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G. Ghazarian
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PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2009 4:24 pm    Post subject: An embellished sword project         Reply with quote

I would like to make a decorated or an embellished medieval sword of any type, preferably a longsword, from approx XII to XVI centuries. Complex hilts are not desired.

Pictures or any information needed to make this project possible will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you fo your help.

Gabriel

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2009 5:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the key to making a modern version of an ornate historical sword is getting the details right and not straying too far away from the originals both in terms of techniques and materials as well as motifs. Too often, modern makers use similar techniques or materials but stray very far away from historical motifs and and create a piece that looks very, very wrong. The making of swords, like any artistic historical piece, requires an understanding of the art found during that timeframe as much as an understanding of the techniques of swordmaking. A lot of modern makers don't take the time to learn about the art, unfortunately.

--------------------------------------------------

I'll post more examples in this topic when I get more time, but for now:

Here is a very ornate 14th century sword. It is known as "The Sword of St. George". I have an entire article on this piece, but it's German so I don't have any details currently that I can share.





Click photos for full-sized versions


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PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2009 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Electoral Sword of Frederick I, Elector of Saxony (1370-1425; Elector, 1423)
Hungarian: Italian Influence, 1419-25


Click for detailed version

Pommel of rock-crystal mounted with two enameled panels which show on one side the Imperial Eagle and on the other, the combined Arms of Bohemia and Hungary. Grip is bound with silver-gilt wire and has a braided reinforcing ring in the center. The silver-gilt iron quillons are formed as branches of flattened section. The blade has two fullers and bears a wolf-mark in brass damascening. The wooden scabbard is covered with red velvet and is decorated with a silver-gilt spiral band which displays flowers and tendrils of foliage in colored enamel.

Overall length: 46 1/2 in; Blade length: 36 1/4 in



Click for detailed versions

The crystal pommel of this magnificent sword from the Dresden Armoury is decorated with tiny labels bearing the coats of arms of Hungary and Bohemia as well as the Imperial Eagle of Germany, the heraldry of Sigmund I of the House of Luxemburg (1368-1437). He was King of Hungary from 1387, becoming King of Bohemia in 1419; King of Germany in 1410, and Emperor in 1433. Ah1 this gives credence to the story that Sigmund presented the sword to Duke Frederick I of Saxony when he officially invested him with the Electorate of Saxony at Ofen in 1425.

Not only the heraldry and the historic circumstances point to Sigmund I as the original owner but also the extremely rich and choice goldsmith's work. The parrying guard in imitation of twisted gnarled boughs conforms to the late gothic style of Central Europe that transformed abstract shapes into plants. One talks of a German "Bough Gothic" style. The scabbard is covered with crimson velvet around which a band of gilded silver with laterally attached gothic foliage is wound in a spiral in imitation of the hangings that are always slung around the scabbards of ceremonial swords. On the bands themselves, framed by silver-gilt wires, there is delicate enameling in the Hungarian colors of red, white and green. Filigree enamel was first seen in Venetian Italy during the 14th century. Hungarian goldsmiths adopted it and brought it to perfection. Presumably, therefore, it was a goldsmith at Sigmuiid's Hungarian court who created this splendid sword after 1419, but before the ceremony in 1425. It is the richest example to be preserved of any medieval reign.

Dresden, Historisches Museum, A34

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PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2009 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sword, said to be of Ferdinand II


Click for detailed version

Spain, late 15th century
Steel, iron, and gold
Madrid, Real Armeria (Inv. G 31)

Overall length: 37 1/8 in. (95.5 cm)




Click for detailed versions

The double-edged blade, engraved with lines following the contours of the thickened shoulder (ricasso) near the hilt, has a longitudinal channel on either side extending to mid-blade, which accommodates the two-part signature ANTONIVS/ME FECIT (Antonio made me) on the obverse and reverse respectively. 1 The hilt is constructed entirely of iron, engraved, punched, gilded, and in part blackened. It is ornamented with beaded and dotted bands outlining the contours and framing medallions that enclose rosettes. The cross-guard (quillons) is flat, curved downward, and flared at the ends, where there is a small ornamental notch; the arms of the hilt end with short ball tips projecting at right angles to the plane of the blade. The grip shows signs of having been shortened. The pommel, a disk quartered by notches, is inscribed on the obverse and reverse respectively: SIEN/PRE GV/ERA/DESEO and PAZ CO/MIGO/NVN/CA VEO (Siempre guerra deseolPaz conmigo nunca veo—“War is ever my desire/Peace with me I never see”). This bellicose legend is not well suited to Ferdinand, who used the famous motto Tanto monta. Nor is there any reason to suppose that it applies to Isabella, his wife, with whom this sword was associated in the middle of the nineteenth century, probably because of its small size. The tradition of Ferdinand's ownership goes back at least to the middle of the sixteenth century, but always with a "said to be," expressing some reserve.

