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 4th November 2007, 07:56 PM   #1
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,167
Default Early makers trade marks

It is well known that often one of the key elements in studying ethnographic edged weapons is that of the trade blades often found mounted in them. I have tried using our search feature to research certain established markings often found on a number of these, but feel that it might be a more effective resource if we began a thread with discussion focused on known markings.

I am hoping we can focus for example on the 'running wolf' of Passau, which evolved into forms stamped in the blades of Styria, Solingen and eventually in the Hounslow blades and Shotley Bridge blades of German makers in England.
There is an especially interesting chart on the chronological development of this mark in Wagner ("Cut and Thrust Weapons") ...could anyone with this book please post? Also there is I believe a note on the marking in Oakeshott ("Archaeology of Weapons"). ...also please post anyone?
Also, I believe the running wolf in Chechen blades is termed 'Ters Maymal' (check Askhabov, "Chechen Weapons").

Other key examples would be the 'sickle', 'eyelash' markings associated with Genoan blades. These evolved also via Genoan colonies into Styria, Solingen and Chechnya (where they are termed 'gurda', see Askhabov again). These occur almost consistantly on examples of Afghan paluoars, and on trade blades in many regions.

The familiar 'Andrea Ferara' seen in the fullers of various straight blades of 17th-18th century seen on Scottish basket hilts, English mortuary swords, khanda 'ferangi' in India and others. Any examples of this appearing on trade blades would be essential. While often held by early writers to have been the purloined name of an early Italian swordsmith that became used over centuries as with the Islamic Assad Adullah marking, it has been suggested that rather than a name it is actually a term. Ferara (=iron) Andrea (=true, ?)
Much as in the term Eisenhauer on many German blades (Eisen = iron) (hauer=cutter).
Sahugun, on early Spanish blades..name of maker? or place?

The talismanic blades of the 18th century....the man in the moon, the human faced sun and the star ....what is the application of these astral figures? These are widely copied on native blades, especially in the Sudan and the Sahara. We need examples of the European blades as well as the native mounted ones.

'The Spanish Motto', do not draw me without reason, nor sheath me without honor. This occurs in about mid 18th century, and while associated with Spanish blades of the period, it turns out these blades, typically Spanish dragoon blades c. 1769 were actually produced in Solingen.

These are what seem to comprise the most commonly encountered markings on blades associated with trade and ethnographic weapons. I hope that anyone so inclined will quote and address any of these examples so that we might all benefit from discussion focused on them and the topic in general.
The comprehensive research resources and outstanding examples in the collections of the members and readers here is well established, and I would very much like to see these employed in a useful resource for us all.

Thank you in advance everyone!

With all very best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2007, 08:41 PM   #2
Rich
Member
 
Rich's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: east US
Posts: 339
Default

Here are some early Italian makers marks.

Rich S
Attached Images
 
Rich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2007, 10:47 PM   #3
fernando
Member
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,565
Default

Hi Jim

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
'The Spanish Motto', do not draw me without reason, nor sheath me without honor. This occurs in about mid 18th century, and while associated with Spanish blades of the period, it turns out these blades, typically Spanish dragoon blades c. 1769 were actually produced in Solingen.
Jim


This Motto is much older than that.
In the collection of the Portuguese Viscount of Pindela, published in 1946, swords #35 and #39 bear this Motto. These sords are dated XVI century.
This is a very serious (rare) publication (which i luckily have), sponsored by the State. The collection was kept in the family's Mannor house, where it was catalogued, and was later sold to the State, due to the family's financial situation. It is now in exhibition in one of the National Palaces.
Hpe this is usefull.
Fernando
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2007, 10:56 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,167
Default

Thanks so much Rich and Fernando for getting things rolling!!!
The Italian marks are great Rich.....I had a copy of the huge volume "Armi Bianchi Italiene" which I wish I had access to....these Italian marks are very important as the Italians were quite prominant traders that diffused immense numbers of blades.

