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Old 5th July 2022, 04:18 PM   #1
fernando
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Default A RECENTLY ACQUIRED CUP HILT SWORD FOR COMMENTS

Judging by its characteristics, namely the pommel, i would date this 'rapier' between mid-end 17th century ... subject to your Gentlemen corrections.
This is indeed a rather long sword, by far longer than all others of mine, measuring in total 127 cms. (50"). The undulating blade, with a short fuller starting 16 cms. from the base and extending for 22 cms. Width at forte 32 m/ms., proportionaly tapering all the way to a fine point.
The grip in dark wood, with some turning lines.The pommel with traces of decorative engravings, almost gone with time. Peening looks untouched.
Anyone care to comment on this piece ? I would be glad..


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Old 5th July 2022, 05:24 PM   #2
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That had to an awkward one to carry for a man of average height for the time (67", 2.04m). Do you think the serpentine shape was original to the blade? Is that flattened pear pommel a typical characteristic for Spanish rapiers?
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Old 5th July 2022, 06:02 PM   #3
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Always excited to see cup hilts as you know, and good to see the formidable character deftly holding one in the last photo. A very nice grouping you have Fernando, I am of course envious

This example is interesting, and I have always wondered about the undulating blades on these (often colloquially and it seems incorrectly, called flamberge).
I had thought that perhaps these kinds of blades alluded in the course of chivalry to the 'flaming sword that guarded the gates of Eden'. There seems to be a great deal of perspective regarding the purposes of the serrated edge on blades, and whether they had distinct purpose or how much was simply symbolic or allusion.

Obviously there are no markings or you would have mentioned them. I have always thought, as per most references I have seen, that the cuphilt was a form which did not begin as such much before about 1640.
The form held into the early 18th century but waned outside the Spanish sphere, where it remained in use by Portuguese and Spanish well into the century.


These are my understandings, and I would look forward to hearing the opinions and holdings of those here who are far better versed in this field than me. I would like to know more on the purpose (if any) of the undulating blade; if my understanding of the time range of the cuphilt is in line; and more on the more solid hilt as opposed to those pierced and ornate in engraved design.

It is indeed interesting at the length of the blade, which seems extraordinary. I am under the impression that with these swords being notably aligned with fashions of the times, that the inevitable competition element might bring such extremes. As a sword in use in accord with fencing systems of the period, a blade this length would be remarkably awkward (slow) in my thought.
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Old 5th July 2022, 06:43 PM   #4
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That had to an awkward one to carry for a man of average height for the time (67", 2.04m). Do you think the serpentine shape was original to the blade? Is that flattened pear pommel a typical characteristic for Spanish rapiers?
This example could well be Portuguese, not Spanish; firstly because it was acquired in Portugal and secondly due to the system to secure hilt/quillons by welding them to the cup bowl, as (more) favoured by the Portuguese, and not with a pair of arch wings screwed inside the cup bowl bottom.
The fact that long rapiers were not practical to carry around didn't prevent those more prone to engage in (street) duels to commission the so called off mark (ilegal) swords. I am looking at a (Portuguese) book where i see off mark rapiers reaching 1.465 m, called in the period 'seven span' swords. We are also aware that rapiers were not carried verticaly but almost horizontaly, by means of a proper 'frog' and the laying of the owner's hand pressuring down the hilt. Ultimately the welthy nobles would have it carried the attendant page .
As the author of this book says; not discreet to carry in the waist, nor so easy to unsheath, not to mention the difficulty to handle such long swords in a fight, but they at the distance the most brave adversary.
Yes, pommels of this type are seen, a luxury detail to distinguish them from more humble ones.
And yes, undulated blades, whether made by means of hand filing or forged by the smith, are both original. Noting again the book i have been mentioning; i can see three examples with a undulated blade in it.


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Old 5th July 2022, 06:51 PM   #5
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It is indeed interesting at the length of the blade, which seems extraordinary. I am under the impression that with these swords being notably aligned with fashions of the times, that the inevitable competition element might bring such extremes. As a sword in use in accord with fencing systems of the period, a blade this length would be remarkably awkward (slow) in my thought.
Yes but one would still have to get by the point and there may have been a left hand weapon as well.

