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Lee O'Hagan




Location: Northamptonshire,England
Joined: 30 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Happy
imo, i have to agree that people saying historical swords are'nt cosmetically up to scratch,must be purely down to not reading or looking at enough examples,
One thing that stuck while reading on forums was the line,
one sword,one book,
some of the best advice i've read,
So far in my own collecting,the main importance is that the sword,no matter historical,fantasy has to be just that, a real sword,
does it stand on it's own merits that it is first and foremost a real weapon Happy ,whether pretty,gaudy or just plain jane,
if it does not Sad ,it loses so much appeal at least to my own blinkered way of thinking,

some excellent pictures featured above,

pic from,
discovering edged weapons,
J,Wilkinson-Latham
isbn,085263138



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Lee O'Hagan




Location: Northamptonshire,England
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 8:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

European Swords
Stephen Bull
isbn 0747802343

A closer inspection of the pic shows the level of detail,



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Lee O'Hagan




Location: Northamptonshire,England
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Arms And Armour
Vesey Norman,
isbn, 7064 0054 8

Superbly detailed hiltwork,
Rapier with gold and enamel hilt (at Vienna)given to the Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol in 1554;The hilt is Spanish work of C,1550



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Last edited by Lee O'Hagan on Sat 06 Nov, 2004 8:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kenneth Enroth




Location: Finland
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Posts: 288

PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 8:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it's safe to say that wearing that wont deter criminals.
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Lee O'Hagan




Location: Northamptonshire,England
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

lol, i guess not Ken, Happy

As to the more modern work,
This is a pic i have kept on file for as long as i can remember,
A sword made by Kirby Wise,
Some like Kirby's stuff, some dont for one reason or another,
The detail on this hilt ,looks very well done to me,
As to the overall work i cant comment as i'm yet to handle any,



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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 9:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An interesting topic,
While my current historical interest is rather narrow (European 1000-1300)- I like to focus on one thing at a time- I have always been fascinated by the issue of inlays found in pommels and more specifically blades of that period.
Many or most swords have designs or words inlayed in iron, copper, silver, or latten running down the blade. I would like to one day commision a sword like this from Records or some other source as I have not seen reproductions utylizing this feature. Actually I'm not sure if there are folks out there with experience in this. Patrick Barta does some amazing things with inlay in pommels and guards on his viking swords but I haven't seen any inlay on the blades. I know that Mr. Evans often inlays his makers mark in copper on the blades of his swords.
This wouuld be something cool to see. . .
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Geoff Wood




Location: UK
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Posts: 634

PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
An interesting topic,
While my current historical interest is rather narrow (European 1000-1300)- I like to focus on one thing at a time- I have always been fascinated by the issue of inlays found in pommels and more specifically blades of that period.
Many or most swords have designs or words inlayed in iron, copper, silver, or latten running down the blade. I would like to one day commision a sword like this from Records or some other source as I have not seen reproductions utylizing this feature. Actually I'm not sure if there are folks out there with experience in this. Patrick Barta does some amazing things with inlay in pommels and guards on his viking swords but I haven't seen any inlay on the blades. I know that Mr. Evans often inlays his makers mark in copper on the blades of his swords.
This wouuld be something cool to see. . .


Mr Krause
Mr Barta may be your man. His A06 has blade inlay, for example.
Geoff
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Kirk Lee Spencer




Location: Texas
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 9:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:


You have to look at these things with an understanding of the mentality and taste of the period contemporary with the piece itself. It's flawed to use modern judgement of aesthetics with these things...


This is a very insightful point I would like to elaborate a little.
The same dizzying overly encrusted decoration we see on most of these swords can also be seen in the architecture and visual arts of this time period (High Renaissance to Rococo). evidently during the high Renaissance a sensibility developed, and was passed through culture, that this "visual attention deficit disorder "was not silly but the very pentacle of perfection.
(I look at old photo albums and see myself in platform shoes, bellbottom plaid pants with cuffs, baggy sleeve shirts with butterfly collars--when I see these pictures it is painful to remember that at the time I thought I was "really really good looking." But sensibilities do change with time, praise the Lord!)

In a similar fashion, fantasy movie swords can also be analyzed as a part of the current "post-modern" culture. Evidently the population in general has developed their own sensibilities about what a sword should look like. Not from archeological reports or museum exhibits, but what they have seen on TV and Movies. I read that Paul Binns had been commissioned to do the excalibur sword for the recent King Arthur movie. Evidently he made a nice late Roman spatha for them and they said something along the lines that his spatha would not do... they wanted something with a little more zip, pazzaz... drama! And that's what they got... what they thought the people wanted.

In the analysis of post modern art there is a trend (one of the many trends) what is called the obviously and intentionally non-functional. To Illustrate this movement textbooks will often show a drum set made completely out of cloth. I believe it may be possible to see many if not most fantasy type swords as meeting this postmodern sensibility for the intentional non-functionality of swords. So to say that some of the more fantastic fantasy swords with their gigantic size, heavy weight, hilt and pommel spikes, multiple ricossos, serrated edges and scarry monster engravings etc. etc.--to say that they are not functional is somewhat redundant. They may very well have been made to make that very point.

