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Julien M




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PostPosted: Thu 18 Feb, 2010 4:27 am    Post subject: Ornamented scabbards - pre 16th century         Reply with quote

It is often understood when considering medieval scabbards that they were plain and non ornamental items (unlike knives scabbards for the same period).

Nevertheless, effigies and other graphical sources sometimes picture some that showed more subtleties in the leather tooling and overall design (You have to look harder for them though, hence this post)

We as a community have a fairly systematic approach when considering a given period scabbard (type X to XIII brings to mind the complex belt system from P Johnson sketch, with triangular leather at the guard etc, XV century, plain core, just a central riser and lines, knotted leather suspensions....).

If you happen to have pictures of med scabbards fitting that description, please share them here (pre baroque please!)

I'll start with those two below.

first one dates from the early XI century, and very unusual for this sword type.

Second one is borderline (tooling is very similar to those found on cinquedea scabbards) from the V&A, Northern Italy, ca. 1498

Cheers,

J



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Last edited by Julien M on Fri 19 Feb, 2010 1:14 am; edited 2 times in total
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Brian K.
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PostPosted: Thu 18 Feb, 2010 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An excellent thread / idea. I've alway's believed that our modern tastes conflicted with the reality of what we would consider very embellished today, would not be then. I'm hoping more images show up as I love seeing these.

Interestingly enough, this one look's unfinished to me. It look's as though the image was being scribed in the bottom, but the actual tooling wasn't finished. As the finished tooling meet's the scribed portion it becomes obvious the artist's intent was not as you see it.

Brian Kunz
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Julien M




Location: Austin TX
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PostPosted: Thu 18 Feb, 2010 6:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, it's clearly unfinished work, the artist has merely sketched the general outline, giving great insights to the technique used.

More pictures can be found on the V&A website:

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O67243/sword-scabbard/

Cheers,

J
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 18 Feb, 2010 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These might just make it under your chronological boundry. All appear to be approximately 1480-1510. The one second from left is, of course, the legendary XVIIIb that inspired the Albion Munich. We get a great view here of how closely the chappe fits over the top of the scabbard. This is not the easiest thing in the world to do properly, as I know from bitter experience. A Dürer woodcut shows a similar sword with a scabbard clearly tooled in the same fashion. Strangely, I don't see this much in Austrian painting of the period. I see black, red and the occasional blue scabbard, but obvious ornament, including tooling and applique, seems to be confined to the chappe. Perhaps the depiction of tooling is too subtle to see at such low resolution.


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)


Last edited by Sean Flynt on Thu 18 Feb, 2010 7:45 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 18 Feb, 2010 7:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The best of the inexpensive Dover arms and armour books has a wonderful line drawing of a tooled scabbard of the early 15th c., along with some other outstanding (and copyright-free) images:

http://www.myArmoury.com/books/item.048643740X.html

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Julien M




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Feb, 2010 1:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Sean,

Would you happen to have a close shot of the bayern sword scabbard? I know the general shape of this scabbard but the way it fits with the rain guard as well as the surface details are hard to figure out on this picture.

also I've got a copy of the dover book (most picts in there actually are from the medieval encyclopaedia by viollet le duc which is so big and heavy that it is a weapon by itself Happy, which page do you have in mind?

Some more example below (In case you are wondering, all those shots are from Laking's record of European armour and arms through seven centuries). I love the pattern on the line drawing one, and it seen to me fairly easy to reproduce it is simple and yet elegant...well we'll see about that soon enough Happy

Cheers,

j



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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 19 Feb, 2010 6:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wish I had a better photo of the scabbard, but I think this is the only one I've seen. It's not too hard to figure out based on the good shots of the hilt and of other scabbards of the period. The most important thing is the evidence for scabbard construction found in the width of the chappe relative to the width of the blade. All of the wood and leather of the scabbard mouth has to fit in there. The chappe then butts against the riser that in turn rests on the suspension knot. It's a close fit, and in my opinion it's meant, at least in part, to be tight enough to help retain the sword in the scabbard. I make mine so that they bind very slightly but still release with a light tug. I taper the scabbard above the riser to facilitate this--looser at the top than just above the riser. It's a very neat and secure system, but you can imagine that it's a bit fiddly to get just right. Big Grin


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Glen A Cleeton




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Feb, 2010 11:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While they are just drawings, the Speltz ornamentation title from 1906 has some interesting plates including arms and scabbards. Take the descriptions with a grain of Victorian salt but there is lots to see and envision in color (there are color portfolios of some of these out there).

http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/DLDecArts.StyOrnSpeltz

Oakesott's Archaeology of Weapons as well share some, along with other titles.

Cheers

GC
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