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Old 10th May 2020, 12:57 PM   #301
gp
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Originally Posted by Victrix
No tarot card association, but when visiting the Heeresgeschichtliches (Army) Museum in Vienna last Christmas I spotted the swordarm in the clouds symbol on a battle flag (the one on the right) in a painting showing the siege of Vienna by the Ottomans in 1683. Itís clearly wielded by Hungarian hussars wearing furs of predator animals and armed with curved sabres. A sign stated that the symbol was popular with the hussars at the time. Much later this symbol was apparently also the coat of arms for Bosnia Hercegovina after Austria-Hungary invaded and occupied this Ottoman territory in 1878. I donít know what the symbol means but would guess it represents the sword of God from heaven?
it is not as strange as it seems;

the first time the "sword"appears" is when a vasal state ( Kingdom of Bosnia) 1493 of Vladislaus II of Bohemia, Hungary and Croatia appeared;

Coat of Arms with the curved Sword and arm in the yellow coloured shirt

Just to appear later during the Habsburgian occupation in the K.u.K. Inf. Regiment I and IV.
See the belt buckle, Coat of Arms in the officer's sword handle and cap signs

Also taken over by the Yugoslav Kingdom when they used the "sword"( handschar as it was called in the former Yu) as countermark on their 1931 golden ducat.

Back to the painting: it was not that rare to have the curved sword on the banner as many horsemen and footsoldiers came from that region.
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Old 31st July 2021, 02:16 AM   #302
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Hullo all, I've just joined this forum. Although my own collection is extremely limited (1) as New Zealand is not a great place to find antique swords I am an active member of the local HEMA club. As part of the club I have been organizing trips to the Auckland War Memorial Museum to view their collection, sadly hidden in the basement since they reorganized the displays for the WWI centennial.

So far we have correctly identified a number of mislabeled swords and provided additional details about even those that were correctly labeled, as a result they are keen to have us back and are getting much more relaxed about letting us actually handle the swords.

So for your own pleasure and any information you can provide let me show you some of the markings we have discovered.
A 17th C Spanish style rapier 106cm blade, weighing 1188g with a balance point at 5cm. The fuller contains a series of what appear to be astrological signs terminated with some form of anchor mark.
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Old 31st July 2021, 10:40 AM   #303
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Welcome to the forum, toaster .
Nice rapier with a pierced hilt. The 'anchor' symbol is, as you know, 'often' seen in both Spanish (Toledo) and also in German (Solingen) blades. If you browse the term on the Shearch button above you will find various approaches on this subject.
The letters on the left are not doubt those of the blade smith (PERO ?); most probably different letters appear on the other side.
It would be useful to see photos of both sides in all their graphic extent, to try and identify their contents.
When you post such pictures, we will see what knowledged members have to say about the marks on this sword.


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Last edited by fernando; 31st July 2021 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 1st August 2021, 06:14 PM   #304
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Originally Posted by toaster5sqn View Post
Hullo all, I've just joined this forum. Although my own collection is extremely limited (1) as New Zealand is not a great place to find antique swords I am an active member of the local HEMA club. As part of the club I have been organizing trips to the Auckland War Memorial Museum to view their collection, sadly hidden in the basement since they reorganized the displays for the WWI centennial.

So far we have correctly identified a number of mislabeled swords and provided additional details about even those that were correctly labeled, as a result they are keen to have us back and are getting much more relaxed about letting us actually handle the swords.

So for your own pleasure and any information you can provide let me show you some of the markings we have discovered.
A 17th C Spanish style rapier 106cm blade, weighing 1188g with a balance point at 5cm. The fuller contains a series of what appear to be astrological signs terminated with some form of anchor mark.
Glad to have you here, and well done on the work of your group identifying weapons and seeing that they are properly labeled. It is most important to those of us who have spent many years studying arms and armor to do that very thing, and we've been doing it here for well over 20 years.

As you have noted, what appears to be a makers(?) name appears in the fuller and it was often a Spanish convention to interpolate astrological and or occult symbols with inscriptions to imbue magic potential in effect to the blade. The 'anchor' was also a device which was used at the fuller terminus or to end an inscription on a blade in a punctuation sense.
These are always interesting as there are nuanced variations in the elements of these cross style devices mostly in the numbers of branches/bars .

As Fernando has noted, Germany was most avid in using copies of these as well on blades they made often with spurious markings and inscriptions from Spanish and Italian makers.

