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A GERMAN SILVER-ENCRUSTED RIDING SWORD
A GERMAN SILVER-ENCRUSTED RIDING SWORD

EARLY 17TH CENTURY

Details
A GERMAN SILVER-ENCRUSTED RIDING SWORD
Early 17th Century
With broad straight double-edged blade, tapering ricasso, and double fuller on each face of the forte stamped 'Anno 1548', the letters and figures separated by engraved running wolf marks, and also struck on each face with a bladesmith's mark, a statant stag, iron hilt comprising flat quillons and arms, flattened ovoidal pommel, and wooden grip bound with later silver wire, the iron parts heavily encrusted in silver within dotted borders with running fruit and flowers bearing scrollwork involving birds, marine monsters, a cherub's head, and, on the front and back of the pommel respectively, a large double palm-spray under a small double-headed eagle, and a large double-headed eagle under a pair of palm branches issuing from a coronet, in wooden scabbard covered with green velvet (rubbed and repaired), incorporating a side pocket, and with iron mouth locket and chape, the former with two fixed suspension-rings, decorated with silver encrustation similar to that on the hilt, with palm-leaf sprays on the locket framing a draped female figure with a broken column (Hope ?), and rose-bearing scrolls, all against a ground of silver dots (silver slightly rubbed), the associated contemporary by-knife and bodkin each made entirely of steel, and with tapering spirally fluted handles of circular section encrusted with silver dots
30 in. (76.9 cm.) blade
Provenance
Rothschild inv. no. AR3381.

Lot Essay

Encrusted silver decoration of the kind found on the hilt of this sword was executed in the early 17th Century in Germany, Switzerland, France and England, but only the English group, to which this does not belong, has been studied. The presence of what is presumably the imperial eagle on the pommel points, however, to a German origin (see A.V.B. Norman, The Rapier and Small-Sword, 1460-1820, London, 1980, pp. 360-62).

The mark on the blade is one of those ascribed to the Solingen bladesmith Meves (Bartholomus) Berns, who is recorded in the early seventeenth Century. It is probable, therefore, that the date on the blade of the present sword is not that of its manufacture, but has some other unknown significance (see A. Weyersberg, Solinger Schwertschmiede des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts und ihre Erzeugnisse, Solingen, 1926, pp. 11-12).
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