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 26th November 2007, 06:49 PM   #61
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,178
Default

Don F.
Please accept my apologies! I just reviewed the thread and realized that I entirely overlooked your excellent post with these interesting examples! It often frustrates me when others disregard previous posts or ignore them, and here I've inadvertantly done just that very sorry.

The first sword you show appears to be a 19th century military sabre for an officer, with what seems to be somewhat earlier blade, which carrys the cabalistic markings and military panopolies characteristic of many cavalry sabre blades into the mid 19th century. The crescent moon with stars are often applied to the German trade blades.

The Arabian sa'if is a late 18th century Yemeni/Hadrahmaut example and most interesting with the running wolf blade! These Arabian swords according to Elgood seem to have mounted in India in Hyderabad. We may presume that possibly this Solingen blade may have entered India via trade on the Malabar Coast there and then made it to Hyderabad. If it had entered via the Mahratta trade it would likely have been mounted in a firangi. This is all of course presuming the sword had been mounted in India. There are of course many other scenarios, and this is intended simply to illustrate plausible movement of these blades.

The third example is a beautiful example of the English 'Mortuary' sword. I would add here that the term is actually a misnomer since these were supposedly created carrying the 'death mask' of Charles I, thus given the term. Actually these basket hilt horsemans swords predated the event, and examples with the face later prompted the term.
These English swords often had German blades, and many are known with ANDREA FERARA, including one carried by Cromwell. The German makers at Hounslow were actually brought in by Royalists to produce weapons there, and this example well illustrates the ME FECIT SOLINGEN application used by the Hounslow smiths. It also supports the possibility that the Hounslow smiths may have applied the ANDREA FERARA as well.......although it is obvious that the many Scottish basket hilt blades with this marking were emphatically not from Hounslow!!

Thank you so much Don for posting these, and again please accept my apologies.

All very best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th November 2007, 07:11 PM   #62
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,624
Default A nice anchor

This is one the most incisive and well punctioned anchors i have seen. I picked it from the Internet, October last year, and i deeply regret i didn't register its provenance ...most probably a selling site. All i ( surely) know is that it was struck on a boy's kaskara, .
Perfect, isn't it?
( I hope i am not exagerating )
Fernando
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th November 2007, 09:33 PM   #63
S.Al-Anizi
Member
 
S.Al-Anizi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Arabia
Posts: 271
Default

Thanks Jim and all other guys for this rich thread, definetly deserves being a sticky.
S.Al-Anizi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th November 2007, 09:41 PM   #64
Jeff D
Member
 
Jeff D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: B.C. Canada
Posts: 479
Default

Hi Fernando,

Thanks for posting the 'anchor' this is the symbol I was alluding to before and it reminded me that it was on LEW's kaskara (not nimcha). http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ht=sudan+german

In the process of trying to find LEW's kaskara I found Jim's four crosses thread.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...t=nimcha+german
I will see what I can find on them now that I know what to look for.

Thanks and welcome Don F. That mort is exactly what i was talking about with Hounslow hilts with German blades.

Good Stuff
Jeff
Attached Images
 
Jeff D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th November 2007, 10:22 PM   #65
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,178
Default

Outstanding responses guys, and now we are rollin' !!!
Great anchor Fernando, and thanks Jeff for more great links.
S.Al Anizi, thank you so much for the kind words and acknowledging the thread, which is developing just as I had hoped to prove a valuable resource for us all.

I hope everyone is noting and reviewing the thread as we go as when a thread becomes multipaged it is often easy to miss important posts, just as I did with Don's significant contribution.

Jeff, thank you for finding the crosses! The three crosses I saw were linear, and as noted on one of the 'Zanzibar' nimchas. These crosses 'pattee' are in an interesting configuration, and seem in a cross pattern itself. We do know that the four cardinal directions were key in folk religion, and again, we wonder if the duplicity here is intended to compound the potential talismanic potency.