Often on blades there were unusual groupings of letters which may have been acronyms for phrases or invocations, while names copied in Germany may often be misspelled or improperly used.
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Old 1st August 2021, 07:18 PM   #305
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Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
...Often on blades there were unusual groupings of letters which may have been acronyms for phrases or invocations, while names copied in Germany may often be misspelled or improperly used...
Jim, this is the reason why i have suggested that, more adequate assessments may take place when photos of each side of the blade with the complete inscriptions are shown.
Probably you didn't read my post .
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Old 1st August 2021, 08:30 PM   #306
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Jim, this is the reason why i have suggested that, more adequate assessments may take place when photos of each side of the blade with the complete inscriptions are shown.
Probably you didn't read my post .

Actually Fernando I have learned to read your posts very carefully so as not to infringe on your assessments. My attention was to the nature of the inscriptions and acronyms or names in them, which was what was being queried.

I saw no need to say more regarding matters involving which side of the blade they were on or if they were connected etc. as you had already (as you have emphasized) mentioned it.
My response had nothing to do with photography and preferred postures or images, and described the content of inscriptions in a general sense.

I did not say more on thoughts on the sword itself as this thread is on markings, not sword identification, and I almost suggested a separate thread, but that is your department.
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Old 1st August 2021, 10:17 PM   #307
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Jim, should i would humbly reiterate that you didn't read my post or, for the matter, what i meant to say. The inscription in the one side of the blade as posted is not fully shown (so it seems), reducing in such case the possibility to interpreter its actual contents, whether a name or other. A picture of the other side would let us conclude how its inscription would be associated to that in the side posted, like the completion of a name (first and last), the allusion to the city of provenance (Toledo or Solingen), some religious theme .. or even a blank.
Therefore i was expecting that further thoughts on this issue were much better placed (only) after the thread author contemplate us with the requested pictures. Unless of course you or some other member were able to decipher the whole thing with the partial image available.
Obviously and so far the subject at stake is the marks in the blade, and not the sword itself.
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Old 1st August 2021, 10:23 PM   #308
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Thank you all for your kind remarks and the additional information.
Here as requested are additional photos of the inscriptions on the right and left of the blade, we're still trying to improve the quality of the photos we get from these visits.
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Old 2nd August 2021, 04:07 AM   #309
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Originally Posted by fernando View Post
Jim, should i would humbly reiterate that you didn't read my post or, for the matter, what i meant to say. The inscription in the one side of the blade as posted is not fully shown (so it seems), reducing in such case the possibility to interpreter its actual contents, whether a name or other. A picture of the other side would let us conclude how its inscription would be associated to that in the side posted, like the completion of a name (first and last), the allusion to the city of provenance (Toledo or Solingen), some religious theme .. or even a blank.
Therefore i was expecting that further thoughts on this issue were much better placed (only) after the thread author contemplate us with the requested pictures. Unless of course you or some other member were able to decipher the whole thing with the partial image available.
Obviously and so far the subject at stake is the marks in the blade, and not the sword itself.
I do appreciate your humble assertion that I am not capable of reading your post , but I would point out again that I was addressing the typical CONTENT of the inscriptions often found on blades (in general).............I was NOT trying to decipher this one.

Obviously the inscriptions on blades often differ from obverse to reverse, and this can definitely impact the entirety of the inscription if you are trying to decipher it. Thus, your request for a full complement of images of BOTH sides of the blade (which I understood) was perfectly understandable.

My point was that 'inscriptions; (in general) comprise names, phrases, invocations or acronyms, and within these are often 'magic' symbols interpolated within them....as seen here. This was a statement I could easily make WITHOUT seeing both sides of the blade as it pertained to blade inscriptions in general.
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Old 2nd August 2021, 03:40 PM   #310
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... we're still trying to improve the quality of the photos we get from these visits...
That would be an excelent idea . Also placing the photos all in the same direction will help discern what the inscriptions are all about, specially with such 'encripted' cases. I will now open a new thread in the regular discussion forum, so that a further audience may have a say at this.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=27163

I am still convinced that the inscription is about a smith's name and a city; something like "Pedro de Toro in Toledo" comes to mind but, this is just a guess. One thing you should check on is the presence of a smith's mark in the ricasso, close to the tang, behind the hilt. Toledan masters often strike their personal mark in that area.


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Old 2nd August 2021, 07:25 PM   #311
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On Spanish blades it was quite common to see the name of the maker and his place of work placed in the fuller, but often certain letters were replaced with astrological symbols or magic associated glyphs. This type of embellishment was believed to imbue certain talismanic potential (and quality endorsement) to the blade along with the makers name.