Thank you for the input on that motto Fernando....I knew it was older than the popularly applied examples on those dragoon blades but did not know where or how early. The transliterated versions appeared also on French and Italian blades as well during the 18th century, and in the case of the Italian examples probably much earlier due to contact with the Portuguese I would imagine.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2007, 11:02 PM   #5
fernando
Member
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,565
Default

Hi again,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
I am hoping we can focus for example on the 'running wolf' of Passau, which evolved into forms stamped in the blades of Styria, Solingen and eventually in the Hounslow blades and Shotley Bridge blades of German makers in England.
Jim

The running wolf ( Lobo de Passau ) is quoted to be engraved, together with the number 1441 ( one of the various combinations of magic number 7 ) in a XVI century Portuguese Colonial ( crab ) sword, depicted in page 64 of "Homens Espadas e Tomates, a book you also have. It appears that these trade blades were supplied at the time to Portugal and ( if i remember reading ) also Spain.
If needed, some evolution on the magic number seven can be posted.
Fernando
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2007, 11:09 PM   #6
Jeff D
Member
 
Jeff D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: B.C. Canada
Posts: 479
Default

Hi Jim,

Here is Pg. 109 of Wagner's Cut and Thrust Weapons .
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Jeff D : 4th November 2007 at 11:26 PM.
Jeff D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2007, 11:18 PM   #7
Jeff D
Member
 
Jeff D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: B.C. Canada
Posts: 479
Default

Here is Pg 223 of Oakeshott's Archaeology of Weapons !st edition.
Attached Images
 
Jeff D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2007, 11:25 PM   #8
Jeff D
Member
 
Jeff D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: B.C. Canada
Posts: 479
Default

How about going back to the ULFBERHT and INGERI swords, or the eastern European/ Caucasian FRINGA blades. Not to mention Assadollah!

You may have opened a can of worms with this thread

All the Best
Jeff
Jeff D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th November 2007, 12:02 AM   #9
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,167
Default

Yay Jeff!!!
Ya always come in like the cavalry!!!!! Those are exactly the images I was looking for, thank you so much!
I agree on the ulfberht and ingeri (they always reminded me of Engleberdt Humperdinck ).....but excellent very early trademarks. I recall the articles from Park Lane Arms Fair journals as well as the material Lee Jones has compiled on these.

Thank you again Fernando for the Passau wolf and again adding the Portuguese associations.....I do indeed have that book but unfortunately not at hand right now.....wish it was believe me!
Please do add material on the '7' ......the numerological material involved in many of the markings is very pertinant. The number three of course comes up often with the religious associations. I know that on many trade blades, some of the 'Zanzibar' nimchas for example, three crosses often appear on the blades.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th November 2007, 01:13 AM   #10
Michael Blalock
Member
 
Michael Blalock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: dc
Posts: 242
Default

Here is a cloud with a sword. One is from an English cavalry sword, the other, a Yemeni sword and the coat of arms is for the town of Valka, Latvia. A very small town in Latvia from where my wife's family fled during WWII. This part of Lativa was a German principality for most of the the middle ages.



Im hoping perhaps we might get some new input on the sword holding arm extending from cloud . These have come up in recent discussions and it would seem these are primarily 18th century with the spiralled cloud rings.
I know there are examples of these blades out there so hopefully we might get another look at them.

All the best,
Jim
Attached Images
   

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 22nd February 2012 at 07:31 PM.
Michael Blalock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th November 2007, 02:33 AM   #11
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,167
Default

Beautiful examples Michael! and most intriguing history with the coat of arms shown. It seems I have seen similar arms in Polish heraldry, and that the arm coming from the cloud device was most likely adopted by Solingen makers in the 17th to 18th centuries as can be seen in the talismanic context.

I have seen this marking in books on this topic such as 1000 Makers Marks (Lenciewicz ?) and another whose title escapes me (Jeff I think you have these). I apologize for not having better recollection on these, I do not have access to books presently so must rely on what there is of my memory!!