I had always assumed the undulations worked like a steak knife for push and draw cuts, as well as discouraging grabbing the blade to control it. I'm sure there were some students of Fabris still floating around I have always wondered how useful their left arms were after surviving a few fights deflecting blades with the left hand.
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Old 5th July 2022, 07:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
... I have always thought, as per most references I have seen, that the cuphilt was a form which did not begin as such much before about 1640...
You may go further back a little, Jim . The earliest cuphilt detected with its date inscribed on the blade, is a splendid example signed by HORTUÑO DE AGUIRRE (Toledo) in 1604. It is kept in the Armería Real de Madrid and was property of King Felipe III.


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Old 5th July 2022, 07:30 PM   #7
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... I had always assumed the undulations worked like a steak knife for push and draw cuts ...
The author of (again) the mentiond book considers it has a multiple cutting area, as it would happen with electric knives; a little back and forth move would inflict a quick and deep cut. I don't know if i get his idea !
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Old 6th July 2022, 10:04 AM   #8
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In XVIIth century Spanish language, the half rings of the pas d'ane are called "orejas" (ears).
So I like to classify cup hilts as full ears, half ears and no ears. I believe than rather than to nationality, this is a question of evolution in time and purchasing power.
So closer to 1650, we have mostly full ears, closer to 1680, we have many half ears. And closer to 1700 and beyond we get often no ears.

No ears are cheaper because they do not have to add workmanship to screws, or ricasso plates. They can be sturdier and therefore rather military than civilian. the main disadvantage is that the blade has to fit better. And usually the same types of blades are found with these hilts. There is not the variation that is found with full ears or half ears. For example, as a military weapon, fewer no ears have a thin rapier blade. One of the types usually found is a flambergue. About how this blade works, IIRC Richard Burton has a chapter on it in his book on Swords.

These swords present often associations with Portugal, like the one with the inscription "VIVA O NOSO REI DOM IOSE O PRº DE PORTVGAL" (straight position). There are also exceptions to the ammunition grade, with even a guardapolvo (I own that one).

A curious step in the evolution has iron pieces from the cross at each side of the ricasso. This can be found with or without ears. Probably was the last step before welding the langlets to the cup.

I believe that Hortuño cup hilt has a remounted blade. The oldest cup hilt I know is in a portrait of King Phillip IV by Velazquez from 1627.
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Old 6th July 2022, 11:21 AM   #9
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Congratulations on your new cup hilt Fernando, I like it because unlike most it has the Flamberge blade type and is a long one for this type of cup hilt.
Considering most rapiers of that period had a length around 120 cm or more im not that surprized to see this one with such a long blade, but yours is actualy wide to for a long blade, a very nice one!
kind regards
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Old 6th July 2022, 02:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midelburgo View Post
... I believe that Hortuño cup hilt has a remounted blade. The oldest cup hilt I know is in a portrait of King Phillip IV by Velazquez from 1627.
You certainly know better than me, and i will not refute that. It is just that according to public texts, there is in fact one of his swords in the Armeria with a remounted (XVIII century) small sword hilt, inventory nº 81, and the one dated 1604, inventory 80, Fig. 167, Pag. 230, the one of Filipe III, has no record of having been remounted .


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Old 6th July 2022, 03:23 PM   #11
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... In XVIIth century Spanish language, the half rings of the pas d'ane are called "orejas" (ears)...
I would not know whether such fixation extensions have a name in Portuguese swords lexicon. A.V.B. Norman simply calls them 'arms'. But i see more than one Spanish sources calling those 'patillas' (de sujeción) ...
"La espada del Museo Naval de Madrid es un acero de "cazoleta, atribuida por sus descendientes a Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. Hoja estrecha de dos filos, gavilanes rectos. De la cruz sale uno que forma el guardamanos y unas patillas que sujetan la cazoleta".

