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Old 4th May 2022, 09:31 AM   #1
Villerica
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Default 15th century dagger with later blade

Hello !
I am looking for information on this dagger handle in wood . I think that it is 15th century and possibly in boxwood. As you can see , the wood has been sculpted with many symbols including Venus and a man and woman. There is also a musical theme with musicians (playing a lute and vielle) and a lady playing a portable organ. The shield and helm maybe that of the Hapsburgs.
The pommel is an eagle . there is also a lion behind the lady playing the organ and these too could possibly point to the Hapsburgs. The blade has been replaced at a later period and could be oriental or the tip of an 18th or 19th century saber.
It is possible that the dagger was not for military use in view of the pommel and the symbols of love.
What are your thoughts and observations on what appears to be a rare object.
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Old 4th May 2022, 03:25 PM   #2
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Show us the whole sword, will you Villerica ...
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Old 4th May 2022, 03:41 PM   #3
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Interesting. The Figure in the third picture is holding arrows/darts. It is a bit androgynous. The hair is different than all the other women's', but 5th picture down seems to hint at a vagina. Usually, Venus is curvier, less adolescent. It could also be Cupid. The figures on either side of the pedestal have an almost skeletal appearance. This makes me wonder if it is possibly Saint Sabastian? Who is the crouching bearded figure below them? Is it a figure in the underworld or could it Atlas if the handle is classically inclined.

The Musician's panel is also interesting and problematic. It has a seated woman with a possible musical instrument and a lion behind her. below her is a more or less coat of arms. That in some ways resembles the Archduchy of Austria. Above are dancers, if this is musical?

Not to mention the crouching eagle for a pommel.

What did you use to date this to the 1400s? Sorry for a response full of "I don't knows".

I know it is not the focus of your post, but I would like to see the whole piece.

Thanks for an interesting post, hopefully someone out there will have the answers.
IP
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Old 4th May 2022, 03:51 PM   #4
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The coat of arms I was thinking of.
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Old 4th May 2022, 04:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interested Party View Post
... I know it is not the focus of your post, but I would like to see the whole piece...
In any case, members are strongly required to show the whole piece, to give us a wider perspective of what is under discussion.
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Old 4th May 2022, 08:37 PM   #6
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Here is a photo with the blade which has been mounted later and is probably oriental or the tip of a European saber. I wanted to post it originally but I was limited by the number of photos that I could post here.
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Old 4th May 2022, 09:08 PM   #7
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I don't think that it is Saint Sebastian because the figure has wings if you look carefully. It might be Cupidon or mixture of Cupidon and Venus ?
The couple beneath are both wearing cotehardies with buttons .

For me the style of the gothic decoration seems 1400's rather than earlier or later. However the form of the dagger makes me think of the later Swiss daggers but I have very little knowledge in arms.
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Old 5th May 2022, 09:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Villerica View Post
... I wanted to post it originally but I was limited by the number of photos that I could post here.
Villerica, don't wait until you upload the maximum 6 photos in the attachment grid. If you upload one by one as you select them, you can upload up to 12 pictures.
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Old 5th May 2022, 10:25 AM   #9
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I agree the blade does not match. The grip looks like something Juliet could have used for her suicide.
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Old 5th May 2022, 10:55 AM   #10
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Midelburgo . Are you suggesting that the grip is not genuine ?
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Old 5th May 2022, 03:09 PM   #11
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I think at one side the dagger shows St. Sebastian (not St. Stephan) standing after having overcome his death under a baldachin and over the purgatory which is fired by heavy smoke coming from the hell. The other side shows a lady sitting on a lions back playing a harp over an Austrian coat of arms guarded by a grasshopper.
My idea................
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Old 5th May 2022, 03:54 PM   #12
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Im tending to read the whole thing as a Dainty Device. A clever allegory that means something special to the owner , or giver , but not a lot to anybody else . The figure has to be Eros ; carefree youth crowned with flowers . Hence arrows and wings . Perhaps significantly protector of homosexual love . The female figure playing the Portative organ looks straight out of the Cluny tapestries . An allegory of hearing or sound. Also the lion. What we read as an eagle could be a parakeet , as in taste. The armorial device with the shield on its side could be read as something rejected or cast aside. From the gothiky architecture a fifteenth century date seems credible

Probably a wacky idea but following on the classical allusions and a superficial similarity to a Roman Gladius perhaps it was originally made as a symbolic sword with a wooden blade which was later converted. Its certainly a rare and fascinating thing

Waster , as in wooden sword . The youths of this city also have used on holy days after Evening prayer, at their masters’ doors, to exercise their wasters and bucklers.”Stowe 1598

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Old 5th May 2022, 05:02 PM   #13
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Couple of wasters.
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Old 5th May 2022, 05:04 PM   #14
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I don't think that it was made for field use. It looks like a kind of wedding present . There's nothing about war in this. With the pommel it's not very practical to handle having said this there are 19th century swords that have eagle head pommels.
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Old 5th May 2022, 08:16 PM   #15
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I agree. I didn't suggest it was ever intended as a practical weapon. Rather more , as you say a symbolic object.
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Old 6th May 2022, 10:25 AM   #16
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Looks good with the brass plate between the wood and the iron plate.

The condition of the blade is sublime, almost too good to be true, but I am not yet 100% convinced that it is a newer replaced blade because this geometry is quite uncommon however did occur in the 15 and 16th centuries @ Daggers!

best,
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Old 6th May 2022, 02:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Villerica View Post
Midelburgo . Are you suggesting that the grip is not genuine ?
No. Romeo and Juliet play is by several sources suposed to take place in late XIVth or early XVth centuries, high gothic. And because of the carvings themes this could be the weapon of a lady. Therefore my comment.
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Old 6th May 2022, 06:55 PM   #18
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Yes . I think that this was intended for a lady going by the imagery on the hilt. If that is so then it is then possible that the blade is not for military use and this explains the highly unusual form and so it could just be original to the hilt.

I would have thought that remounting would have been very difficult.

So maybe this is a dagger for lady in which case would make it highly rare if not unique.
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Old 6th May 2022, 07:20 PM   #19
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Yes !

I think that this was not made for a man given the imagery on the hilt.
So it can only be a "lady dagger" . This being the case then it could be possible that the blade is original as you wouldn't necessarily expect to see a classic war blade.

It would be nice to be more sure about this object as it would seem to be something quite exceptional.

Thank you all for your thoughts and observations.
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