Thank you guys!
All best regards,
Jim

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 26th November 2007 at 10:33 PM.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th November 2007, 10:37 PM   #66
Jeff D
Member
 
Jeff D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: B.C. Canada
Posts: 479
Default

More on the Orb and Cross. This is from Gyngell's Armourers Marks Pg30

Jeff
Attached Images
 
Jeff D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th November 2007, 10:47 PM   #67
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,624
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... Great anchor Fernando, and thanks Jeff for more great links ...
Jim


A great anchor allright, and Jeff has just found out where i got it from .
I have completely forgotten i picked it from this very Forum, it is on Lew's kaskara. I must have saved the picture when i was searching on the anchor symbol, as familiar to the one struck on the sword cane of my posting #58. But you will see this "robbery" was well intentioned. We say over here that you catch a liar faster than you catch a cripple .
Sorry Lew, for the hijacking. But it's all because it's a great anchor.
Fernando
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th November 2007, 08:32 AM   #68
SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Member
 
SwordsAntiqueWeapons's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 2,040
Send a message via MSN to SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Default Plug Bayonets

I will help regarding this book but I am afraid it will have to wait until the silly season has passed. I will see if I can dig up Mr Evan's email address and perhaps he will have something on file he can share with us all rather than all the scans. I do remember my last correspondence was a few years ago just after he sold his collection in preparation of putting together another book on miniature swords if I remember correctly.

All for now.....a great read so far guys keep is coming...I also want to add there is a running wolf found in a few places on a blade made by Johannis Brach for King George II, it appears in between his first and last name on both sides of the blade in the fullers, there are several other marks being a cross struck 3 times with a letter "S" and unicorn struck twice too. The rest of the blade is etched with a calendar.

Those of you in England may well have seen this sword on display in the tower of London collection....

Regards

Gavin
SwordsAntiqueWeapons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th November 2007, 06:51 PM   #69
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,178
Default

Jeff, thanks again for the additional cross and orbs. I'd like to work some more on these, and it seems that in Wagner, he notes these were used to enclose names, inscriptions etc. by being placed at beginning and end. Perhaps the 'four crosses' were used in the same manner on the nimcha posted.

Fernando, thank you for your gentlemanly concern on what might have been considered infringement, but I think not the case. well handled and I hope we can work more on these 'anchors' which clearly were used considerably on Spanish blades and German made blades purported to be. I am wondering if these appeared on other blades, English, Italian?

Gavin, the sword you mention by Johannes Brach, was Brach one of the Hounslow smiths or was he actually working in Solingen? I am of course very interested in the three crosses and 'S' markings. The calendar would seem to imply this might have been a hunting sword ? as auspicious days (Saints days) were important to observe in hunting etc. at least this is as described in Blackmore ("Hunting Weapons").
I see you also had communications with Mr. Evans as I mentioned I had earlier and I also wonder how he is doing with the miniature weapons, which he was intrigued with when I last heard from himsome years ago. I have sent him an email (which I hope is still correct) and am hoping for his response.

I am wondering if we might start to examine the well known 'sickle' or 'eyelash' markings associated with Genoa, later Styria, Solingen and the Caucasian 'Gurda' blades. Any thoughts on what this paired, toothed or ribbed half circles mark might represent? each of the semi-circles is terminated with three dots typically, the Trinity? the numeric three seems extremely important and consistantly employed in various markings and repitition of them.

On another thread, David has posted a well weathered 'firangi' which he has obtained, which is remarkable in that it is still in original mountings and holds a rapier blade. This is an important item as it illustrates how the markings on these early blades, even rapier blades, are often key in researching many forms of ethnographic weapons.

With all best regards, and thanks for these contribitions guys!
Jim

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 29th November 2007 at 12:32 AM. Reason: spelling
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th November 2007, 08:53 PM   #70
SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Member
 
SwordsAntiqueWeapons's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 2,040
Send a message via MSN to SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Default Johannis Brach

Hi Jeff,

The paragraph in the "Treasues of the Tower of London", page 51, reads..

A number of old swordsmiths named Johannis Brach are recorded in Solingen at different times. Two other signatures, that of Jan and Arnoldt, are recorded with the unicorn walking along.

As for a hunting sword...maybe, maybe not, it has been shortened at some time in it's life and remains at healthy 41.2" with a blade length of 35.2". It appears though, that he may have used this in his charge at Oudenarde in 1708.
The blade is dated to approx 1700. There is further reference made regarding literature; Duffy & Borg, European swords and daggers in the Tower of London, p33, pl.92a.(IX1243).

