View Single Post
Old 4th October 2021, 06:58 PM   #1
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 8,631
Default Decoration and styling in Scottish Basket Hilts

In the recent thread posted by Mark Eley of a fantastic Jacobite basket hilt of late 17th early 18th period, thoughts came to mind of the symbolism or aesthetics of the piercings and structural elements that may be at hand.

While most references acknowledge, term, and categorize the variations of these, there is virtually no attempt to acknowledge what these features might represent. Years ago in my efforts to delve into this, most of the authorities and reference authors I queried informed me that their avoidance of these kinds of matters was obviously because of the subjectivity.

The exceptions were in the case of the more artistic Stirling type hilts, the symbols were clearly formed and incorporated into hilt themes.
On a side note here, it has been agreed that the 'S' in basket hilts was not intended to mean 'Stirling' or 'Scotland' or 'Stuart", but was simply a structural aesthetic joining shields and saltires.

The 'Glasgow' form hilts are more the subject here, with the pierced designs in the shields being the primary focus. Also the designs along the edges of these and saltires often seem to have nominal symbolic potential.

What brought me to bring this up, is finding examples of certain markings on early German weapons of c.16th century inlaid in latten, but resembling some designs. Some of these almost resemble the devices used in card suits, as Mazansky tacitly noted.

However, in many cases these may be highly stylized Jacobite symbols, of which there are a good number.

I am hoping others out there with interests in Scottish basket hilts, or simply in symbolic designs and markings on them might join in here.
I did not wish to detract further on the other thread as this is a much broader topic.

The first two hilts are 'Glasgow', while the more decorative one is Stirling. It has been suggested that the wavy designs represent 'the waves of the sea' across which the Stuart king waits to return to his throne, the hearts the devotion to him. Perhaps fanciful, but there is a degree of viability, but who knows?
Attached Images
   
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote