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Old 12th June 2021, 02:48 PM   #1
fernando
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Default Hunting sword ... for comments

A sturdy blade, double edged, sharp, length 51 cms.
The grip in ivory, with a nice patina; the hilt in brass; the peen untouched.
Could you Gentlemen help finding its age and country of origin ?


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Old 12th June 2021, 05:01 PM   #2
mariusgmioc
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Very difficult to locate because of the very few identifiable details. German or maybe French?!

Late 18th to early 19th century?!
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Old 12th June 2021, 09:08 PM   #3
Jim McDougall
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Based on an example I have (attached), I would say this is English, first quarter to mid 18th c. The blade on mine seems a cut down hanger blade, the fluer de lis, while suggesting French, also is found on blades traded to cutlers in England. There was a street, do not recall details, actually named 'fluer de lis street;'where lots of blades were sold to cutlers, who then mounted them accordingly.
It seems the German hirschfangers had shell guards downturned in many cases, but not sure of frequency.

These swords I would note, often found maritime use as well.
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Old 13th June 2021, 06:34 AM   #4
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Again, I would agree with my fellow Forumites!

I'd place it mid to late 18th due to the 'cap' type guard that would fit over the scabbard throat to prevent rain water drainage into the sheath (and thus a risk for rusting). I've never seen this affectation on (later) 19th century pieces and it was sort of an 18th c. thing. Beautiful example, 'Nando and I like the honey patina of the grips!
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Old 13th June 2021, 03:01 PM   #5
fernando
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Thank you so much for your input, Gentlemen.
Ah ... Mark, the honey patina; i like that .
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Old 13th June 2021, 04:12 PM   #6
Jim McDougall
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As the Capn has astutely noted, that 'cap' over the ricasso at the bottom of the guard does suggest 18th century. While these features may of course have extended into 19th in degree, it does lean to the earlier date.

On the example I posted, that feature is missing, and perhaps might have been there with the notable gap suggesting a remounted blade. Note the ends of the quillon terminals with hunting dogs.
These were known as 'talbots'.......anybody remember 'The Wolf Man', Lon Chaney Jr. ? His character was Larry 'Talbot' (the wolf man) in a bit of canine pun.

Here is what I believe to be a Continental version, probably 18th,and it seems to me the 'buttons' and open guard lean toward some French and German examples.
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Old 14th June 2021, 12:36 AM   #7
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Great information on those opposing dog head finials, Jim! I always wondered if they had a name. 'Talbots'...very interesting! In themselves, they also IMHO lend to an earlier (pre-19th) dating. My 1660's Dutch hanger has them as well. I like your hanger as well, Jim. Besides, of course, being used by the gentry for hunting as well as infantry/army, the plain hangers were also popular at sea for their simplicity, brass fixtures (those that possessed them, that is) and relatively short blades.
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Old 14th June 2021, 03:09 AM   #8
Jim McDougall
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Thank you Capn!
I finally dragged out my Bashford Dean (1928), and I think Marius is right on the hanger in the OP.
Notes also from "Edged Weapons" , Frederick Wilkinson, 1970, p.94,
"...another type of sword was in favor at this time (2nd quarter 17th c) had a simpler hilt which comprised a cross quillon, usually straight with slight curves at the ends, but NO knucklebow at all. "

I have noted that most hunting swords, especially English, seem to have had knucklebows.

The flared out pommel seems to be French or German, and as I earlier notes the 'buttons' (medallions) in triple (or often 5), seem also to be French or German.
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Old 21st June 2021, 11:06 AM   #9
fernando
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Sorry to bring this up again, guys.
Alright with the 18th century assessment but, the origin being French or German, you say ?
Isn't it also a German (hirshfanger) fashion to have a scallop shell guard ?
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Old 21st June 2021, 05:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
Sorry to bring this up again, guys.
Alright with the 18th century assessment but, the origin being French or German, you say ?
Isn't it also a German (hirshfanger) fashion to have a scallop shell guard ?
In my view, many forms of swords in the European sphere end up being classed as 'Continental' as there was so much diffusion in influence as well as the cutlers/artisans themselves.
When it comes to France and Germany, these countries were then largely principalities, kingdoms and states (not wishing to delve into differences of these terms)so it would be hard to define French vs. German.

However the German 'hirschfanger' and the French 'cuttoe de chasse' were basically similar, and most seem to have had the downturned shell from the crossguard. As always, there are no hard and fast rules so of course there were exceptions and variations.

This downturned shell became notable not only on these hunting swords but on court swords as well (as Dean, 1928 shows). It would seem that these shells, rather than having a combative purpose naturally, offered a larger field of surface for the ornamentation typically afforded these weapons.