Hope this helps some

Also on page 79 of Schuyler, Hartley & Graham's Illustrated catalog of civil war military goods there is a great page of 6 images of Solingen and Damascus unfitted blades that where available to soldiers during the war.

regards

Gavin
SwordsAntiqueWeapons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th November 2007, 09:17 PM   #71
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,624
Default Still with the anchor

Hi Jim,
This is something for you to digest and figure out.
It seems as the anchor symbol appears both as a mark and as a decoration. We can see in Evans work that the anchor was assigned to British cuttler (?) William Justice in 1664, but he also pretends that this symbol, struck in Italian blades, also shown in the book, was merely a decoration. Needless to say we are navigating in strange waters, as his business is bayonets and the makers he quotes are cuttlers ... whatever that means, for the case.
I am posting pictures of an anchor punction on a Tomas Aiala ( not Ayala) sword, which i mentioned the other day, as well as the pages referring Evans material on both anchor mark and decoration.
All the best
Fernando
Just for whatever sake, this is the link for the Aiala sword:
http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showtopic=6684
Attached Images
   
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th November 2007, 09:56 PM   #72
SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Member
 
SwordsAntiqueWeapons's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 2,040
Send a message via MSN to SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Default Anchor

I too think it might just be decoration, here are a few images of a gorgeous blade I saw a few years ago, Spanish, the style was the 1728 cavalry sword pattern but of the highest quality I have ever seen. If you look close at the first image you will see it is not symetrical, there is a cirle on one side of the base of the anchor and a cresent the other, anchor aside, does this represent day and night?

Great work Fernando.

regards

Gavin
Attached Images
   
SwordsAntiqueWeapons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th November 2007, 12:55 AM   #73
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,178
Default

Gavin, thank you so much for answering my question on the sword cutler Brach, and for posting that remarkable sword...nicely referenced! and it is interesting to know about the Solingen marks in the Civil War book. It is interesting that most of the first issue of the M1840 "Wristbreaker" were produced in Solingen before Ames picked up the contract.
On the King George sword, it would seem the blade is a bit long for a hunting sword, but the auspicious significance extended to warfare as well in the astrological sense.

Excellent deduction on noting the presence of crescent moon and sun on either side of this fascinating decoration or marking. The symbolism of these two figures is of course present in many variations on European blades, and the talismanic implication seems quite plausible though can only be speculated upon. While decoration can easily be assumed to be intended only aesthetically, I feel that the ever present superstition, even though only accepted nominally, still had a great degree of serious consideration. Even in present times, soldiers will apply great attention to good luck charms and many forms of talismanically intended measures.

Fernando, you continually amaze me with the beautifully done graphics you post and the way you highlight key passages and key in on markings!! Thank you for always adding such great presentation. The material in Evans book tells me I desperately need to get hold of my copy!!! Thank you also for correcting the spelling on Aiala, which I was unclear on. It seems there was some clarity issues on the use of these 'anchors' by makers in quite different centers as well. There was such intense competition between all of these blade centers, trying to define exactly who used which marks is going to be very difficult, but I think we have a running start!

All very best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th November 2007, 02:21 AM   #74
Alan62
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 166
Default

Jim
I am amazed by this thread and thank you and the many knowledgable contributors for it.
I do not mean to intrude ,but with such a wealth of knowledgable folks regarding marks,I wondered if perhaps the mystery on this one could be solved as I have searched far and wide
You might remember it
Again
Thank You and the others for such a great thread and the information made available throughout this entire site
Alan62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th November 2007, 02:34 PM   #75
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,178
Default

Hi Alan,
Thank you so much for the very kind words and posting your sword blade with the interesting marks. This is exactly the kind of response and participation I had hoped for with this thread, where all of us can share information, display examples and develop what I am convinced will become a valuable resource that will be available to all of us.

I am hoping that those with access to the reference compendiums on markings might be able to locate this marking. I would suggest, without access to references, that the marking represents a bird in flight. This symbol is known to have been used in variation with certain religious connotation, which of course is as we have discussed, often the basis for many of these markings and phrases. With that said, I am hoping others might either note instances where this marking has appeared, or locate the mark associated with particular maker in the references.