It is interesting to see the religious allegory associated with these talismanic devices in motif, in this case the arm holding a sabre represents the arm of God and the sword extending from Heaven. We did have some discussion on the appearance of the Virgin Mary on Polish swords along with astral symbols not too long ago, and it seems that the arm in the cloud is shown illustrated in a Russian reference on this topic indicating the use from 17th to 18th century.

The English cavalry blade looks like an early 19th century sabre blade, and the Yemeni blade appears to be a broadsword as seen on kattara in Oman..both with Solingen blades,can you show the full examples?
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th November 2007, 05:49 AM   #12
Chris Evans
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 498
Default

Hi Folks,

Terrific and extremely informative thread. Keep up the good work all of you.

Cheers
Chris
Chris Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th November 2007, 11:39 AM   #13
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,670
Default

I have only one blade, on a firangi, which could be a trade blade. As far as I can read it, it says XX WIDALDBELV XX, I don’t know what it means, but I have noticed that the text is not in the middle of the four ‘X’s so there may have been more than what can be seen to day. What can be seen is fairly deep, and this ‘worries’ me a bit. The ‘X’s can be seen at both ends, but some of the letters are missing, without any trace of that they have been there, and this I find strange, it is btw the same on both sides of the blade. Could it be, that blades like this, with a sloppy marking, are not trade blades, although they are supposed to look so, but local made blades? We must not forget, that although several countries did what they could, to fill the market in other countries with trade blades, a lot of the so called trade blades we see to day have been locally made. How do we know which is a trade blade and which is a locally made one?
Attached Images
 
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th November 2007, 02:49 PM   #14
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,167
Default

Hi Jens,
Excellent point, very often it becomes hard to determine which are the trade blades and which are locally made. In many cases the locally made blades become quite good, and as trade blades were made sometimes rather indiscriminately, the very quality the markings presumed to declare was in fact not present. I think in many instances the manner in which certain markings were applied and the locations on the blade sometimes gave clues. For example, in the Sahara, the dual opposed crescent moons seen on the takouba blades are clearly an imitation of the larger crescent moon on the European talismanic blades. Applied doubly must have been thier idea of somehow strengthening or emphasizing the application.
In another case, the eyelash type markings appear on a blade in the Caucusus ( also on an Indian blade I have seen) rather than singly, applied in linear repitition, in the manner of motif. This multiplied use of what was originally a single trademark suggests the folk interpretation of increasing the quality or power imbued in the blade.

It seems that the X stamps typically enclosed either names, mottos or inscriptions on 17th century European blades, possibly some earlier. I am not certain of the purpose of these x markings but to enclose these inscriptions, and possibly since they often occur in multiple, numerological symbolism may be involved.

All the best,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th November 2007, 01:09 AM   #15
Jeff D
Member
 
Jeff D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: B.C. Canada
Posts: 479
Default

Hi Jim,

The images in Zygmunt Lenkiewicz and Dudley Gyngell's books are the same and as you know attributed to Peter Munich (I will post the images in Gyngell below). Not quite the cloud and sword as on Michael's beautiful blade. I think these images are often mistakenly attributed to Peter Munich but infact date to Solingern from the mid 18th to mid 19th century. The Munich images are much more detailed. The exact images seen on Michael's blade are seen often on British 1788 blades from the Runkel factory. They are less often but not atypically seen on British 1796's, and trade blades to Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Africa (oddly I haven't found any exported to America?). Similar images are copied in these areas, but appear more crude.
The arm with sword protruding from a cloud is thought to represent the sword of God or God's justice. It is seen in herarldry from Poland, Scandinavia, and Ireland to name a few. It has been mentioned that there at least was a Protestant connection. It is interesting to note that often in heraldry and in the blade image the sword is a "scimitar" not the more typically European saber as in Michaels coat of arms?

