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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 25 Aug, 2008 7:31 pm    Post subject: 16th Century Swords with "back of hand" guards         Reply with quote

Looking through Oakeshott's European Weapons and Armour: From the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution shows the following illustration:



One thing that stands out to me is that of hilt style C2. It shows a floating bar and plate that protects the "back of the hand" as shown in this enlarged image:



One interesting thing of note is that the arc of the guard goes the opposite direction that a knuckle-guard would go. That's an odd thing to me, but i guess it would be protective in the "plane of the cut" as it were.

I'm very intrigued by this this feature and ask if any of you could show examples of sword hilts that have this type of guard.



I'm attaching one as found at the Hessink's Auction House described as such:

A Fine German Hand-and-a-Half Sword, circa 1530.
Double-edged blade and a shallow grooves. Each side of the ricasso with stamped marks. Iron bar hilt with curved 'S'-shaped quillons and guard ring. Leather covered grip with central bulb, and spirally twisted iron pommel. Length 120 cm.



 Attachment: 24.27 KB
1417-2.jpg
A Fine German Hand-and-a-Half Sword, circa 1530
Note the "back of the hand" protection
Copyright Hessink's Auction House


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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 25 Aug, 2008 8:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From the National Museum of the American Indian in DC. I believe it is German from 1540, though my notes are unfortunately not very clear, so don't quote me on that.

It doesn't actually have the floating bar, but everything else about the hilt is remarkably similar, so I figured I'd post it for comparison's sake.



 Attachment: 90.33 KB
smDSC01249.JPG


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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 26 Aug, 2008 1:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are many swords with this type of hilt, but finding the ones with the "back of the hand" protection has been elusive.

Check out the image attached. There is a bar coming from the guard at the same level as the quillon block that is starting to extend upwards and then simply ends. As it is, this feature seems quite superfluous. To me, it looks as though this may be a broken bar and one that may have once been the bar and plate as in the example shown in the first post. Of course I can't confirm this by looking only at the photo.

Beautiful sword regardless.



 Attachment: 24.48 KB
Swiss_circa_1550.jpg
A Swiss hand-and-a-half sword, circa 1550
Copyright David Oliver, Northumberland


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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 8:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey, I found one.

Image and description Copyright Fricker Historical Weapons

Top to bottom:

Thrusting Sword, German ca. 1550, pommel and quillon with burled decor.

Hand and a Half Sword, German ca. 1520, with blade inscription and crucifix.

Hand and a Half Sword, German ca. 1530, flower-bud shaped pommel and quillon ends, the blade with smith’s markings of JOHANNES HOPPE, Solingen.

Battle Sword, German ca. 1600, the blade with imperial orb marks.

Hand and a Half Sword, German ca. 1580, the blade with smith’s marks



 Attachment: 53.67 KB
swgroup.jpg
Copyright Fricker Historical Weapons

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Jul, 2009 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is another example, this one from circa 1530.


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Steven H




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Jul, 2009 7:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nifty. That last one looks like longsword proportions.

Thanks for sharing.

Cheers,
Steven

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Jul, 2009 8:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
Nifty. That last one looks like longsword proportions.


They all are.

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David Evans




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jul, 2009 3:42 am    Post subject: Back hand guard         Reply with quote

Looking just at the grips and adding the sword sizes that makes sense. I'm fairly sure that a full knuckle bow would impede on some long sword moves.
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jul, 2009 6:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sure this dosen't help with your search, but I couldn't help noticing that the description for the first photographed example you posted from Hessink's says "spirally twisted iron pommel", which does not fit the pommel of the sword pictured, which has straight flutes.
The hilts at least all look very closely related, although the decoration differs somewhat they all appear to have very similar workmanship. Speculating on these is fascinating, the very close dating makes me wonder if they did not come from the same area or even the same workshop.
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jul, 2009 6:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The example with the abbreviated bar in place of the back-of-the-hand guard looks to be of the same family to me but aside from the short (probably broken) bar already mentioned, there seem to be fewer elements making up the complex guard. I wonder if there aren't perhaps more pieces broken/missing from this one.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jul, 2009 9:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What's interesting to me about this particular hilt style is the configuration: If I had only seen one of these, I would have assumed it was left handed based on the way the bars curve. The forward quillon on most s-curved guards usually curves the other way. But every single sword with this style of hilt is just like the ones posted in this thread, and I doubt all of them were intended to be left handed.

Naturally, this is just an aesthetic point, as it doesn't make any functional difference, but its interesting to me all the same.

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Dec, 2015 3:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another example, circa 1530-1560, this one located at Reichsstadtmuseum Rothenburg, Germany.

This looks nearly identical to one above, but this isn't in a private collection but at the museum. If they are indeed two different swords, they look to be made in the same shop by the same people. It would be reasonable to raise questions as to them being legit 16th century pieces.



 Attachment: 278.33 KB
A-South-German-or-Swiss-Hand-and-a-Half-Sword,-circa-1530-60.png
South German or Swiss, circa 1530-1560

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