve the equation... I need not have bothered as your explanation hits the mark...A straight forward blade from Sudan but made in Solingen brought home and reworked onto a basket hilt... My recollection of blade marks puts the original European stamp type with Peter Munich in Toledo?:....Then the mark moved to Solingen ....(I refer to your own thread on blade marks). On its way it would have been given the Dukari treatment...then the basket rehilt..

The European moons are quite different to the North African style which appear to be Islamic in the Dukari fashion... The European moons, however, had another connotation which seems to be anti Papal.

Hats off to all the other contributors of this excellent group of articles and the superb examples shown.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 31st March 2015, 06:31 PM   #54
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Exclamation A Trap on Either Side

These trade blades, as well as the ones with the etched sun, moon and stars, were quite widely distributed and may turn up in locally mounted swords from most any place that did not have a significant local blade making industry. There is another basket hilt with facing (away) half-moons that have been over-engraved to make them into thistles illustrated in the Park Lane Arms Fair catalog for 1996 in an article by the noted Scottish sword collector, the Baron of Earlshall (attached below).

I fell into one trap in my early collecting days when I bought a fine old Mexican / Spanish colonial espada ancha with engraved astral figures. A few months later I saw the same engravings in a book on a blade mounted as a kaskara and became convinced that my sword - as I was also told by a noted dealer at the time (1973) - was a made-up fake. I had no concept of the 'trade blade' back then. Years later I bought Brinkerhoff & Chamberlain in the same dealer's shop and there discovered that my treasure was exactly that. Fortunately I still had it. I have also seen other trade blades of a different form in both Moroccan nimchas and early American sabers.

The opposite trap is, of course, ever present and these trade blades do not offer much confirmation as to the source of the whole sword and so hilt elements must be very carefully scrutinized.
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Old 31st March 2015, 07:58 PM   #55
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Cathey and EB, those are magnificent swords !
And Jim it so nice to read you again !!

Here is a german military sword with a basket hilt from the second part of the 16th century.
Provenance: it belonged to a group associated with the former Imperial seat at Schloss Ambras, Tyrol. The rapier and small sword Norman 1980 p. 151.

Kind regards

Ulfberth
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Old 31st March 2015, 08:02 PM   #56
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better format this time
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Old 1st April 2015, 02:31 AM   #57
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Thank you Jasper, and Ibrahiim and Ulfberth thank you so very much for the kind words!
These swords and the topics of trade blades, markings and their incorporation into many forms of ethnographic swords brings back many years of memories in research. Lee, the anecdote you share here of course brings back wonderful memories as well, and well illustrates how the conundrum of trade blades and their use in so many forms through many generations.

The term conundrum applies as these blades often took on new identities as they were refurbished into various mounts though their long and often quite eventful lives. While it is often tempting to regard blades in seemingly incongruent context as fakes or contrivances, in ethnographic circumstances most often 'recycling' reached elaborate dimensions, and these assembled pieces were honest 'working' weapons.

The very reason this forum, the European Armoury ,was formed as an extension to the Ethnographic Forum was to address the need to better understand European and other blade sources which constantly were present in ethnographic contexts. Very often these somewhat separate fields became emphatically combined.

In the case of this thread and the fascinating basket hilt topic, the digression to blades as present of some of these basket hilts is often key to proper identification and assessment of examples. This is the case with blades often found in kaskara as discussed, and occasionally there are other anomalies which must be evaluated in the same manner.

Getting back to the main topic, I would like to note that much as Lee has described in his anecdote, though the blade discussed seems to be a later example of course than this very early hilt, there can be other reasons for its presence in context. During the British Raj in India there seems to have been instances of examples of quite early swords being proudly worn by Indian officers and ranking individuals in native regiments. I can recall a photo for example of a ranking Indian officer c. 1890s holding an 18th century Scottish basket hilt. It seems this was not a singular case, and while admittedly tenous, I include the scenario only as observation for consideration.
There were a number of notable Scottish and Irish regiments in India in these times, and the idea of their officers having ancestral swords of considerable vintage does not seem unreasonable.

Incidentally, I have owned for many years, an Indian pata with very old gauntlet hilt......its blade, as pointed out to me in later years was distinctly a kaskara blade with the characteristic triple central fullers and astral themed motif much as seen illustrated on examples in Briggs.

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 1st April 2015 at 02:43 AM.
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Old 1st April 2015, 12:17 PM   #58
cornelistromp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
Cathey and EB, those are magnificent swords !
And Jim it so nice to read you again !!

Here is a german military sword with a basket hilt from the second part of the 16th century.
Provenance: it belonged to a group associated with the former Imperial seat at Schloss Ambras, Tyrol. The rapier and small sword Norman 1980 p. 151.

Kind regards

Ulfberth




Hi Dirk,

it is not a basket hilt to my standards, but defenately a very interesting and beautiful sword.
how is the transition from hexagonal to hollow(?) diamond shaped?
same as on the pictures?
I know 2 other swords with the same type of inlay also around 1570-1580.

see attachement.

best,
Jasper
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Last edited by cornelistromp : 1st April 2015 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 1st April 2015, 01:12 PM   #59
ulfberth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
Hi Dirk,

it is not a basket hilt to my standards, but defenately a very interesting and beautiful sword.
how is the transition from hexagonal to hollow(?) diamond shaped?
same as on the pictures?
I know 2 other swords with the same type of inlay also around 1570-1580.

see attachement.

best,
Jasper


Hi Jasper,

the blade looks identical in shape like the one in your pictures, its 4,5 cm wide at the crossguard and 92 cm long, the inlay in the middle is a bit different and it is definitely of hexagonal hollow shape.

Kind regards

Ulfberth
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Old 2nd April 2015, 12:05 PM   #60
E.B. Erickson
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Here's some additional thoughts on the Irish 3/4 baskets like Cathey's.

They do exist with other blade types. The one in Mazansky shows but a single fuller, so not likely to be one of the Trade blades, as they all have triple fullers right up to the hilt. And on the first page of this thread is a sword posted by Mark Deyer - same basket as Cathey's, bun shaped pommel, and has what I would bet is a se blade with the narrow and wide fullering. I may be wrong about that, but one thing is sure, Mark's blade is a lot narrower than the one in Cathey's hilt.

This Irish style hilt also exists in full basket versions; see the attached photo.

--ElJay
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