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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Tue 14 Dec, 2010 4:19 pm    Post subject: Transitional ribbon hilts         Reply with quote

So, I finally got the "British basket-hilted swords" By Cyril Mazansky to help me with my next custom baskethilt order. I was deciding between the counter curved quilloned ribbon hilts of the first half of the 17th century and the fully developed ribbon hilts of the second half of the century. I liked the later more but I wanted to have a hilt appropriate for the period of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1644-1651), especially years 1644-1647 when Alasdair Mac Colla led the "Irish" regiment under Montrose. The beaknosed ribbon hilt seemed to late for that period, but now in the Mazansky, page 69, I saw so called transitional hilt, C1 York castle museum CA 728. It looks more like early 17th century hilt, but has no rear quillon and the front quillon is very short and Mazansky calls it a beak-nose. It also has langets which should be a sign of an early date. (Here I rely on e.b. Erickson post in this thread about dating the ribbon hilts: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...ght=ribbon .) So I wonder what would be a probable date for such a "transitional" sword, are there any other examples, and are there any ribbon hilts that we can date with some precision in the 1640's.
Most quilloned ribbon hilts are dated early 17th century and later beak nosed ones 1650+. There should be something in between and I wonder how it looks. Is the 1650 date for later beak nosed hilts appoximate and were they under developed a bit earlier since typical earlier hilts with quillons seem to be quite a bit earlier (1600-1630)? Is that missing link the transitional hilt from Mazansky?

Transitional hilt:





Edit: This sword is owned by forum member David Wilson and made by E.B. Ericson. This hilt also looks kinda transitional to me and I wonder if it's based on a historical example and what date could it be?



The same one I think is the top one in this picture:



I know this is a lot of questions, but I can't afford several baskethilts, so I would like the few I will have to suit me well. I'm sure there are knowledgable people here who could help me. Happy
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Thom R.




Location: Tucson
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PostPosted: Wed 15 Dec, 2010 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Luka! Good questions. I think the reason none of the usual suspects have replied (including myself) is that the answer is we simply don't know. You are trying to define it very accurately in time - 1630 vs 1640 vs 1650 and I don't think we necessarily know exact dates for many of the surviving swords nor can identify exactly when the cross/quillons disappeared from the basket constructions. Its among the best work out there, but some of the dates published in Mazansky are debateable.

As for the "beak nose" itself, there are two schools of thought and it is debateable as to whether it is a step in some sort of evolutionary progression of the basket. Some people believe the "beak nose" is purely a constructional thing (artifact of constructional technique) others believe it had an actual functional purpose (like the spur seen on Venetian swords e.g. the Albion Doge). We just don't know. tr
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Wed 15 Dec, 2010 1:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm aware these are quite tricky questions. Happy Basically, I noticed that all beak nose ribbon hilts dated 1650+ have a new arrangement of bars, and pieces before 1650 usually have SW11 pattern arrangement of ribbons, and I was wondering if a beak, different less diagonal, more vertical shape of a rearguard, S filler between rearguard and side knuckleguard and different setting of bars that connect to the cross bar all came at ones, or did the old SW11 pattern of guards first lost quillons, got slightly different, less diagonal, more vertical rearguard, and other news in construction of a basket before new bar arrangement which no longer follows SW11 pattern but has pronounced S filler and arrangement of bars typical for fully developed beak nose ribbon hilts. For example, transitional hilt from Mazansky has an old rearguard, diagonal, langets, SW11 arrangement of bars, but no real quillon and the basket's construction is new style, wich bars connect with cross bar, and it has a groove into which bars are tucked at the pommel. So it's obviously a transitional hilt, but I would like to know in which period such changes would occur.
David Wilson's E.B. Erickson hilt has an old SW11 arrangement of bars, but everything else in it's construction is new and typical of more developed beak nose ribbons. I would like to know if Mr. Erickson replicated an original hilt with such characteristics or is it a more speculative hilt. And if there is an original like it, I would like to hear what experts would have to say about it's date.