Hi Jens,
I think you are correct (again!), Just with the examples above you can see the images on the trade blade, local images on imported trade blades and local images on local blades. Possibly commercialism or possibly the images have significance that is independent of its possible trademark status. I will see if i can find any references to the mark on your blade.

All the Best.
Jeff
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Jeff D : 6th November 2007 at 01:31 AM.
Jeff D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th November 2007, 04:25 AM   #16
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,167
Default

Hi Jeff,
Thank you for posting the reference on the Peter Munich blade markings, and I think you are right in these appearing in kind, much later into the 18th and 19th century and the astral figures do appear often on British officers sabres as you have noted. I have always thought that these figures on these blades in these later times not only had to do with quality symbolism, but likely even more to do with Masonic lore. In those times officers were of course also well established gentry and often nobility, and were of course also often quite active in Freemasonry, where much of this symbolism remained well in place.

Very good point about the trade blades from Solingen, or for that matter Runkle who was situated in England, and their wide distribution. I think that in America these blades did get there in some degree of course via British presence. Best source for examples here would probably be Neumann, "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution".

Interesting note that you bring up on the sword held by the arm in the cloud being a 'scimitar' as described in heraldry. It seems that these sabres and for that matter the 'Oriental' fashion deeply influenced many European forces in warfare in Eastern Europe against Turkish forces, and in many cases the 'exotic' imagery was adopted in degree. One interesting case is with a few of the Scottish mercenaries who adopted the curved sabre blades in their basket hilts, terming these hybrids 'turcael', if I recall.

With the mention of the Scottish blades, it brings to mind that it seems invariably that the basket hilt blades were German, and presumably mostly from Solingen. Needless to say, that brings us to the Andrea Ferrara myth!!

All the best,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th November 2007, 04:46 AM   #17
Jeff D
Member
 
Jeff D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: B.C. Canada
Posts: 479
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Hi Jeff,
Thank you for posting the reference on the Peter Munich blade markings, and I think you are right in these appearing in kind, much later into the 18th and 19th century and the astral figures do appear often on British officers sabres as you have noted. I have always thought that these figures on these blades in these later times not only had to do with quality symbolism, but likely even more to do with Masonic lore. In those times officers were of course also well established gentry and often nobility, and were of course also often quite active in Freemasonry, where much of this symbolism remained well in place.

Very good point about the trade blades from Solingen, or for that matter Runkle who was situated in England, and their wide distribution. I think that in America these blades did get there in some degree of course via British presence. Best source for examples here would probably be Neumann, "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution".

Interesting note that you bring up on the sword held by the arm in the cloud being a 'scimitar' as described in heraldry. It seems that these sabres and for that matter the 'Oriental' fashion deeply influenced many European forces in warfare in Eastern Europe against Turkish forces, and in many cases the 'exotic' imagery was adopted in degree. One interesting case is with a few of the Scottish mercenaries who adopted the curved sabre blades in their basket hilts, terming these hybrids 'turcael', if I recall.

With the mention of the Scottish blades, it brings to mind that it seems invariably that the basket hilt blades were German, and presumably mostly from Solingen. Needless to say, that brings us to the Andrea Ferrara myth!!

All the best,
Jim


Hi Jim,

Thanks for mentioning the Scottish blades as that reminded me about another observation. Often these 'trade marks' are doubled. ie. eyelashes & Ferrara marks, Or as in this Scottish basket hilt stars and moon with the Spanish motto etc.

Jeff
Attached Images
 
Jeff D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th November 2007, 04:54 AM   #18
Jeff D
Member
 
Jeff D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: B.C. Canada
Posts: 479
Default

Regarding the scimitar in the cloud image. I always wondered if it represented that the Eastern powers were seen as God's punishment, you know, not enough faith and all that...

More things to ponder.
Jeff
Jeff D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th November 2007, 03:18 PM   #19
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,670
Default

Interesting to notice what Jim writes, and it is most likely true. In the start trade blades were no doubt of the same quality as the blades used by the soldier of the trading country, but along the way it is also likely that a lesser quality was exported, so in the end the locally made ‘trade’ blade might have been of quite a higher quality than the ones imported.

