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Old 24th January 2021, 12:25 AM   #20
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 8,183

Capn, I recall this amazing sword from our discussions here in 2010, and while we did not resolve any definite explanations, there were some great possibilities.
What we know is that the designs and theme are sort of an amalgam of Sinhalese style, the Hindu goddess Lakshmi and themes with hunting dogs. Swords with these style hilts were known in Dutch context mid 17th c. in what was known as the 'leeuwengevesten' (=lionhead) theme. Similar style hilts seen in painting by Rotius (in "Some Facts Concerning Sword Hilts at Hoorn Around the Year 1650", van der Sloot and Kist, c. 1970).

It is thought this type hilt was perhaps crafted by an artisan in one of the Dutch ports in colonial regions of the Dutch East Indies. This may have been in response to the carved ivory hilts made by Ceylonese craftsmen for Dutch merchants and officials in the 17th c.

The blade is most interesting and distinctly a cutlass type blade, in the genre of the hangers we know so well. Most interesting is the 'four dot' device. While I have searched many years for a defined answer to the significance of this, it may well simply have a sort of talismanic meaning of good luck, as with the four leaf clover.
I have thought of possibility with the quatrefoil, often seen in Christian architecture etc. and while the cross comes to mind, the Four Gospels also are noted.

It is interesting that these four dots occur regularly on the quillon terminal disc of Dutch walloons. As we found, they are seen in the 'dump' (small change) coins of Ceylon and other colonial contexts.

In reading (passim) it seems there was mention that Johannes Kirschbaum of Solingen bought the 'kleebat' mark 20 Oct 1660. But this was a three petal cloverleaf apparently, and not this 'four'. But, who did he buy it from, and did not find a cloverleaf mark in his markings.
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