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 24th January 2011, 10:29 PM   #1
OldMcDonald
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 8
Default Running Wolf

Hello readers, I'm new to this forum and have enjoyed browsing through many informative posts.
Gathering by the extent of collective knowledge amongst your fellow members, I'm hoping someone may have some info on running wolf marks.
The piece I have in question appears to have an earlier style marking, but I'm not sure whether this has been appropriated to appear as if it were of this quality marking. Also it has some numbers which again I'm not to conclusive about, being for what purpose, were they for numerological reasons - such as magical numbers - or as a talisman.
One one side of the blade it looks like "1 7 4 7 + " and verso "r 7 4 7 +".
Judging by the hilt, could it have been retrofitted at a later date? Also the blade had been shortened at some stage. Any ideas?
Regards, David.
Attached Images
   
OldMcDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th January 2011, 11:24 PM   #2
Norman McCormick
Member
 
Norman McCormick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,292
Default

Hi David,
First of all welcome to the forum, the knowledge is certainly here to answer your questions or at least to give it a good stab, pardon the pun. A great place to start would be the sticky on early makers marks here on the European Forum, plenty of info on the 'running wolf' etc. The sword, although cut down, looks interesting and I look forward to reading what the more knowledgeable amongst us have to say about it. Once again welcome to our happy band.
Regards,
Norman.
Norman McCormick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2011, 01:12 AM   #3
Matchlock
(deceased)
 
Matchlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default

Hi David,

And welcome to the forum.

As to the cyphers, they are not relating to an actual date but are of so-called Kabbalist or kinda magic 18th c. type.


Best,
Michael
Matchlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2011, 08:30 AM   #4
OldMcDonald
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 8
Default

Thanks Norman,
I did look at the early maker's marks stickies, and what confuses me is that the running wolf mark that matches this sword is from the late 16thC - which doesn't appear to match the hilt, and I could only assume that it was fitted at a later date.
Also the blade has curious diagonal markings, which may have some bearing and so I've attached a pic. Seeing that the blade was shortened, these diagonal marks must of been added at the same time as they run across edge to edge. God knows why?
Attached Images
 
OldMcDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2011, 08:42 AM   #5
OldMcDonald
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 8
Default

Thanks Michael,
I wondered whether these numbers had any esoteric relevance, and I'd certainly like to know the significance of this actual equation - perhaps it's why Boeing called their favourite plane a 747.
At least I know where to delve my interest towards.
cheers David
OldMcDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2011, 03:39 PM   #6
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 7,711
Default

Hi David,
Welcome to the forum.
Have you read post #21 of the said 'Early makers trade marks' sticky thread ?
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2011, 06:08 PM   #7
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,695
Default

Hi David, and welcome to the forum,
As Norman and Fernando have noted, the early makers trademarks thread does contain a lot of information on many aspects of the images and inscriptions found on blades. When I began the thread in 2007, it was the result of my fascination with this particular field of study in weapons, and very much remains so. Your sword is definitely intriguing, and I have been trying to form some ideas in assessing it as close as is possible without the benefit of actual handling and more detailed images.

The hilt is most interesting and suggests a military style officers sword which reminds me of mostly low country walloon type or Northern European forms. While I have not found anything that corresponds directly, but of course the type is of wide use, and this, with the subtle baroque designs seems of 18th century. Some of the guys more familiar with these kinds of hilts may be of more help.

The running wolf seems of the earlier form, but it must be remembered that these highly stylized zoomorphic impressions were incised by individual chisel strokes by craftsmen and not intended to be artistic renderings. Originally these 'wolf' markings were to represent compliance with guilds, but later became recognized as carrying talismanic properties in the manner of the so called 'Passau art' and as such were soon widely copied.

Regarding the numbers on the blade, as noted these kinds of numbers do not specify a date in most cases, and this has caused many instances of misperception in assessing the period of quite a few sword blades. The use of numbers in either palindromes or in coded numerics to fashion a magical configuration, in the sense of 'magic squares' and those type amuletic devices was well known in the 17th and 18th century on blades. These often corresponded with other amuletic devices such as the 'wolf', the cross and orb, and many others and were typically arranged with them in the blade markings.

In the case of this blade, the numbers seem to be ' 7 4 7' rather than 1747, and the figure at the outset of the numbers on one side may be a 'tau' cross rather than a 1. It is interesting that these numbers do not have serifs, which would seem more characteristic, but it is hard to determine whether that is significant at this point. Many of these numbers were inscribed in calligraphic script rather than in these bold Roman numerals.

The small cross at the end of the 747 seems to be the Maltese type cross or Greek type cross, and emplaced in this manner much as on earlier blades that preceded the wolf marked types, even as early as on those of the Ulfberht type. As these crosses were typically used by Bishops in signatures, it seems reasonable to see them added with often religiously oriented phrases and talismanically imbued numbers. The numbers 7 and 4 were key numbers in gemetria that were considered lucky and thus 'protective'.

As for the diagonal lines, it is hard to say exactly what the intent was here, though after studying many blades and weapons of India, it is mindful of the well known 'bubris' or 'tiger stripes' that were key to motif to Tipu Sultan in the 1790s. While not suggesting that this has anything to do with these lines, it seemed worthy of note, as in India, armourers were keenly intrigued by European blade markings and inscriptions and thier implication of the quality and often copied them on the 'firangi' blades.

The makara type heads on the quillon terminals on this hilt, as well as the scallop shell on the guard bring to mind the presence of the Dutch in the East Indies as does the fluting on the pommel cap in rosette style. Perhaps this may have been a military sword of 18th century with the blade cut down to better comply with maritime use? If it was Dutch and in regions of Indian influence in latter 18th century, perhaps even the bubris idea may have some merit?

A fascinating sword, and thank you for sharing it here!

All best regards,
Jim

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 27th January 2011 at 04:54 AM.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2011, 11:35 PM   #8
OldMcDonald
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 8
Default

Many thanks to you Jim,
For your comprehensive and informative post, it certainly shed a lot of light on the possible history of this sword. Now I have to read up more on the intricacies of these magical numbers as suggested by Fernando (thanking you as well).
best wishes,
David
OldMcDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2011, 04:59 PM   #9
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,695
Default

You are most welcome David, it was certainly my pleasure as it is always exciting to see examples which can benefit us all by adding to the material. As can be seen by the thread on trademarks, there is profound interest in this topic, however not a great deal of new material forthcoming. It is good to see the thread at least standing as a well travelled resource.

Intricrate is a very good description when it comes to these magic numbers, and I hope that you will share the results of your findings here as well. As with most serious research on arms, answers are often found in remarkably obscure and seemingly unrelated resources, and regarding the nature and symbolism of markings, seldom touched on in standard references.

All the very best,
Jim
Jim McDougall 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 08:21 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, 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.