The diagonally striated panel at the forte is very familiar and while I cannot place the decoration at the moment, I do suspect it was an 18th century affectation.

Would it be possible to see the entire sword?, as this is important as well to identify the region and period in which it was mounted.

Thank you so much Alan!

All very best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th November 2007, 05:30 PM   #76
Alan62
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 166
Default

Hi Jim and Thank you again
I will post a pic of the entire sword It is one that you and I discussed about a year ago
I also hope that perhaps someone will recognize and Id the diagonal pattern
Thanks Again

Alan62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th November 2007, 07:01 PM   #77
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,178
Default

Hi Alan,
Two beautiful sabres!!! Thank you for showing them in full.
I honestly cannot recall the details of previous discussion on the sabre at the top that we are discussing though it does seem familiar. This sword type is basically the English officers backsword/straight sabre known as the 'spadroon'. These were popular from about 1780 until roughly 1820, and are typically characterized by the five beads or balls on the crossguard and knucklebow. While it seems that the style originated in England, it apparantly was loosely adopted in France and in America during the Federal period.

The hilt on yours is quite atypical of those seen on the English spadroons, and the crosshatching on the grip seems to reflect either Polish or French influence. The karabela form pommel portion of the grip suggests the beloved Polish sabres, and Eastern European cavalry fashions profoundly were influencing Continental and English military at the end of the 18th century.

The interesting decorated square panel at the forte also seems to appear on a number of French sword blades of the late 18th century, as well as seen on Polish blades of much earlier. I still have not located the diagonally striated square panel as appears on yours, but seems to correspond stylistically to those I have mentioned.

It would seem your straight sabre/spadroon might well be an English officers of about 1780-90, as these officers were often highly motivated by Continental military fashion. This is of course well illustrated by the styles and weaponry adopted particularly in cavalry regiments in the latter 18th century.

While the identification doesnt really help much with the marking, I just wanted the sword type and period defined to hopefully put more direction to possibilities on the marking.

C'mon guys...we need the markings books!!!

All the best,
Jim

The second sabre is a Napoleonic period yeomanry officers sabre, again, with the ivory grips reflecting the influence of many Polish cavalry sabres.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th November 2007, 07:52 PM   #78
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,624
Default

Hi Jim,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thank you also for correcting the spelling on Aiala, which I was unclear on.
Jim


No, i wasn't correcting you at all ... on the contrary
That was precisely to remind that, the name of Ayala spelt that way, is a sign that the piece, despite its apparent quality, was not his procuction.
Not that the anchor doesn't appear in Spanish swords. I was browsing the Net on Master Ayala and found a very interesting site,
http://www.catalogacionarmas.com/index.asp
from where i brought the attached illustration, where we can see a brass sail hilt Dragoon sword, made in Barcelona by Magi Closas ( 1760-1780 ). The article author fully characterizes the marks ... the allusion to the King and to the Regiment, Closas punction, as well as the arrow, the symbol of Barcelona dagger smiths Guild since the 17th century, but it pays no attention to the anchor, as if this were a secondary detail, like a decoration. It is yet to be known whether this is an esoteric symbol, a religious one, or just a decoration hybrid.
Fernando
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th November 2007, 08:11 PM   #79
SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Member
 
SwordsAntiqueWeapons's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 2,040
Send a message via MSN to SwordsAntiqueWeapons
Default The Anchor

It is my guess it is a religious one from all that I have read since this posting was started. I have few more links to get through and then I shall show several different styles of anchors and crosses that we have all seen and will attach the acompanying texts to further support this.
I have also attached below an excavated rapier with the running wolf symbol and DOMINI that has been covered so far in the discussion. It came out of the Danube many years ago.

regards

Gav
Attached Images
   
SwordsAntiqueWeapons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th November 2007, 02:10 AM   #80
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,178
Default

Ahah! Fernando..........that makes sense, the misspelling suggests the work of somebody else...i.e. Solingen! I read somewhere also that some of these crafty German workers even produced some less than standard pieces and deliberately placed spurious famed Spanish names on them to discredit the product. That claim seems dubious though, as I have not yet seen any substandard blades from either of these competing markets and frankly by the end of the 16th century, Toledo was little competition as its sword production had diminished dramatically.