The same happened to the Indian ingots in the early centuries, so in the end the Arabic merchants stationed controllers at the west coast of India, to check the ingots before they were exported.

A side remark – there were no doubt a lot of blades imported into India, which did not have any markings, but we will never know how big this import was.

Very good explained Jeff, and good instructive illustrations as well.
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th November 2007, 03:55 PM   #20
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,167
Default

Excellent observations Jeff! and especially pleased to see that Scottish basket hilt blade, which is a beauty ! I remember that one! This further emphasizes that these Scottish blades were indeed German imports, as the 'Spanish Motto' blades have now been determined to have been produced in variation and number in Solingen. It seems that early Scottish blades bearing patriotic mottos had inscriptions that were noteably Germanic in spelling, such as 'for Schotland and no union'.

As you have noted the application of these astral markings as well as the motto seem to have been applied somewhat in disassociated manner as far as original or presumed symbolism, suggesting of course that such blades were made to appeal to certain markets or consumers without particular consideration or understanding of the markings. It would seem also that blades could have been decorated specifically at the request of the consumer. In such case, the coupling of markings indeed would have been found on varied blades intended commercially.

The suggestion that Solingen produced special order blades is also seen with the sword bearing arm out of the cloud that we are discussing. In one reference to this particular marking it appears along with a 'sacred heart' marking which is typically regarded as a Catholic associated symbol if I am clear, and in such context with presumed Protestant markings such as the arm in the cloud would again suggest production in a more commercial perspective such as the Solingen blades.
It would require a great deal of theological debate to discuss the possible symbolism of most of these allegorical markings, but the general application seems to support the talismanic concept.

It seems that early writers on arms such as DeCosson proposed that in many cases the application of what are perceived as names of makers may have been descriptive terms for types of swords, with of course Andrea Ferrara at the fore. Another familiar example is that of 'SAHAGUM'. While this of course is known as a place in Spain, and possibly a makers name, it occurs on blades in elusive variation, and often spelled differently. I have seen this term applied to allegedly Toledo produced blades and actually spelled differently on each side of the blade. Again,clearly Solingen production though the blade heralded 'EN TOLEDO' as well.

As you have well said.........lots more pondering!!!!!

All very best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th November 2007, 05:30 PM   #21
fernando
Member
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,565
Default

Hi Jim,
This is a rough translation of the paragraphs concerning the so called magic numbers, referring to the sword i have mentioned before, contained in the book already quoted.
I hope this makes some sense and is usefull to the thread topic. If not, it's you who asked for it
I myself allways doubt the efectiveness of isoteric stuff ( is this how you call it? )

" It became easy to distinguish European examples from Colonials, as the quality of their fabrication and its artistic level were highly superior to those made in the Colonies. Not so easy, however,was to distinguish examples in the Colonies that were made by Portuguese smiths, engaged by the Overseas Arsenals, from simple copies manufactured in Native anvils.
Both versions had imported blades. The wide blades with the mark “Lobo de Passau ( a running wolf ), and with the magic numbers 1414 or 1441, are the oldest examples, which origin is attributed to Portuguese Colonial Arsenals and the realms of Dom Manuel ( 1495-1521 ) untill Dom Sebastião ( 1557-1578). It is worthy to mention that the numbers 1414 and 1441 were not the date of production ( under which very often they were classified ) but uniquely the application of a number considered “magic”. The study of numerology, a fashion of the period, attributed to figure “7”, as to its multiples and combinations, a Divine value. While the Arab cried Allah il Allah, the Christian would engrave the number 7 or, more often the 14 ( this being two times 7 ), or 1414 ( this being two times 7 plus another two times 7 ) or 1441 ( being 14 and the palidrome of another 14) on his blade, wishing to express this way his cry for Divine help in all four directions, as from the moment he unsheathed his sword. Number 1414 is also a reference to the Bible; Job, chapter 14, paragrapgh 14: Man dying, will he live again? Every days of my combat i would wait, untill my change arrived (in the Catholic version). Luther, much considered in Germany in the XVI century, has translated the Greek original, offering in simple language,the following interpretation to this Biblic quotation: When a man dyes, he will live again. So i will continue fighting until my moment comes."
All the best
Fernando
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th November 2007, 11:35 AM   #22
Jens Nordlunde
Member
 