France and Germany often had great commonality in many things, and the great blade center in Klingenthal had a large component of smiths from Solingen. Alsace-Lorraine has been either French or German so often over time that both languages are spoken as are the shared cultural characters.
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Old 21st June 2021, 05:24 PM   #11
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Duly noted, Jim.
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Old 23rd June 2021, 01:27 PM   #12
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Not precisely referrng to this (my) specific example, but i like the following abstract by Gerhard Grosse Loescher ...

The hirschfanger was the main weapon for the royal hunt and for foresters. In the electorate Hanover George III. introduced two models of hirschfanger by royal decree. High-ranking hunting or forestry officials were provided with a hirschfanger with white ivory grip and prominent crossguard without clamshell (ill. 1). Lower ranking officials were prescribed a hirschfanger with wire-wrapped staghorn grip and crossguard with curved quillons (ill. 2). An unusual feature of both models is the collar on the quillon block which fits over the throat of the scabbard and is supposed to protect the blade from moisture. Both models remained the service hirschfangers to be worn with uniform until the abolition of the kingdom of Hanover in 1866. For full dress, the weapon was suspended from an embroidered hanger, for normal service it was attached to a fixture on the black leather waist belt (Leibkoppel). In the middle of the 19(th) century both models became smaller and more delicate. Apart from the regulation hirschfanger model, so-called 'couteaux de chasse' were also carried during service. These were short, knife-like sidearms incorporating elements from the hilt of the hirschfanger. The heraldic depictions on the blade: royal crown and Saxon horse running on pasture above the wolfsangel, support its attribution to Hanover. 'Couteaux' were recorded in connection with the Hanoverian royal hunt in 1855. The head of the administration of the Hanoverian forest, Heinrich Burckhardt, used the term 'couteau' and it can be assumed that apart from the official hirschfanger models, knife-like sidearms were used for hunting and forestry. Their design was not regulated but their hilt often incorporated elements of the official models (quillon, pommel, scabbard mounts etc.).
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Old 23rd June 2021, 01:46 PM   #13
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Outstanding research and well placed insight regarding these hunting hangers! Thank you Fernando. It is great to have these kinds of data placed in threads like this where a form is focused upon, and key information is compiled for future research. Most information on these 'hunting' weapons is pretty much cursory as far as styles and decoration, so invaluable material like this is so important.
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Old 23rd June 2021, 04:57 PM   #14
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For further explanation:
In Germany there have been two major hunting knives, the "Hirschfaenger" and the "Jagdplaute". The deer catcher normally had a straight blade with two edges and the hunting clut had a curved back blade.
During the parforce hunt, the stags that were placed were cut through the hock tendons with the hunting clut, before the hunter finally hunted them down. In addition to their practical use, these weapons served as a symbol of the hunters' status.
Before the invention of firearms, the hunt was of course only dependent on stabbing weapons and tools. Such a stabbing weapon or such a knife are also deer catchers. They got their name because of their original purpose: They were used to catch heavy hoofed game, such as red deer such as a mighty stag, fallow deer but also wild boar or to give the animals a fatal sting.
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Old 24th June 2021, 11:11 AM   #15
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Not forgetting that, apart from 'normalized' patterns, there were in the period examples made by rural smiths for the regional hunter, as also high end specimens ordered to skilled smiths by the wealthy class.
From a book of mine ...
1 - an example with an inscription on the blade "DonnÚ par l'Emperor de d'Austriche Ó Mr. Jules Gerard 1854" (collection ducal Palace of Vila Višosa - Portugal).
2 - an example signed by the famous Le Page mid XIX century (collection Ducal Palace of Vila Višosa -Portugal).
3 - an example of the second half XIX century (collection Ducal Palace of Vila Višosa -Portugal).
4 - an example equiped with a pistol (a not uncommon resource) of the XVIII century (Private collection).
5 - an example with a carved ivory hilt, Germany mid XVIII century (Metropolitan museum USA).


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Old 24th June 2021, 08:35 PM   #16
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Great information on the German terminology Udo, thank you! It is always interesting to understand the etymology factors in these terms for weapons, and that the term 'knife' seems more broadly applied to these hangers.

Fernando, well noted and excellent examples, thank you for adding these which illustrate the wide scope of designs which far exceeded the more pedestrian working examples of these.
The 'hunt' was the upper echelon event of social affairs in most cases, and where fashion, elegance and styling was key in these accoutrements as worn by the nobility and landed gentry. This is why they are typically grouped with 'court' weapons as worn at dress affairs, and an elegantly appointed weapon was 'de rigueur' and meant to impress.

Although there were certain consistencies the the more commonly seen examples of these hunting hangers, as an art form in the mounts, the variations and themes have few bounds.
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