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Old 26th January 2011, 07:53 PM   #1
Trond
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Default Sword with blade decorations from an other period?



This is most probably one of the 8000 swords - tessak in Norwegian - bought for resale to Norwegian farmers by Danish king Christian IV between 1589 and 1608. But the blade decorations? The blade is as far as I can see and have read, a correct blade for the hilt and period.







Hoping for an answer...

Trond

Last edited by Trond : 26th January 2011 at 07:53 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 26th January 2011, 08:31 PM   #2
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The etched stars, sun, moon and arm with sword are a feature seen widely on 'trade blades' and so may show up in the New World on a Mexican espada ancha from the 17th - 18 century, in a Scottish basket hilt and on early Tuareg takoubas! The modern takouba in the masthead of this page has an early blade with sun, moon and stars in very similar style.

There seems to still be uncertainty about which blade making center(s) was (were) the origin of these blades. I trust Jim McDougall will be along shortly with some greater detail as he has studied these for some time.
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Old 26th January 2011, 09:15 PM   #3
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In my opinion, the blade decoration is engraved, not etched.

I am also sure that this kind of tessak (German/Austrian Dusägge) is no longer of the 2nd half of the 16th century when most of those were made in Styria/Austria. The pommels then were larger, the blade of somewhat different shape, and as Lee has pointed out, the blade decoration comprising sun, moon and stars - though of late Gothic (15th c.) origin - usually shows up on Baroque blades of the 17th and 18th centuries. The style of engraving on this sample, especially the sword arm emerging from a cloud, are characeristic of German/Solingen blades of the late Thirty Years War, ca. 1640's.

It doubtlessly is a very nice and you sure deserve being congratulated on it!

Best,
Michael
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Old 26th January 2011, 09:26 PM   #4
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I would also have believed that the decorations on the blade are from the mid to late 17. or even the early 18. century, but as far as I know, none of these swords were imported to Norway after about 1608.

I have not been able to track this sword down over the generations, but it seems that it is one of the "original" tessak imports.

Trond
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Old 27th January 2011, 03:03 AM   #5
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Hi Trond,
Indeed a very nice example of the swords you note, and certainly of the type of these early heavy sabres of North Europe, and which are among the militia type swords that influenced the style colloquially known as 'Sinclair sabres'.
I very much agree with Michaels observations as his expertise in the weapons in this field is well established and respected. I also completely agree with Lees well placed notes on the widespread diffusion of these 'celestially embellished' blades into many countries in the trade networks.

Regarding the profusely applied motif on this blade, while these figures are characteristic of the elements of the cabbalistic motif of the 18th century on these 'talismanic' blades, they do seem unusually applied as a grouping. Though the use of these symbols did begin on hunting swords much earlier, they did not begin appearing on military swords until the 17th century as noted by Michael, and not greatly popularized on sabres until the influence of Eastern European hussars and thier sometimes thus embellished blades became well known in the 18th c. across Europe.

The blademakers of Solingen capitalized on this on thier trade blades, which became of course well known, and often copied in many cases by local craftsmen elsewhere. On this blade, the sword wielding arm from the cloud seems out of context as it seems to usually appear without the sun and moon. Also, typically the sun and moon seem to appear typically with a single large star, and only a few smaller stars in background, but not with the smaller solar figures.

It would seem possible that as with many heirloom items, this blade may have been engraved later with this motif. Naturally without close hands on examination it is hard to say for certain exactly when, but the style overall seems 18th century. The engraving is, nonetheless, beautifully done.
As always, I look forward to other observations.

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 27th January 2011, 10:50 PM   #6
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It is a beautiful acquisition, but as has already been said, too many talismans engraved concurrently is a suspicious sign.
BTW, could it have been brought from Sweden? I understand many of its older blades were brought over to Norway, to the former's current historical detriment.

BR

M

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trond
I would also have believed that the decorations on the blade are from the mid to late 17. or even the early 18. century, but as far as I know, none of these swords were imported to Norway after about 1608.

I have not been able to track this sword down over the generations, but it seems that it is one of the "original" tessak imports.

Trond
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Old 27th January 2011, 11:46 PM   #7
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As mentioned, I don't know the history of the sword. My belief is that the engraving of the blade possibly was done at a later stage, but I'm no expert on blades.