Jens Nordlunde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,670
Default

Fernando, thank you for the translation, it is most interesting to hear how they marked their weapons, and the meaning of the marking. I have no doubt that the markings you see on European weapons and on weapons from other countries for a great part had a religious meaning, but it is very seldom you see the meaning explained.
Jens Nordlunde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th November 2007, 10:11 PM   #23
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,167
Default

Hi Fernando,
I'd like to join Jens in thanking you for translating Mr. Daehnhardt's beautifully explained discussion on these often seen numbers that occur in variation on so many many blades. It has always amazed me that over the years so many swords that were clearly 17th and 18th century weapons, were described in catalogues as having blades dated 1441, 1414 etc. by writers who certainly should have known better.




The application of numbers associated with talismanic symbolism is of course well known from early times, as numerology has had quite ancient beginnings. It is interesting to note that from the 16th century, hunting swords were often inscribed with calendars of 'saints days' in sectioned circle separated with signs of the zodiac ("Hunting Weapons" H.L.Blackmore). Presumably such devices were employed to promote good hunting, and much the same concept was likely applied with numeric symbols on blades to offer protection and good fortune in dangerous circumstances.

In anthropology it is known that early man used crudely stylized symbolism in his artwork found in caves to promote good outcome in key events such as hunting. It seems amazing that this simplistic superstitious perception from mans darkest prehistoric age developed rudimentally into intricate occult systems still recognized in varying degree and form to this day. During the Dark Ages, though illiteracy and ignorance were prevalent, the crafts maintained these traditions and allegories, and they carried through the Renaissance despite the advent of knowledge and science.

I think one of the key elements in the esoterica behind these various markings and symbols found on weapons was alchemy. It was primarily this psuedo-science, heavily laced with theosophical allegory and arcane symbolism such as numerology and the Cabbala that led to the markings and motifs we are discussing, in my opinion.

In the bladesmiths craft, the secrets he employed in forging of the metal in his weapons were many, especially in the most important aspect, that of tempering the steel. All manner of bizarre concoctions were created in which the blade was quenched and presumably would imbue the steel with the virtues and properties that would be needed in a weapon of strength and protection. In the plethora of ingredients in such mixtures were many of the elements signified and included in allegorical symbolism, and some of these may be among marks or motifs on blades.

While these are simply thoughts I have had as I have continued researching this topic, they seem at least to form some ideas to continue reviewing such possibilities and more examples of the esoterica on blades.

With all best regards,
Jim

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 7th November 2007 at 10:31 PM.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2007, 07:57 AM   #24
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: CSA Consulate, Rm. 101, Glos. UK: Real Dogs Have feathers.
Posts: 1,297
Default

interesting, i had noted this one on a sword for sale on ebay (now ended). looks like a hunting sword.
it did not want to come live with me tho........

kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2007, 11:29 AM   #25
katana
Member
 
katana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Kent
Posts: 2,656
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
interesting, i had noted this one on a sword for sale on ebay (now ended). looks like a hunting sword.
it did not want to come live with me tho........

]


Hi Kronckew You beat me to it .....I was surprised at the final price....have to agree that its a hunting hanger ...but think it was re-hilted ...the blade shape seems a little unusual for a hunting sword though, and I suspect that the blade has been shortened and the tip re-profiled.

Regards David
katana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2007, 12:47 PM   #26
Andrew
Vikingsword Staff
 
Andrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 1,653
Thumbs up

Jim, thanks for starting this thread (and bringing it to my attention--I owe you an email!).