Accredited with this royal connotation, the sword formed part of the armory of Don Carlos (1545-1568), son of Philip II, and appears in inventories of the auction of his effects, appraised at five ducats. By virtue of that tradition, it was placed in the Royal Armory in 1571 by order of Philip II, who was at the monastery of El Escorial at the time:

Una espada bieja con la guarnicion a la antigua dorada y negra y el puno de yerro dorado que diz que fue del Rey catholico con la bayna de terciopelo negro tassada en cinco ducados que entrego en la armeria de su Ma-gestad por su mandado y con interbencion del prior don antonio su cavallerizo mayor como parece por una cedula de su Magestad su fecha en el monesterio de san lorenco el Real a treinta de jullio de mill quinientos y setenta un afios y certificacion del dicho prior del entrego della en la armeria. 2

(An old sword, gold and black hilt of old-fashioned type, gilded iron grip, said to have belonged to the Catholic King, black velvet scabbard, assessed at five ducats, delivered to His Majesty's armory at his command and with the assistance of the prior Don Antonio, his Master of the Horse, as appears by an order of His Majesty dated at the Monastery of San Lorenzo el Real the thirtieth of July fifteen hundred and seventy-one, and certification by the said prior of delivery thereof to the armory.)

The sword is indeed identifiable in the Royal Armory inventory of 1594, where it is mentioned in similar terms:

Otra espada Corta Espanola con canal hasta la mitad con una guarnicion de cruz a la Antigua dorada y el puno de hierro dorado que dizen fue del rrey Catolico. (Inventory of 1594)

(Another short Spanish sword, with a channel half the length, with a gilded cross-hilt of old-fashioned type and gilded iron grip, said to have belonged to the Catholic King.)

The sword is today without a scabbard. Evidently, this was refurbished from time to time; the black velvet covering noted in 1571 had by the end of the eighteenth century become red velvet trimmed with gold braid and fitted with a metal chape.

The Royal Armory formerly had another sword traditionally considered to have belonged to Ferdinand the Catholic, which was presented to the reigning monarch in 1598 by the duchess of Medina-Sidonia. Although the whereabouts of that sword are today unknown, the Royal Armory inventory of 1625 describes it as bearing the names of the three continents of the ancient world, Europe, Africa, and Asia, thus suggesting a date of manufacture prior to the discovery of America in I492. 3

In this context, besides the ceremonial sword GI in the Royal Armory (cat. 12), mention may be made of a sword of Ferdinand's in the cathedral of Granada, as well as an armor and a helmet of his in Vienna (Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, inv. A 5, A 645).

1.The maker's mark lower down the blade has been attributed to the Biscotto family, Italian bladesmiths of Villa Basilica, near Lucca (Reid 1965), although no member of the family is known to have worked in Spain. Hispano-Flemish sources, on the other hand, point to the existence of a well-known master "Antonius" active in Spain—and by implication Spanish—who signed his blades with his Christian name and a mark identical or similar to this one (clearly depicted in a drawing of sword makers' marks, Senales de las buenas espadas Antiguas, Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, MS 10806, fol. 102; L'Hermite [1600] 1896).

2. Archive General de Simancas, Contaduria mayor de Cuentas, primera epoca, legajo 1051, fol. 127.

3. "Una Espada corta de A caballo Ancha con una sesma de Recaco dorado con unas letreros que di$en Asia, Africa y Eu-ropa con una guarnicion sogueada de una puente dorada Antigua que dicen es de el Rey Don fernando el chatolico quel presento la duquesa de medina sidonia" (A short sword, for use on horseback, with a section of the gilded ricasso with letters reading Asia, Africa, and Europe, with a hilt with roped decoration having a gilt guard of old-fashioned type, said to be that of the king Don Ferdinand the Catholic, which was presented by the duchess of Medina-Sidonia).

LITERATURE
Abadfa 1793, p. 6 (A.2, no. 23); Jubinal and Sensi [ca. 1839], I, p. 15, pi. 16; Martfnez del Romero 1849, pp. 82-83, no. 1705; L'Hermite [1600] 1896, p. 293; Valencia de Don Juan 1898, pp. 197, 213-214, fig. 127; Gomez-Moreno 1923; Dean 1929, p. 83, no. 76, pi. xxvi; Aguado Bleye 1949; Reid 1965, p. 8; Boccia and Coelho 1975, pp. 339, 348, 355, nos. 124, 184, 248; Thomas and Gamber 1976, pp. 118-120, pis. 52, 53; Norman 1980, p. 80.