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I like to classify cup hilts as full ears, half ears and no ears. I believe than rather than to nationality, this is a question of evolution in time and purchasing power.
So closer to 1650, we have mostly full ears, closer to 1680, we have many half ears. And closer to 1700 and beyond we get often no ears...
As i previously noted, i had signs that Portuguese favoured 'more' the welding system. One thing i know is that certain authors, not willing to be compromised with risking to determine whether a (cup hilt) sword is Portuguese or Spanish, simply call them ... Iberian. Having a Portuguese inscription may not be enough to define their origin; i have a cup hilt rapier that i bought from a well known Spanish dealer, with the typical VIVA EL REY DE PORTVGAL and his firm opinion, this sword is Spanish. It is so possible that, due to the two countries proximity, you could order a sword from Spain and later have its blade engraved in Portugal.

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For example, as a military weapon, fewer no ears have a thin rapier blade...
As also military swords are 'hardly' of the 'rapier' type .

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... of the types usually found is a flambergue...
Flamberge, undulated, waved, whatever the name; again i would not know where this fashion apeared in a larger number. But we may be sure that there were designs and processing techniques for all tastes.

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Originally Posted by midelburgo View Post
... About how this blade works, IIRC Richard Burton has a chapter on it in his book on Swords...
Ah, how i would love to read that part; but i don't have Burton's work.


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Old 6th July 2022, 03:30 PM   #12
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Hello Fernando. I believe the Hortuño sword is artistically not in the style of early XVIIth century but rather c1650. The 1900 catalogue of Real Armeria is plagued with errors and legends.

Norman cites two portraits of Felipe IV with a cup hilt:

- Kunsthistorisches of Wien, dated 1632. (moustache).

- NY Metropolitan, dated 1623. But the sword is just a metallic reflection.

There is another portrait at Escorial with the future Felipe IV as a child, in 1612 by Bartolome Gonzalez.

Carlos II as a sickly child shall be about 1669.
It is a pity there is nothing as clear as Carreño de Miranda portrait of the Duke of Pastrana (c1679).

The "orejas" is what Luis Pacheco de Narvaez calls them in his work about Spanish Destreza "Nueva Ciencia" from 1642. "Patillas" sounds to me as XIXth century.
Actually I do not say Flambergue but Flamigera.
I have seen so many clues towards Portugal on those swords, specially when they have langlets finishing in balls and faceted pear shape pommels, that I think you are right. With the caveat that as Solingen made, they will sell them to any comer.
Burton book shall be easy to find as a pdf on internet. IIRC he planned a 3 volume work but he only finished the first one, with generalities and antiquity. A real pity.
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Old 6th July 2022, 03:44 PM   #13
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Congratulations on your new cup hilt Fernando, I like it because unlike most it has the Flamberge blade type and is a long one for this type of cup hilt.
Considering most rapiers of that period had a length around 120 cm or more im not that surprized to see this one with such a long blade, but yours is actualy wide to for a long blade, a very nice one!
kind regards
Ulfberth
Thank you so much ... Dirk, my friend .
Kreep safe .
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Old 6th July 2022, 06:26 PM   #14
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Default Flamberge Cup

I thought it looked familiar; I photographed this in the Lisbon Armoury Museum back in 2019. Don't know if it is of interest here but... anyway:
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Old 6th July 2022, 07:16 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=midelburgo;273216]Hello Fernando. I believe the Hortuño sword is artistically not in the style of early XVIIth century but rather c1650.
I trust your judgement, by all means. I don't have the knowledge to distinguish that, myself.

The 1900 catalogue of Real Armeria is plagued with errors and legends.
Norman cites two portraits of Felipe IV with a cup hilt:
- Kunsthistorisches of Wien, dated 1632. (moustache).
- NY Metropolitan, dated 1623. But the sword is just a metallic reflection.
There is another portrait at Escorial with the future Felipe IV as a child, in 1612 by Bartolome Gonzalez.
Carlos II as a sickly child shall be about 1669.
It is a pity there is nothing as clear as Carreño de Miranda portrait of the Duke of Pastrana (c1679).
Alright, the Armeria catalogue contains errors ... but so many others. Those dark portraits provided by Norman and his judgement may not be error proof, either. For a start, he assumes the cup hilt is (quote) confined to Spain and lands under Spanish influence, that is Southern Italy and the Spanish Nederlands (unquote), making the mistake to leave out Portugal which, by the way, has been under Spanish Monarchy between 1580-1640. The usual cultural flaw of a few scholars, and not only, who think Portugal was a part of Spanish territory.