Trond
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Old 28th January 2011, 03:10 AM   #8
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That's exactly what we think, an improvement made later, which doesn't take from the sword's beauty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trond
As mentioned, I don't know the history of the sword. My belief is that the engraving of the blade possibly was done at a later stage, but I'm no expert on blades.

Trond
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Old 28th January 2011, 07:13 PM   #9
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Default Dusäggen, tessaks and Sinclair Sabres - Outline and Differentiation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
I am sure that this kind of tessak (German/Austrian Dusägge) is no longer of the 2nd half of the 16th century when most of those were made in Styria/Austria. The pommels then were larger, the blade of somewhat different shape, and as Lee has pointed out, the blade decoration comprising sun, moon and stars - though of late Gothic (15th c.) origin - usually shows up on Baroque blades of the 17th and 18th centuries. The style of engraving on this sample, especially the sword arm emerging from a cloud, are characeristic of German/Solingen blades of the late Thirty Years War, ca. 1640's.
Michael



I am convinced that this piece is of Scandinavian provenance, mid-17th c., and belongs together, with no later additions. As I tried to point out, second half 16th c. Dusäggen were quite different, with larger pagoda shaped pommels and slightly different forms of hilts and saber blades, the latter often punched with a series of eyelash shaped or 'toothed' bows.

They originated from 15th c. Hussite army side weapons with curved blades and were called TESAK (a Czech term).

Since the 1560's, we know of a very similar type of cavalry as well as foot soldiers' sabers, called Dusägge or Säbel auf Teutsch gefasst (German hilted saber) in contemporary Styrian inventories.

Thru large purchases in Germany by Christian IV of Denmark in 1617/18, the Dusägge found its way in considerable numbers to both Denmark and Norway, where it saw homemade production and in thisack or tesack, finally recovered its original Czech name as weapon of the Nowegian rural population. The heart shaped open work on the guard is characteristic of the style of the 1640's. For an earlier 1580's dusagge with a different style open work please see images below.

In both Norway and England, it is also colloquially known as Sinclair sabre. Rumor has it that some Sottish troops had attained many dusagges, which were taken from them by order of - amongst others - Captain George Sinclair.

For comparison, I attach images of a characteristic late 16th c. Styrian (Austrian) Dusägge, its iron mounted scabbard missing.
Overall length 105.3 cm
weight 1,340 g
single edged blade, the back grinded for its lower quarter and double edged at the tip, length 90.2 cm, maximum width 3.9 cm

Marks:
Passau running wolf inlaid in coper
unidentifiable maker's mark, perhaps an Italian barbuta helmet, struck two times in a shield, together with 'S'
a characteristic line of oval 'toothed' bows running down the blade till the back grinding
wooden grip plates, the original cord or iron wire binding missing
the hilt originally blackened.

Best,
Michael
Attached Images
  

Last edited by Matchlock : 28th January 2011 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 28th January 2011, 08:17 PM   #10
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Default A Good Styrian Dusägge with Round Writhen Pommel, ca. 1580

In the collection of a friend of mine, purchased Christie's, 24 May 2006.

The grip covered with leather, the hilt ca. 1575, the rapier blade ca. 1630 and inscribed FRA?NSISCO RUYS in the Spanish manner, together with an orb and cross.

Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 28th January 2011 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 28th January 2011, 08:43 PM   #11
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Default 'Eyelash' or 'Toothed Bow' Decorative Marks on a ca. 1575 Styrian Rapier

For deeper discussions of these marks, please confer


http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...t=eyelash+marks

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...t=eyelash+marks

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...t=eyelash+marks

BTW, we realize that the term eyelash is not anatominally correct as the lashes on these bows are on the wrong side.

'Sawtooth waveform' might be more fitting ...


Best wishes,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 28th January 2011 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 29th January 2011, 12:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Thru large purchases in Germany by Christian IV of Denmark in 1617/18, the Dusägge found its way in considerable numbers to both Denmark and Norway, where it saw homemade production and in thisack or tesack, finally recovered its original Czech name as weapon of the Nowegian rural population. The heart shaped open work on the guard is characteristic of the style of the 1640's. For an earlier 1580's dusagge with a different style open work please see images below.