Copyright © 1991 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2009 5:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These are some of my personal favorite "ornate" swords:






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Parade sword of Emperor Maximillian I









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"Feudal Sword" and hunting sword / messer of Emperor Maximilian I








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PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2009 5:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ceremonial Sword of Frederick II





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Sword of King Sancho IV of Castile




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G. Ghazarian
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PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2009 7:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

WOW Nathan, where were you hiding these treasures all this time ??!!!!!

I already made my first entry on my list of "potential candidates" - your beautiful hand and a half sword belonging to Count Leonhard von Goerz shown above, A pure blooded Type XVIIIb, wow!

Thanks, keep them coming!

Gabriel

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Chris Artman




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PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2009 10:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All beauties... I love the Italian ones and also the "Feudal Sword" and hunting sword / messer of Emperor Maximilian I, in particular...
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PostPosted: Mon 18 May, 2009 5:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

G. Ghazarian wrote:
WOW Nathan, where were you hiding these treasures all this time ??!!!!!


In a myriad of published books. Happy There are many more out there also "hiding" in books. Happy

Happy

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G. Ghazarian
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PostPosted: Mon 18 May, 2009 11:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
G. Ghazarian wrote:
WOW Nathan, where were you hiding these treasures all this time ??!!!!!


In a myriad of published books. Happy There are many more out there also "hiding" in books. Happy


Chad, With all due respect, this was not meant to be taken litterally. We all know that this site is a gold mine when it comes to information and the idea of my quest for information here, was to try to turn it into a collective effort, if possible.

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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Mon 18 May, 2009 12:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some of my memories,
On 2 June 1259, the Hohenstaufen Manfred, son of Frederick II, married Elena Comneno dell'Epiro.
The marriage was celebrated in the castle of my city, Trani (Southern Italy).
Review here is beautiful, the sword belonged to Frederick II.
I saw this as a reproduction sword in the castle.
Thanks Nathan



 Attachment: 48.59 KB
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PostPosted: Mon 18 May, 2009 4:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

G. Ghazarian wrote:
Chad, With all due respect, this was not meant to be taken litterally. We all know that this site is a gold mine when it comes to information and the idea of my quest for information here, was to try to turn it into a collective effort, if possible.


I know what you meant. Happy My point is that there are many more nifty things out there. I encourage people (especially craftspeople) to seek out and build a good library so they have lots of examples to study and draw inspiration from. In some ways, I value my library more than my collection of arms and armour. I certainly appreciate each more because of the other.

There's some really wacky and cool stuff out there. Happy Nathan's posted a lot of the cool stuff here and in other threads. You know what I'd like to see more makers tackle? Crystal and rock-pommeled swords.

Happy

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Allen Foster





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PostPosted: Mon 18 May, 2009 5:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow Nathan,

Just seeing all the posts of those incredible swords with unbelievable workmanship was worth it. It's great to see modern craftsmen trying to push the envelope to try to create works of art at levels not attempted for centuries.

Thanks

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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Tue 19 May, 2009 3:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The hunting sword of Maximilian I is the sword that started my love of swords. It was featured in a book of armour that my uncle gave me when I was 9, it had a little section in the back about swords and other weapons, and I remember the feeling of wonder that overtook me as I looked at the picture of this wonderfull thing. I didn't have words for how I felt about it, and I still don't.
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G. Ghazarian
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PostPosted: Fri 22 May, 2009 12:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
These are some of my personal favorite "ornate" swords:






--------------------------------------------------



Does anybody have the specs or any info on this sword to help me work out the dimensions from this picture?

I can make assumptions and calculate from there, but I rather stay as much as possible with the real thing.

Thanks in advance

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PostPosted: Fri 22 May, 2009 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr. Ghazarian -

It's odd that there are not general dimensions included for that sword. The photo and text came from Armi Bianche Italiane, which generally includes overall length, blade length, and width info. For this sword, there is none.

As shown in the info above, it's at the Dresden Historisches Museum. Perhaps it's shown on the museum Web site. The accession number is shown below in this museum inventory photo.

Check out the OVERALL shot Happy

As a point of reference, the sword on the left is 118 cm long (46.5" overall length; 36.25" blade length). It is shown in another post of this same topic.

Just eyeballing, it looks like the sword in question might have a blade around 37.5" long and an overall length around 48.5". (I've done no calculations, just looking at the photo and throwing out numbers)



 Attachment: 73.21 KB
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Copyright Dresden Historisches Museum.

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Copyright Dresden Historisches Museum.

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G. Ghazarian
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PostPosted: Fri 22 May, 2009 1:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Nathan, what you just provided is more than enough. I can take it from there. I may make it a few inches larger anyway.

Even though I speak german, searching at the Museum website was a wild goose chase.

I have plans also with the Maximilian swords that I am thinking about, but still too early to discuss...

Keep your pictures coming.

looking forward.

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