The "orejas" is what Luis Pacheco de Narvaez calls them in his work about Spanish Destreza "Nueva Ciencia" from 1642. "Patillas" sounds to me as XIXth century.
Noted. i still can't find a term for that over here. The authors of Armeria de Bragança catalogue, attribute to such extensions the same name as the quillons (quartões), as when there are upper and lower ones.

Actually I do not say Flambergue but Flamigera.
Yes, we could also call them in my language flamigeras or flamejantes, but these sound more like Masonic lexicon, from where the terms seem to originate. I find names like ondeada (undulated) more suitable.


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Old 6th July 2022, 08:45 PM   #16
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I thought it looked familiar; I photographed this in the Lisbon Armoury Museum back in 2019. Don't know if it is of interest here but... anyway:
Thank you so much for that, Keith. Excelent call. This sword has been brought to attention in a previous thread a while back. Glad you have visited a museum in my neck of the woods.
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Old 7th July 2022, 04:37 PM   #17
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... The "orejas" is what Luis Pacheco de Narvaez calls them in his work about Spanish Destreza "Nueva Ciencia" from 1642...
... Burton book shall be easy to find as a pdf on internet...
I have managed to get both PDF works for my perusal. Interesting that i use the search button in "Nueva Ciencia" and can only find "oreja" (single), but this referring to the actual phisical ear. To my frustration i fail to spot the cuphilt "orejas".
I have read the Burton's chapter on the waved blad, which is (sort of) consistent with the opinion of the book author i mentioned in post #7 ,as Burton says "The object seems to be that of increasing the cutting surface".

Attached ... and just for fun; fencers in the training floor (1685).


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Old 7th July 2022, 07:29 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by fernando View Post
I have managed to get both PDF works for my perusal. Interesting that i use the search button in "Nueva Ciencia" and can only find "oreja" (single), but this referring to the actual phisical ear. To my frustration i fail to spot the cuphilt "orejas".
I have read the Burton's chapter on the waved blad, which is (sort of) consistent with the opinion of the book author i mentioned in post #7 ,as Burton says "The object seems to be that of increasing the cutting surface".

Attached ... and just for fun; fencers in the training floor (1685).


.
Are the wavy parts of the blade sharp at all?? If not, they are clearly not for cutting. Looks to me like its decorational for ceremonial use.
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Old 8th July 2022, 01:32 PM   #19
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Are the wavy parts of the blade sharp at all?? If not, they are clearly not for cutting. Looks to me like its decorational for ceremonial use.
It depends on whether you see it in pictures or with the naked eye. In the example in discussion, both 'upper' edges and identations are sharpened, with different techniques, so i notice; the sharpness on the lower parts appears more acute. I wonder if the pictures i took are elucidative ... not easy with my humble abilities.
This thing of (any) blades being operational or decorative depending on them being or not sharpen/ed, may not be a black or white issue ... i guess. There is a montante (two handed sword) in Lisbon military Museum, dated circa 1500, attributed to navigator Vasco da Gama, which the photographer (i guess also the caption) defines as being 'almost' decorative, judging by the XVI century period, and i read in period chronicles that the nobility in India, the social class that marched on the front of troops, used such montantes to open way among the opponents. Whether those were not sharpened, would that be a pertinent question ?


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Old 10th July 2022, 04:24 PM   #20
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Swords with undulated blades from the Pindela Manor; a collection amassed by the 2nd. Viscount of Pindela (1852-1922). After he died, the widow has deaccessed the collection, which is now exhibited in the State owned Palace of the Dukes of Bragança.