Interesting on the arrow of the Barcelona smiths guild. I always wonder how a particular symbol was selected as the mark for each guild or maker. I tried to use that link but didnt find the Closas reference. It is indeed interesting that the anchor is not considered worthy of note.

I think that to determine more on the imbued meaning associated with these particular items of motif, we need to discover consistancies that occur with certain makers blades. Since these characteristically have differences from subtle to pronounced, we can presume symbolism is present, and since religious symbolism is known to often include talismanic esoterica in these times, the meanings can only be imagined. To the uninitiated, these would represent only flourished motif, but to the client who carried the sword with his life in the balance, the deep symbolism was likely pronounced.
I think the anchors, cross and orb were intended to talismanically punctuate and emphasize the marks, names or inscriptions they appear with.

Thank you very much Fernando, excellent post as always!


In the exotic places that those who carried these weapons went with trade and often campaign, the native people became well aware of the deep pride and confidence with which they were regarded. Naturally they presumed that the blades of these weapons would give them equal power in thiers.

What is most interesting is how the commonly reproduced markings on native blades were chosen above others. There were so many markings on many European blades, yet there is such a select group chosen; the sickle marks, the moons, Andrea Ferara, et al. In most cases the blades found with many unusual markings are the European produced blades.

Gav, there you go! Nice photos and very nice rapier. You guys are really putting in terrific examples here! I am really looking forward to the anchors and crosses you describe and as noted, this will help us find some recurrent forms hopefully.
Thank you again for posting this and for helping us with compiling this thread.

With all very best regards,
Jim

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 30th November 2007 at 02:25 AM.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th November 2007, 03:18 PM   #81
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,624
Default Opening the discussed link ...

Hi Jim,
Here is the article on the sail guard swords with Closas marks.
http://www.catalogacionarmas.com/pu...-Bconvela-2.pdf
And here is one ( of so many) Ayala reference, included in a list of personalities and factories related with white arms ... not only Spanish.
http://www.catalogacionarmas.com/pu...ibliografia.pdf
I hope these are usefull.
Fernando
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th November 2007, 03:41 PM   #82
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,624
Default ??? DOMINI

Hi Gavin,
Nice excavated rapier
Say, what would be the word before DOMINI ?
If we consider the proportional space available, the phrase could be ANNO DOMINI, which is a popular Latin word "duet", but not much sensefull as a sentence for a sword ... i don't know. Just a bit of fantasy .
Fernando
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th November 2007, 05:02 PM   #83
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,624
Default Cabalistic symbols

Hi Jim,
While Freebooter consolidates the religious basis of the anchor symbol, may i advance a couple scans of Evans book, with references to some usually seen markings, which he presumes to be of cabalistic contents. Eventually the symbol "IN MENE", apparently so usually seen in the XVII-XVIII centuries, is conotated by Portuguese Eduardo Nobre in AS ARMAS E OS BARÕES, struck on sword of page 47, as a symbol of fear of God.
BTW, if you browse the Net on the subject, these letters are relative to Hebrew mystic symbology.
On the other hand, Juan L. Calvo, the author of the link in posts #78 and #81( Closas, Ayalla, etc ) is of the opinnion that these are marks of a determined unknown factory, which is naturaly wrong.

MENE o MINI: La inscripción “IN MENE” o “IN MINI” figura inscrita en hojas de espada forjadas durante el siglo XVIII, tal vez señalando su producción en una determinada “fábrica” que no he conseguido identificar.

All the best
Fernando
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st December 2007, 05:13 PM   #84
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4,624
Default Esoteric ... or a make up ?

