Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Great new book for basket hilt fans Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Don Stanko




Location: ohio
Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Reading list: 478 books

Posts: 230

PostPosted: Sat 11 Feb, 2006 9:54 pm    Post subject: Great new book for basket hilt fans         Reply with quote

Sorry if someone already wrote about this particluar book but I just finished the fourth chapter tonight and I am very impressed. The book is "British Basket Hilt Swords" by Cyril Mazansky (ISBN 1 84383 053 1). It was released in 2005 by boydell press and is probably the most useful piece of modern writing I've seen since Pierce wrote "Swords of the Viking Age".This book highlights terminology and nomenclature of basket hilt swords and reviews the typology of the British Basket Hilt sword starting with the 15th century "Wakefield Sword" and works all the way into the 20th century. Essentially, what Petersen and Oakeshott did for the viking and medieval swords, Mazansky did for the British Basket Hilt. There are many great photos and statistics along with dates when available. And as a bonus there is an article at the back of the book showing you how to build your own portable studio for taking sword photos along with some really good suggestions on set up and shot angles. This information may be elementary but so am I when it comes to taking pictures.

Anyway, just thought some of you might be interested.

Don
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Hand




Location: Hobart, Australia
Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Sun 12 Feb, 2006 1:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's certainly a useful book, but it isn't about basket hilted swords. It's about basket hilts and goes to perverse lengths to ignore the blade and the sword as a whole. Here's what I wrote about it on Amazon. Despite my misgivings it is a very useful book and I gave it four stars.

"I must admit to having rather mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it is an important catalogue and typology of British basket hilts. The book contains hundreds of clear photographs of basket hilts, often from multiple angles. Many of these hilts can't be seen elsewhere. It also classifies the hilts based on a logical typology. This is certainly a book that deserves a place in the libraries of all sword enthusiasts.

However, the book also has a somewhat surreal quality in the way it focuses on the hilt to the exclusion of the rest of the sword or indeed the sword as an indivisible whole. It's a bit like reading a book about cars which only talks about their bodies, refusing to even acknowledge that they have engines and wheels. Ignoring the blade of a sword is like ignoring the engine of a car, it misses the whole point of the item. A sword is not an art object, it is a specialised tool that only really comes to life in the hand of a skilled swordsman. I have to wonder whether the author has ever fenced? Reading a book about swords by someone who isn't a swordsman is like reading a book about cars by someone who doesn't drive. I was left wondering how someone could know so much about swords and yet not really understand them at all.

So while this book is a very useful tool, it lacks the information necessary to know what (in the absence of being able to personally heft it) the sword was really like, blade length and width, weight, point of balance, centre of percussion etc, all with a picture of the whole sword. As the author of a book on how to fight with the basket hilted sword, I found much of use in this book, but so much more that was missing. One of these days I would like to see a book on swords by someone who doesn't just know a lot about swords as dead objects, but who also understands them as a practical tool."

Stephen Hand
Editor, Spada, Spada II
Author of English Swordsmanship, Medieval Sword and Shield

Stoccata School of Defence
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Don Stanko




Location: ohio
Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Reading list: 478 books

Posts: 230

PostPosted: Sun 12 Feb, 2006 6:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great points Stephen, especially about the lack of information regarding the blade. I guess I was looking at the book as a puzzle piece to my library. I personally have very little knowledge when it comes to basket hilts, my library focuses on other time periods. So this book I found especially valuable for me to understand the subtle differences in identifying this type of sword. I suppose I tend to view literary works from the collectors standpoint.

Now I do have to disagree with you when you say that swords are not works of art. True, they are specialized tools and some weapons definitely fall into the utilitarian category But there are many swords out there that deserve the laurel of art. When I look at a sword I can see beauty in its proportions and artistic additions. The thought that goes into adding chiselling, etching, blueing and plating that accents and beautifies the sword without taking away from its usefulness.

As a collector and fencing instructor I enjoy swords on all levels. Both hobbies have brought me a better understanding and appreciation of these magnificent objects.

Don
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Hand




Location: Hobart, Australia
Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Sun 12 Feb, 2006 2:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Don,

I said that swords weren't art objects. That's very different to saying that they weren't works of art. In my opinion a superbly designed tool that combines aesthetics with function is a work of art, regardless of overt decoration. But it's a tool first and foremost.

Cheers
Stephen

Stephen Hand
Editor, Spada, Spada II
Author of English Swordsmanship, Medieval Sword and Shield

Stoccata School of Defence
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,170

PostPosted: Sun 12 Feb, 2006 7:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ha! There is the art of making a good sword as the best functional tool as possible that by coincidence produces beauty through function even when no decorative elements are added.

Any decorative elements must at least be functionally neutral: Any decoration that reduces functionality goes against the first art of making the best tool possible.

If decoration, no matter, how beautiful takes priority the object become a work of art first and a functional sword second or last. ( Or no longer a real weapon but something else ....... )

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Great new book for basket hilt fans
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum