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Old 19th February 2006, 09:01 PM   #1
Radu Transylvanicus
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Default Arms & armour in Californian Spanish missions - San Juan Capistrano

Images taken last week at the San Juan Capistrano mission in California, USA. Founded in the 18th century by the "fer-de-lance" of the Spanish reign: Catholic monks, conquistadors and adventurers. Excuse the quality of the indoor images, very low fluorescent light and items were encased in highly reflective glass.
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Old 19th February 2006, 09:06 PM   #2
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Old 19th February 2006, 09:08 PM   #3
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Old 19th February 2006, 09:10 PM   #4
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Old 19th February 2006, 09:11 PM   #5
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Old 19th February 2006, 09:16 PM   #6
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Restrictions in photobucket.com are 512 so the files are pretty small... I wish I could show you more detail...
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Old 19th February 2006, 10:09 PM   #7
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[font=&quot]Well, not to rain in anyone's parade, but... well, judging exclusively by the pictures, I would say that the authenticity of the collection of weapons presented there is more than suspect. I won't say anything about the musket, as I can't see enough of it to pass a judgement, but the rest of items... well, to start with the typology of the helmet (technically, a cabasset) and the swept-hilt swords is 16th. - early 17th centuries, not 18th by any means. To this, only add that the swords are in fact modern decorative replicas, industrially produced. The blades are made out of sheet metal, with the edges slightly sharpened, and sometimes etched, frequently with the legend "Colada del Cid", after a sword in the Royal Armouries at Madrid that at some point was thought to have belonged to the 11th c. Spanish warrior Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, El Cid Campeador. Curiously, such attribution was very clearly debunked at the end of the 19th c. and there's no doubt about it in the academic circles, but on the more popular level it somewhat stuck, don't really know why. This sword has been reproduced for the great part of the 20th. century by the Toledo manufacturers of decorative swords, and in fact are still in production:




The exemplars shown here have obviously been badly neglected, but I'm afraid their oxidation alone isn't enough to classify them as antiques. The cabasset looks also suspiciously like some nickel-plated exemplars also sold as decorative items, but truth is that with the picture alone not much else can be said. Also, the crossbow is not only an anachronism, but, once more, quite similar to some of those sold as decorative. Again, not enough clear data to say much more.
The sabre is a 19th c. one, French or French-inspired, although there's a Spanish pattern very similar to this one, I should check my references.

In short, can't really comment about the rest of the items (I seem to distinguish an adarga or leather shield of a Dragón de Cuera, mestizo troops that patrolled the frontiers of New Spain until the independence of these countries, also, the painting behind the sword and the sabre might represent a member of this corps), but at least regarding bladed weaponry this display seem to be more show than testimonial...


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Old 20th February 2006, 12:46 AM   #8
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Radu, thank you for posting these great pictures of San Juan Capistrano!
I always was fascinated by this wonderful place as well as the history of the early Spanish colonization of California, and lived just a few miles from the mission, having grown up in Southern California.
Deeply intrigued by Spain, and studying the history of Spain and its Conquistadors, it was exciting to know that just less than 200 years ago, this place was essentially a part of Spain.

I agree with Marc in his assessment of the weapons, which of course are modern Toledo issues of historic arms and armor, but do indeed provide a very interesting showcase to embellish this most historic place.

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 20th February 2006, 03:52 AM   #9
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Default Spanish colonial weapons

I agree with the weapons being repros, but perhaps they were meant to be only props? I find the history of colonial Spanish weapons fascinating and I'm very glad to see Radu's pics of some of the old Spanish missions of California. I have a small collecion of these pieces, the best of which is a brass lion-headed hilt broadsword with the typical Spanish motto on it (Don't draw me without reason...) dating to 1800-20 period and from the old San Francisco area. Many of the colonial pieces and espada truly fit into the catagories of ethnographic weapons and due to their quaint, primative construction, also as folk art! Great seeing the actual missions. Thanks, Radu!
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Old 20th February 2006, 04:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
I have a small collecion of these pieces, the best of which is a brass lion-headed hilt broadsword with the typical Spanish motto on it (Don't draw me without reason...) dating to 1800-20 period and from the old San Francisco area.


What! no picture?

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Old 20th February 2006, 08:46 PM   #11
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I'd love to post pics, but just like my problem over on the swap page, I'm non-technological! To me, a wireless mouse is like the monolith to the apes in the movie "2001: A Space Odessey". OOooohhhh!
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