The problem for the layman in attributing to a determined set of figures an esoteric conotation, is a two ended stick. If you don't pay any notice, you might be missing something valuable, but if you bring the thing to the others attention, and it ends up being a fake or a nonsense , you play the role of you know what i mean .
I have posted this dagger in the UBB Forum five years ago. It had no clear classification from the members, as possibly being either a put together piece with a salvaged blade, or hardly a main gauche, maybe even a side arm, and so on. I would go for the ( civilian ) side arm myself, possibly ( possibly ) rehilted, but not certainly "rebladed", as the said looks to me having never being longer or different than how it is now. It has a losangular cross section and measures 14" ( 36 cms. ), quite long for a comon dagger.
However this time i show it for the purpose of apreciating the marks struck on both grip and guard.
Would you people say this has a mystic flavour, or was only the smith that had these punctions at hand and decided to make his own naive creation?
Fernando
Attached Images
   
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st December 2007, 07:13 PM   #85
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,178
Default

Excellent subject Fernando, and I think its good we examine that perspective here. It does seem quite probable that the application of interpretations of known marks, numbers and inscriptions would occur in instances of put together pieces or native copies etc. Naturally we know this is often the case on blades copied in Africa, India etc. and that is much of the purpose of this thread.
As you have noted, perhaps we can attempt to read too much into some of the markings or supposed symbolism, and pieces that are obviously composite leave us wondering. Perhaps the piece was assembled in period from elements available, and often individuals became thier own blacksmiths when none were available to furbish weapons, or could not afford such work. We of course realize that in such cases, there was often not a great deal of literacy in the ranks, so supersition and imitation of fabled marks or wording may have been factors in applying such motif or decoration.

Naturally I have seen many cases where what seemed an intriguing mark and was hoped to reveal the work of a certain maker or mysterious symbol turned out to be simply a proof mark or an arsenal or inventory number. While we regard the weapons often with anxious hope for historical significance of times long ago, it must be remembered that at the time, these weapons were pretty much just business, and such markings were procedural. It is the symbolic history behind many of the markings that is fascinating, and the inscriptions applied faithfully for the clients who commissioned these weapons often reveal compelling historical possibilities.

One such case is of course the mystery of Andrea Ferara. While Victorian romanticism led to many tales of this fabled Italian swordsmith having worked in Spain and even in Scotland, there is little evidence of such. In fact there is even precious little evidence of such a prolific maker in Italy, though it is noted he worked in Belluno and had a brother working as well. Eventually some of the early arms writers considered that the 'name' was actually most likely a phrase 'Andrea' (Andrew= loosely, true) 'Ferrara' (= iron, steel) and a quality warranty. On German blades, the 'Eisenhauer' often mistaken to be a maker, simply meant in German ( Eisen= iron, hauer =cutter), i.e.strong enough to cut iron. The monumental appearance of the Ferara name/phrase over continents and centuries on countless blades precludes the work of any mere mortal.

The interesting use of numerics in the gemetria application comprised within Cabalistic esoterica leads to most intriguing interpretation. It always has amazed me how many 'responsibly documented' catalogs have declared swords 'made in 1441 or 1414'! On the rapier shown by Freebooter the 'Domini' however does correspond to Anno Domini, which typically was followed by a year. I have often wondered if application of the year was for the rather mundane purpose of inventory or production numbers I have mentioned concerning commercial matters.

Aside from this, I do believe there was considerable religious as well as superstitious consideration involved in many of the marks and inscriptions, such as the 'anchor' and of course the numbers you have noted. The Hebrew connotation in the phrase you note of course would suggest the Cabalistic potential for its origin.

Returning to the arrow used as a mark in Barcelona as shown on the Closa weapon you posted earlier, it seems that the 'broad arrow' was also used in England as a mark for 'the Kings property' and was used in all manner of application.

Please forgive my 'dissertation' but as always, I have been searching for hours on end on our subject, and cant resist collecting my thoughts here. The information you keep sharing prompts very late and obsessively fascinating searches and its great to keep finding more!

With all very best regards,
Jim

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 2nd December 2007 at 06:39 AM.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st December 2007, 07:43 PM   #86
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,178
Default

I wanted to address the piece you have posted separately Fernando (so it wouldnt get lost in the text of my previous post !

It is most interesting and seems to be assembled much in the manner of Spanish colonial pieces of late 18th to early 19th century. The guard seems to reflect the traditional downward quillons of early main gauche' and a vestigial shellguard with notched simulation.

