E.B. Erickson Continental Basket-hilt
Original: South European, late 16th century

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Basket-hilts consist of a large group of swords with hilts made up of a complex network of bars or plates serving as guards to surround the hand. Dominant in this group are swords from Britain and so many might make the assumption that all basket-hilts are British. In fact, a whole variety of other types of basket-hilts exist that developed on the European Continent.

It is thought that many of these Continental styles may actually predate British samples or, at the very least, have developed alongside them. Regardless, it would seem to be an inevitable conclusion that each hilt form was developed to solve the common need and basic requirement of providing additional protection to the sword wielder's hand. A great deal of experimentation went into these forms and produced weapons that ranged from very crude to quite exquisite.

The sword presented here is a distinctly Germanic style belonging to a larger group collectively referred to as tessacks or dussages. This particular one is based on an antique found in E.B. Erickson's own collection.

One of the most prominent features of this sword is its quite long cross-guard with swelled spear-point ends and small button finials. Two rounded rectangular plates sit below the cross and act as a guard. A knuckle-bow connects to the cross-guard and sweeps upwards where it flares outward so as not to touch the pommel. Two looping bars, one at the front of the hilt and one at the back, connect from the plate and again to the knuckle-bow. Within these loops are other bars winding around and connecting to the various components of the basket.

The pommel is a large globular mushroom shape that flares from a narrow base mated to the grip. The grip is wrapped with fine alternating rows of twisted and straight wires and has decorative Turk's head knots.

The hilt is not symmetrical front-to-back. There is an offset to allow more room for the knuckles when held in the right hand. The front side is also larger than the back and a thumb-ring is present.

Antique swords with this hilt type can be found with a diverse variety of blade shapes including wide broadswords, curved sabers, and even long thrusting variations. The blade on this creation is a narrow and long backsword variant with a wide fuller that was made by Angus "Gus" Trim to resemble the one found on the antique that served as this sword's inspiration.
Overall length: 39.5"
Weight: 2.8 pounds
Width of guard: 12"
Blade: 34" long; 1.3125" wide tapering to .625"
Grip and pommel: 5.125" long
Point of Balance (PoB): 2.5" from guard
Center of Percussion (CoP): ~24.5" from guard

Maker: E.B. Erickson.
This basket-hilt is based on an original piece in the collection of E.B. Erickson.

Nathan Robinson's Collection

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E.B. Erickson Continental Basket-hilt

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