Fascinating stuff, gentlemen. I'm going to add this one to the "Classics" thread.

Let's keep this going!

Andrew
Andrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2007, 01:55 PM   #27
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: CSA Consulate, Rm. 101, Glos. UK: Real Dogs Have feathers.
Posts: 1,297
Default

does look very hangerish.

most of the naval officers, while having a proper fancy sword for dress, would actually carry a hanger into battle as shipboard space tended to be a bit tight, they if i recall would sometimes have similar simple grips and guards....

in the u.s. navy they ultimately barred officers from carrying hangers as they were all different & too functional, not gentlemanly. of course, the officers at the sharp end took no notice and continued using them (and/or 'enlisted' cutlass) up till they stopped boarding enemy vessels....the war dept. eventually outlawed swords entirely & made officers turn them in for scrap, but wisdom prevailed and they were reinstated. i carried mine around for 5 years active duty & only got to wear it once in a parade, then once or twice in my active reserve days. the naval officers sword has degenerated into a pretty sliver of non-functional unsharpened polished & etched steel; i'd rather have a hanger.

it'd be interesting to know if this was a 17c. passau sabre captured & converted to a hanger for use by an english naval or infantry officer.

Last edited by kronckew : 13th November 2007 at 02:08 PM.
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th November 2007, 11:05 PM   #28
fernando
Member
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,565
Default

Hi Jim,
I feel deeply frustrated
I have deliberatily gone back to the Oporto Military Museum, in order to improve the pictures of this situation, but i couldn't manage better than the last time i was there. It is rather dificult to picture determined positions through the glass windows.
This is labelled as an end XVI century German beheading sword, of unusual quality, where the double human half moons face each other, etched three times along the visible side of the blade ... probably also on the other side.
I had sort of convinced the Directing Colonel to open the window for better pictures ( he owed me one ) but he went on a meeting and didn't show up untill i gave up.
I hope this is usefull the way it is.
Fernando
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th November 2007, 06:53 PM   #29
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,167
Default

Gentlemen,
Thank you so much for regenerating this thread! and Andrew thank you for the kind words and including the thread in the classics, which is great as I had hoped this would become a standing resource on this important data that we could all use as a reference.

Kronckew, thank you for posting the marking from the hanger you note, and I'm with you in the regrets that you did not acquire it. The running wolf looks to be a 17th century mark and quite likely would have appeared on hanger blades. However, the mark may be from German swordsmiths who were emplaced in England at Hounslow in mid 17th century, as well as later in the century at Shotley Bridge. In both cases there were hangers produced, and as you have noted, became popular in maritime use. These short, heavy blade swords were key for action in the tight quarters aboard ships, and were often included among arms favored by pirates as well as the officers of commercial ships they preyed upon. I have seen the running wolf mark on these English hangers, though it appeared without makers marks and was likely used by some of the German swordsmiths independantly as a general quality symbol. Some of these seem to have been inlaid brass.

As Katana has suggested, it would seem likely that a hanger might have been reworked or remounted during working life, especially among private weapons.

Fernando, thank you for your excellent post and for the extra effort at showing the marks and the sword which really is interesting. I had often wondered about the crescent moon markings use on German blades, and this shows that they did occur paired, which I once thought appeared only on the Saharan blades. While I can see the moons, were there other marks on the blade?

All best regards and appreciation,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th November 2007, 10:54 PM   #30
fernando
Member
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,565
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
While I can see the moons, were there other marks on the blade?


No Jim, the only marks are the crescent (and decrescent ) moons. Three pairs of them, at least on the showing side.
Just a little note. This sword is labelled as German by the Museum, but this is not necessarily a fact. I once showed a full set of pictures to Philip Tom and he sugested it could be Hungarian, quicker than German. This just in case someone finds its quoted origin passive of doubt.
fernando 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 11:45 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, 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.