In many cases, as I previously mentioned, names were misspelled, and in other cases, wording seemed incongruent and in effect 'jibberish' as they made no sense. These were cases of 'acronyms', which are first letters of words in phrases, invocations and such which may have had special arcane meaning to certain individuals or groups at the time.

Such 'encryption' was common in Spain because of strong beliefs in magic, occult and superstition as well as the mystic dogma of the Kaballa associated with Jewish Faith, which was prevalent as well. The talismanic properties of these beliefs and followings in their ciphers, glyphs and symbols were important talismanic additions to blades in inscriptions.

A makers mark at the ricasso is always probably the best potential for identification of a blades maker, however those of prominent smiths were of course widely copied. On that point, only comparison of the style and character of the blades by that maker and with provenance will best assure that identification.

Again, as this thread is focused on blade markings and inscriptions I wanted to add my thoughts pertaining to these, and thank you for the added photos which better illustrate this blade's examples.
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Old 2nd August 2021, 09:31 PM   #312
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The reversal of direction of some photos is to differentiate the left side from the right, all photos of the same side face the same way.

Robert
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Old 3rd August 2021, 01:26 PM   #313
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Originally Posted by toaster5sqn View Post
The reversal of direction of some photos is to differentiate the left side from the right, all photos of the same side face the same way.

Robert
Sorry Robert ... my bad .
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Old 3rd August 2021, 02:05 PM   #314
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... A makers mark at the ricasso is always probably the best potential for identification of a blades maker, however those of prominent smiths were of course widely copied...
Sure thing, Jim; but i take it that such marks were not (at all) so much copied as written makers names.
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Old 3rd August 2021, 06:22 PM   #315
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Sure thing, Jim; but i take it that such marks were not (at all) so much copied as written makers names.
Its really hard to say which instance was more prevalent, and of course it depended greatly on when, where, and who. There were always attempts to regulate the proper use of markings by guilds etc. but naturally deviation is inevitable, so purloined marks were always possible.

One of the most well established signals on markings etc. on blades made in Germany (not only Solingen, but Munich as well) bearing spurious marks and inscriptions is these assembled incongruently. For example an inscription or name used along with the marking of an earlier Toledo smith which does not match.

In Solingen also, names were used in the sense of a 'brand', and the famed Toledo 'Sahagum' name of the previous century became much favored for clientele in Europe and North Countries.
The well known 'Spanish motto' (draw me without reason etc) was used on Solingen made dragoon sword blades specifically for the colonies in New Spain around early 18th c. However, with this motto, as you pointed out some years back, it does seem to have existed earlier .

The most well known of purloined names was ANDREA FERARA, the well known Belluno maker, whose name became a symbol of quality, and used by Solingen specifically for Scottish cutlers. Blades with this name have been found on occasion in other context, but almost invariably occur on Scottish swords.

I have seen the names JESUS and MARIA on rapier blades which most probably represent the Toledo smith Tomas Aiala on a rapier blade found on a late 17th century Spanish shipwreck off Panama. It seems this marking with one name one side the other obverse, was known to be used by only two Toledo smiths of previous century, but the mark at the ricasso had nothing to do with either, so it would seem this was again a Solingen product.

As the blade industry in Toledo had been steadily deteriorating through the 17th century, and was all but gone by the end, Solingen was of course eager to supply blades in their stead.
The use of Spanish names and markings became almost standard on these German blades as symbolic of the quality of the renowned Toledo.

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Old 3rd August 2021, 07:22 PM   #316
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Well, all those considerations sound familiar Jim but, nothing in them deny that spurious smiths names are much more abundant than spurious punzones de espadero ... by far .
Yours humbly !
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Old 3rd August 2021, 08:36 PM   #317
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Well, all those considerations sound familiar Jim but, nothing in them deny that spurious smiths names are much more abundant than spurious punzones de espadero ... by far .
Yours humbly !
I would imagine they would be most familiar to you considering how long you have studied, but mostly I wanted to detail them here for readers who may be following this line of research. Naturally these details cannot establish which instance may be more common, the use of names or the use of punzones.