In both Norway and England, it is also colloquially known as Sinclair sabre. Rumor has it that some Sottish troops had attained many dusagges, which were taken from them by order of - amongst others - Captain George Sinclair.


The name Sinclair saber is based on a misunderstanding. In 1612 some 3-400 Scottish mercenary soldiers were landed on Norway's West coast. They marched through Norway, but when they came to Kringen in Gudbandsdalen, they were more or less murdered by the Norwegian farmers. As the tessaks were fairly similar to the Scottish broadswords of the time, Norwegians believed them to be spoils from the battle - thereby the name Sinclair sabers.

The Norwegian Wikipedia is here way better than the English version (translate.google.com).

Trond
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Old 29th January 2011, 01:31 AM   #13
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My sources of research were

- an article by the Swiss arms historian Jürg Meier:

http://www.waffensammlung-beck.ch/waffe2.html,
see attachment quote in German, which I translated to English in my former post,

and

Per Terje Norheim: Vapen i Norge, 2000, pp. 78-82

So I did not claim that there was no murder involved on the side of the Norwegian rural population, I just stated the essential fact how the Dusägge came to Norway and made its way there after during the 17th c.

Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 29th January 2011 at 01:54 AM.
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Old 29th January 2011, 09:12 AM   #14
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a styermark dussage ex my collection. (unfortunately not anymore).
Can be dated 1570-1580 (dated by JP Puype.)
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Old 29th January 2011, 10:52 AM   #15
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Very interesting! I have something that must be fairly closely related to your sword, but with a straight (secondary?) blade.







Trond
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Old 29th January 2011, 11:30 AM   #16
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With so few people in Norway, it appears we now know who owns ALL the good swords!

Beautiful examples both Trond.
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Old 29th January 2011, 11:39 AM   #17
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I have a fairly good DkN long-gun collection, but a modest sword collection compared to other specialized collectors. Here is a picture of some of the tessaks belonging to a friend who mainly collects swords.



Trond
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Old 29th January 2011, 12:02 PM   #18
fernando
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Wow !!!
What a series of fine(est) examples shown in this thread
Can't you tell you friend to join us, Trond ?
High level colletors are never too many to have around here
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Old 29th January 2011, 12:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trond
Very interesting! I have something that must be fairly closely related to your sword, but with a straight (secondary?) blade.

[Trond

Hi TRond,

do you mean with secondary that your Dussage started with a curved blade?
I also had some dussages with a straight however single edged blade, with the same type of etching at the 'ricasso' showing on which side the cutting edge is.

best,
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Old 29th January 2011, 01:58 PM   #20
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I still call them tessaks - no I'm aware that almost 16 % av the tessaks had straight blades and that the one on the previous tessak probably is a tessak blade, I'm just not sure that this is the blade that has followed the grip since new. The "wear & tear" seems too different.

My friend with the serious sword collection is not to friendly with computers.

Trond
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Old 31st January 2011, 01:43 AM   #21
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Arne?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trond
I still call them tessaks - no I'm aware that almost 16 % av the tessaks had straight blades and that the one on the previous tessak probably is a tessak blade, I'm just not sure that this is the blade that has followed the grip since new. The "wear & tear" seems too different.

My friend with the serious sword collection is not to friendly with computers.

Trond
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Old 31st January 2011, 07:22 AM   #22
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I tried sending a PM, but got this answer: "celtan has exceeded their stored private messages quota and can not accept further messages until they clear some space."

Trond
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Old 31st January 2011, 02:45 PM   #23
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Ooopsies! Will fix this right away. Thanks for letting me know, Trond.

Best regards

Manuel

Quote:
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I tried sending a PM, but got this answer: "celtan has exceeded their stored private messages quota and can not accept further messages until they clear some space."

Trond
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Old 27th April 2011, 04:10 PM   #24
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Trond,

I have a friend who is researching a special type of tessaks but is not registered here. Would you please help me to put him in touch with your friend collector?

Cheers.
C

ps. Sorry to make a public post but I do not yet have permission to send PMs.
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Old 9th May 2011, 11:22 PM   #25
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You'll find my e-mail address at my web site - http://norskevaapen.no/.

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