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Old 14th July 2022, 01:42 PM   #21
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Hello Fernando.
If the "orejas" applied to the pas d'ane is not in "Nueva Ciencia" I have no idea where I read it.
Towards 2005 I read a number of Destreza manuals. It is not in Rada either so far. And Brea (1804) calls them "patillas".
I have been checking the Ordenanzas (1728, 1738, 1762, 1768) and it is not in there. They use "barretas".

Morla (Tratado de Artilleria, second volume, 1817 edition; pages 119-137 deals with swords and sword making, very informative chapter. Toledo factory depended on the Artillery corps) calls them "guardamonte", but that is the whole piece.

Ramirez de Arellano 1767, on Cavalry and Dragoons describes their swords without mentioning these parts.

I have a heavy Main Gauche with a wavy blade, I will check it later maybe its blade comes from a sword as one of the above.

PS. Now I notice. In the drawing of the two fencers fom Thomas Luis, they do not put any finger over the cross (you also do not on the first post). I find taking a cavalry 1728 without passing two fingers over the cross as problematic.

I supose you know about these people:
http://ageaeditora.com/en/livros/

They call the pas d'ane, anéis in Portuguese.
http://ageaeditora.com/en/nomes-partes-da-espada/
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Old 22nd July 2022, 12:09 PM   #22
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I found another couple of Portugese wavy swords. IIRC from a Brazilian collection.
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Old 22nd July 2022, 12:30 PM   #23
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I also ordered from AGEA some of the newly edited Portugese XVIIth century fencing manuals. It is close to Spanish Destreza, so it should not a be a surprise swords were also alike. The three on the top (left) were presents from Manuel Valle many years ago.

Next is my navy dagger with a wavy blade, posibly recycled from a sword.
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Old 22nd July 2022, 03:52 PM   #24
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I happen to have a copy of TRATADO DAS LIÇÕES DA ESPADA PRETA; most interesting.
That sword signed by ANTONIO CARVALHO is a rarity. This smith is listed in a precious two volume work by SOUSA VITERBO "A ARMARIA EM PORTUGAL" (1907). The sword shown here had in the other side of the blade EM LISBOA no 1633 and could well be the one present in a Spanish/Portuguese exhibition that took place in Lisbon in 1882 (catalogue Item 313 Page 235).


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Old 22nd July 2022, 04:00 PM   #25
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... Next is my navy dagger with a wavy blade, posibly recycled from a sword...
Looks like a rather "different" dagger indeed... and an old one. I wouldn't mind having it
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Old 22nd July 2022, 04:23 PM   #26
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Looks like a rather "different" dagger indeed... and an old one. I wouldn't mind having it
It weights 850grams for some 45cm. The grip is solid iron and the sail is quite thick so it could be used for punching.

It is tinned. And on the tin it was covered in black paint, possibly made with coal dust and boiled hooves (as navy iron guns). The grip was covered in red paint.

I bought it as a theater something. When I got it it was a ball of rust, you could not see the grooves on the blade, much less the designs on the shell. In order to preserve the tin I decided to use electrolysis. That destroyed most of the paint by electrophoresis, the protein moved to the + electrode and the coal was freed in the buffer. It was a confusing mess until I realized what was happening.

The swords above are in Cornwall, in a Manor called Cotehele, not in Brazil.

https://www.nationaltrustcollections...cotehele+sword
https://www.museumsincornwall.org.uk...nwall-Museums/

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Old 22nd July 2022, 05:26 PM   #27
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... They call the pas d'ane, anéis in Portuguese.
http://ageaeditora.com/en/nomes-partes-da-espada/
The actual pas d'ane, i believe, but not the cup fixation 'patillas', i guess.
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Old 22nd July 2022, 06:43 PM   #28
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It weights 850grams for some 45cm. The grip is solid iron and the sail is quite thick so it could be used for punching.
As i said, i wouldn't mind having it


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...The swords above are in Cornwall, in a Manor called Cotehele, not in Brazil.
.
Now i don't think it is the same as the one staying in Portugal; which is described as a cup hilted version.That makes two examples by this smith, which doesn't prevent them from being rather rare swords.


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