I might suggest that in the 'legal' or regulatory aspects of the registration of marks/punzones there were consequences for using the mark of someone else while such wording in statutes did not include the use of names, phrases etc.
I would not try to assert that spurious use of either was more common one over the other, but perhaps this aspect might have had some bearing.
Interestingly, in Solingen, despite the spurious use of foreign markings, German makers went through considerable legal process to purchase use of marks of another maker. In England, the London Cutlers company has detailed records of permissions and grants for marks used by various makers, and forbad the unauthorized use of the mark of another.

I recall reading some time ago that English makers did not like to put their names on their blades as they thought it pretentious, but with the entry of German smiths into the Hounslow shops in the early 17th c. that changed.
With Toledo in demise, for a time in the 17th c. a number of German smiths from Solingen worked there and changed the character of their names being inscribed on their blades, Heinrick Koll for example became Enrique Coll.

I would point out here as well that most makers had more than one mark or punzone, and in the case of families, certain variations or entirely different stamps were used. In certain cases, in Toledo, there were also certain marks which were indicators of the status of espadero del Rey, where tax exemptions were involved. The famed 'man in the moon' crescent seems to have been one of these augmentations. These of course also had certain magic and talismanic properties so it is difficult to specifically identify their use.

Basically, whether marks or names used spuriously on blades had more instance one over the other is anybody's guess, and as always the blade being examined must be judged on its overall merits and clues.
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Old 4th August 2021, 12:27 PM   #318
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Interesting, the note on English makers omitting their marks to prevent them from been considered pretentious. As written in reliable (as i find) articles, Toledan masters often omitted them on basis that they were known enough to have their blades identified without them. This (article) in relation to explain why Toledan blades were many times not marked. And so other many times they punctured the mark/s of the Toledo guild, instead of their own.
By marks, for the case, the interpretation is related with the smith personal punzones, those often inherited from their ancestors, and not symbols, esoteric or not, like half moons, anchors, ranks (espadero de rey) and other decoration motifs. The reason i tend to assure that the presence of those punzones on blades being inferior to faked smiths names, other than the (supposed) reason above is that, while a name of a famous smith written on the blade is something immediately noticed, ringing a bell to potencial customers, whereas the punzon, being of diminute dimensions, hidden behind the cup bowl and somehow an encripted motif, means little to such customers. In other words lacking marketing appeal.
The 'nationalizing' of names, like Heinrick Koll becoming Enrique Coll, is also a marketing operation ... but not only. Since early times that such procedure takes place; making it easy for locals to spell and pronounce a foreigner name. We usually had, for example, Flemish bombarders aboard ships and German cannon smelters in Lisbon arsenals during the discoveries period, as well as Biscays (even Jews) working in local armour workshops, having their names simplified.


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Old 4th August 2021, 01:52 PM   #319
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Interesting, the note on English makers omitting their marks to prevent them from been considered pretentious. As written in reliable (as i find) articles, Toledan masters often omitted them on basis that they were known enough to have their blades identified without them. This (article) in relation to explain why Toledan blades were many times not marked. And so other many times they punctured the mark/s of the Toledo guild, instead of their own.
By marks, for the case, the interpretation is related with the smith personal punzones, those often inherited from their ancestors, and not symbols, esoteric or not, like half moons, anchors, ranks (espadero de rey) and other decoration motifs. The reason i tend to assure that the presence of those punzones on blades being inferior to faked smiths names, other than the (supposed) reason above is that, while a name of a famous smith written on the blade is something immediately noticed, ringing a bell to potencial customers, whereas the punzon, being of diminute dimensions, hidden behind the cup bowl and somehow an encripted motif, means little to such customers. In other words lacking marketing appeal.
The 'nationalizing' of names, like Heinrick Koll becoming Enrique Coll, is also a marketing operation ... but not only. Since early times that such procedure takes place; making it easy for locals to spell and pronounce a foreigner name. We usually had, for example, Flemish bombarders aboard ships and German cannon smelters in Lisbon arsenals during the discoveries period, as well as Biscays (even Jews) working in local armour workshops, having their names simplified.


.

On continuing research through my resources regarding mostly rapiers, but in the case of markings and names, I must note that I have found considerable support for your contention of the use of names on blades.
In most cases it was as you suggest of course not meant as forgery, but to herald the quality of the blade.
While I found numerous cases of spurious punzones used, I believe there was distinctly a pronounced use of names as you note, in fact more so than I had realized.
You also well note the 'simplification' of names in spellings and context of language, which was another case of names used in reference to quality .

It is always interesting when conflicting views lead to gainful discussion, where the process brings valuable conclusions and learning to the fore.
Thank you.
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