It is workmanlike, suggesting the work of a blacksmith, and I am wondering if it might have been constructed in the Spanish colonies. The notched, shallow simulation of shellguard reminds me of hilts seen on espada ancha's of late 18th century. Weapons in these regions, especially in northern Mexico seems to have often been assembled with available components. It would not be hard to imagine an individual in the ersatz units with the Spanish military contriving a knife in the manner of one of these main gauche' to accompany one of the heavy cuphilts that still reflect the beloved rapiers of Spain.

The stamped II is hard to speculate, though the Romal numerals seen on the hilt are symmetrically applied seemingly more in a motif fashion, however they are so deliberate, they seem to imply some inherent meaning. It would be tempting to presume it might have been intended to reflect a unit number associated with the individual. On the curiously applied inscribed X's and linear zigzag under the quillons, I cannot say on the two X's, but it is interesting that the zigzag could be a crude interpretation of lightning. If this is the case, that symbol in the parlance of Spanish symbolism used in early Mexico meant death.

All best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2007, 01:13 PM   #87
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,178
Default

While we continue research to keep this thread going I just wanted to bring it up to keep it active. I know there are readers and members out there who have brought out questions before on the markings and inscriptions on blades, and I encourage any of you to please bring them in here. We know that ethnographic weapons often carried European blades, even into the 20th century, in fact in the Sahara these old blades are sometimes still found.

We have made a great deal of progress here examining the history and symbolism involved in many of these markings and inscriptions. I would like to point out that there has been little work done on this topic in recent years, and I feel that the knowledge and expertise shared here on the forum by all of you provides one of the most viable avenues to advance the understanding and data concerning this important subject.

Thanks very much everyone,
All very best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2007, 05:08 PM   #88
katana
Member
 
katana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Kent
Posts: 2,656
Default

Excellent thread....excellent information.

I have added this Rapier bladed Firangi to this thread, at Jim's suggestion.
The blade is likely mid to late 17th C - early 18th C. and has a dot pattern, consisting of a row of 4 dots with a singular dot above the third dot. After reading Fernando's post regarding the number 14, I thought it could be a symbollic mark to this effect. I remember from a previous thread that Jim had mentioned that German armourers had used 'dot patterns' as maker's marks....and could be the case here (on the Rapier blade)


Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
...... 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
 
katana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th December 2007, 02:39 AM   #89
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 5,178
Default

I would like to thank David for bringing this excellent example to this thread, as I think it is important to note that these thin rapier blades were indeed mounted on the Indian khanda hilts. We have been discussing this particular sword on a concurrent thread resulting in some outstanding discussion and observations on these foreign blades and their effect on the use of these swords in India.
As David has kindly shown here, and the reason I thought the sword should be posted in this thread is the linear arrangement of four punched dots, which seems surmounted by another. As Fernando has well observed, the magick or talismanic numbers 1441,1414 are often represented in various ways, and are significant in the symbolism often found in markings on these blades.
The use of dots as a numeric in association with other key markings seems well represented in many examples, especially the 'anchors' and of course the 'sickle' marks, but seems quite unusual in this linear fashion.

The number three has obvious connotation, and that of four may well be represented as suggested, in multiplied palindrome or possibly the very simple symbolism of the four elements, the four cardinal directions etc. In trying to establish allegory, possibly the world? wholeness? It is difficult to imagine without more markings along with the dots.

I'd like to hear others thoughts, and as always, hope for other examples of blades with systemic arrangement of dots on blades..with or without other marks.
David, would you mind showing the entire 'firangi' as I'd like to illustrate again a classic example of 'foreign' blades in an important ethnographic weapon that perfectly exemplifies the importance of out topic.
Thank you so much again !
All very best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th December 2007, 04:32 PM   #90
Jeff Pringle
Member
 
Jeff Pringle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 183
Default

Recently I was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, and saw in one of their displays of rapiers an example with eyebrow markings in the fuller (very similar to the eyebrows seen on many later, more eastern blades), dated to the late 1500s. Also, an example with the letter ‘S’ stamped into the blade at the end of the fuller, quite similar to a knife I have whose blade is the cut down remains of a 17th C. rapier. Could the ‘S’ be for “Solingen,” or is that too obvious?
Attached Images
 
Jeff Pringle 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 05:24 AM.


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.