P.S. I hope I am understandable enough, I struggle with some expressions since english is not my first language. Wink
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Dec, 2010 5:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I should probably chime in here... basically, my brief answer is that I don't know.... ElJay made this interesting basket, and asked me if I'd be interested in it. I said I would be, so he sent it. I liked it, so I had Gus Trim blade it. And that's all I know for sure. I've identified it as a Mazansky type C4b, but I certainly realize I may be way off on that assessment. I never asked ElJay if he based it off an original, it was always my assumption that either he based it directly on an original, or on a general type of original (using common features).

The ony person who can give a definitive answer here is E.B. himself....

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

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E.B. Erickson
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Location: Thailand
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 3:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi,
The hilt that belongs to David is modeled on an antique that I worked back in the late 80s/early 90s. A collector friend of mine had it and wanted me to repair some broken areas of the basket. The original had smaller openings than my reproduction does, and was much cruder/rough in form. One of the unique things about it was that it had a very small opening for the hand, and you had to squeeze your hand to get it in the hilt. However, once in, there was plenty of room inside the hilt so one's hand wasn't cramped. It was a lot like wearing a glove with a blade attached! The blade was de, about 30-32" long with a central fuller. The whole was so pitted and worn that there were no markings discernible on the blade, and no filed decoration visible on the hilt.

Unfortunately I have no photos of the sword.

I saw the collector just this last summer and asked him about this sword, as I was interested in buying it if he still had it. But he had sold it some time ago and doesn't know where it is now. He did say that he wishes he hadn't sold it!

--ElJay
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 3:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for posting Mr. Erickson! Any idea about the probable date of that hilt?
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E.B. Erickson
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Location: Thailand
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Dec, 2010 3:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka,
I'd say it was in the first half of the 1600s. Your observation about the SW11 construction on earlier hilts is, I think, correct. Since the antique I repaired had no long quillons, perhaps it was later than about 1620, but before mid-century. Like Thom said, we really can't tell how old these hilts are. No dated specimens survive, and there's none in any portraits, either.

Archaeology might be able to help. If we could get photos of all the baskets that have been excavated at Jamestown, and knew the approximate date of the layers at the site that they came from, maybe we could narrow the dates a bit!

--ElJay
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Dec, 2010 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting, such a hilt might be pretty much what I'm looking for. Did you take any bigger liberties when recreating it except making the opening for the hand "normal" sized? Did the original too had additional rearguard? It's not very usual feature for earlier hilts it seems to me...
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Fri 17 Dec, 2010 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That sword that ElJay made for David is really a nice one. I think something similar, with smaller piercings/openings than what you see on later ribbon hilts, and a beak nose, would be perfect for you Luka for your time frame. tr
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Dec, 2010 2:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom R. wrote:
That sword that ElJay made for David is really a nice one. I think something similar, with smaller piercings/openings than what you see on later ribbon hilts, and a beak nose, would be perfect for you Luka for your time frame. tr


Yes, that is a nice hilt and I think it would be perfect for my period. I'm just interested in a few details like did it really have an additional rearguard as it seems like a later feature to me. There are some hilts with additional rearguard in Mazansky dated to early 17th century, but they are not beaknose ribbonhilts (A18 type and it's variants). Interesting and unusual hilts too.
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E.B. Erickson
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Location: Thailand
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Dec, 2010 3:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Again,
Yes, the hilt did have a rearguard, and it didn't appear to be a later addition. Besides the various holes being smaller, the ones that I gave a lobed shape to were really crudely formed on the original. It looked like the smith had hammer welded the whole together and not really given much finish or definition to the openings.
--ElJay
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Dec, 2010 4:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The transitional hilt from Mazansky also looks quite crude. Who knows, maybe such swords were made in a hurry because the hammermen needed to equip an army quickly for the civil war that just started... Happy
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Sun 27 Feb, 2011 3:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just saw this one on the link posted in another thread about a scottish backsword. I think it shows nicely the, rather short lived it seems, transitional style of a beak nosed ribbon hilt:
http://www.albanarms.com/index.php?mact=Produ...eturnid=55
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