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Old 2nd May 2022, 03:58 PM   #1
drac2k
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Default Colonial Mexican Sword

I recently picked up this Colonial Mexican Sword; I know it is Mexican because it is inscribed "Lupe Padillia Sayula," which is located in Mexico.
The mystery to me is that the pieces don't logically fit together. The sword has a massive blade, 29.5" long x1.25"x3/8" at the base of the spine; it is exceptionally heavy. It has an old guard that to me appears too small for the sword as well as an old ivory or bone handle that also seems too small for the large blade.
Everything appears to be old and tightly fitted, so my question is could this be an old blade, refitted with a lighter guard and handle, used for display, much as the English would have Victorian copies of weapons on the walls?
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Old 2nd May 2022, 04:12 PM   #2
fernando
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Nice piece. Maybe it was born as it is now. Can you decipher the wording in the other side of the blade ?
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Old 2nd May 2022, 04:31 PM   #3
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Thanks, there are letters that I can not make out; P j g (?), and then " ' bo a mi dueno."
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Old 2nd May 2022, 05:46 PM   #4
fernando
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So it can not be SIRBO A MI DUEÑO, meaning (i) serve my master. There are many phrases in blades ending with MI DUEÑO, but none close to the letters you seem to see.
By the way, isn't this some kind of Espada Ancha ?
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Old 2nd May 2022, 07:58 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
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Well noted Fernando, this is in effect sort of a regional version of the so called espada ancha (in early days known locally as machete) which was typically a blacksmith produced fronter hanger type sword. The espada ancha term (literally =broad sword) referred to the heavy, stout blades as these were favored by horsemen for brushing trails through the thick vegetation in many desert regions.

Saluya is in the western coastal/central areas of Mexico south of Guadalajara, and apparently had notoriety for certain commodities as well as arms. The open hilt with alternating quillon/ knuckle guard seems to parallel some styling known in Potosi areas. The faux concha guard is seen on numbers of espada anchas from varied regions and this guard seem quite old, probably end of 18th . The blade is old also, but remains more full length, possibly from an old backsword profiled into a shape very much like the belduque knives of Mexico (but these us 13" blades.

The bone grip very much used in central to southern Mexico in late 18th into early 19th and in Caribbean colonial contexts.
This may well be an item from the periods of the 1810 revolution in which many 'chinaco' (paramilitary revolutionary forces) had all manner of ersatz weaponry and situated in areas from Acapulco, Guadalahara etc. and resembled varied weapon forms from wide range of areas.

The inscribed name and Saluya suggests possibly an arms provider from there and the inscribed decorative panel along the blade back resembles this type motif on many espada ancha blades of earlier period (late 18th c.).

These swords remained in use many years, and many found use with the rurales formed by Benito Juarez in 1867, a militia type police force, who while fully armed with firearms, wore swords as traditional element.

VERY nice example. The rugged integrity of these Mexican swords with inherent Spanish influences is remarkable.

These are espada anchas. Note the open hilt on #2, believed from colonial regions Florida to Louisiana into eastern coastal Mexico.

#6 Bone grip full length dragoon blade late 18th c. possibly Sinaloa

#7 Horn plate grips on a heavy example New Mexico.

Note the decorative motif panels back of blade on several.
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Last edited by Jim McDougall; 2nd May 2022 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 2nd May 2022, 10:11 PM   #6
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Thank you, Fernando, it could be that combination. Jim, I was hoping that you would jump in as I know that you have studied these swords extensively. I have become a fan of these Colonial Spanish/Mexican swords and it's taken me 5 years to acquire 5 of them; apparently, others covet them as much as I do.
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