Recent historic epics (even LOTR) seem to be moving sensibilities, at least in part, back to more historic modes... Of course I am going to think this is a good thing and I think it is also good for the sword industry. This shift also makes sense in terms of culture and demographics... The baby boomers are old enough now to recognize and even appreciate that function has its functions. And blatant non-functionalism is somewhat like the four inch, uncomfortable, heavy (yet dramatic) platform shoes in the back of the closet. Wink Happy Big Grin Just my $0.02.

keep postin.

ks

Two swords
Lit in Edenís flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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Geoff Wood




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 9:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William Goodwin wrote:

Geoff,

Actually the pic I posted is not a rapier, but my Paul Chen Mortuary hilt. With alot of the more over the top original pieces, one must realize that alot of these were commisioned by very flamboyant aristocrats. The more ornate, the better for them as a reflection of their status.

Bill


Bill
Oops! Showing my ignorance yet again. Thanks for the correction. I completely agree on the status point. Same would go for the Sutton Hoo, but I assume that both examples would still be functional. I'd be less sure of that with some of the examples Nathan showed earlier.
Geoff
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Thom O'Leary




Location: NY
Joined: 22 Aug 2004

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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 9:52 am    Post subject: Modern eyes         Reply with quote

One issue with examining antique swords and designs in general - a point which has been touched on already - is that we are looking at them through modern eyes. To expand on this a bit, I don't just mean "contemporary" eyes (i.e. those of someone living in the early 21st century) but "Modern" in the design-movement sense of the word. Everyone today is familiar with the aesthetic of Modern design: clean, pared-down, influenced by man-made materials and the industrial technology to manipulate them (often, en masse). The movements that shaped many of today's cities (like NY, Berlin, etc.) could either be defined as "Modern" or influenced by Modern, i.e. Art Deco, Bauhaus. I hope this link works... but this piece...

http://pics.myArmoury.com/spadavenezia1500a.html

...looks like it could have been designed in 1935. I absolutely love it, because it has a total Art Deco aesthetic but came over 400 years too early.

My ultimate point is that we (today) have references and "styles" in mind that our forebears simply didn't. If something looked clean-lined, simple and had what we would call "understated elegance," it may just have been intended to be "functional," and not clean-lined for aesthetic reasons in-and-of itself. At certain times in history and in particular cultures, especially at the aristocratic/regal level, there was no concept of a "less is more" aesthetic (the Palace of Versailles, for example). More is more, and if one is good, twelve is twelve times better. The only limits were imagination, the skill of the artisans, and the funds to do it.

Personally, I am a modernist and very much prefer the clean aesthetic, but I can find at least one thing that I like about each of the examples posted, and can appreciate the craftsmanship that went into them. What I appreciate about them all is the "we *can* do this, so we should, because no one else *can*" attitude - it wouldn't matter if they look crazy to our eyes, because "more was more." What separates these from a lot of what are considered fantasy swords today is that these examples are *genuine* - they come from a person's genuine perspective on art and decoration, and they show off things that the average folks couldn't do - either physically/skillfully or financially. They were based on existing concepts, but pushed the boundaries.

A lot of what people call/consider "fantasy" swords today don't follow any aesthetic code, lack even basic functionality and they certainly don't show off craftsmanship/artisanship - they aren't based in anything genuine, and only bring mass-producible product to the market. The bad examples are everywhere - odd six-bladed SLOs with plastic rubies running down the stainless steel blades (you get the idea). The good examples are fewer, but do exist - I very much like the LOTR swords, Jody Samson and other craftsmans' work because what they do has one foot in reality without being bound to what has already been seen. They are based on existing concepts, but push the boundaries. They add to our appreciation of the sword as something that *was*, *is*, and *will be* into the future. You have to learn the rules before you can break them...

So, everything I've said is very general, highly debatable and legitimately contradictable. A gaudy sword is not necessarily fantasy, and a plain sword is not necessarily historical. There are degrees to each, but as long at a sword suits its purpose (which may only be to sell millions of them to enthusiasts) then it has some value, even if that value isn't in functionality, aesthetics, or craft.
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Kenneth Enroth




Location: Finland
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 10:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's usually the swords of war that have this "understated elegance". More decoration is not better on these for functional and economic reasons but it's reasonable that the craftsmen still wanted to express themselves within the parameters. Everything medieval is handmade by one or more individuals and the craftsmen may well have taken pride in every piece they made even if it was unadorned. It's the same with handmade things today but of course military hardware is no longer handmade.
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Joel Chesser




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 11:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The great thing is that most of these ornate antique swords are more ornate and fantastical then many of the modern fantasy pieces.
..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

- Luke 22:36
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 2:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joel Chesser wrote:
The great thing is that most of these ornate antique swords are more ornate and fantastical then many of the modern fantasy pieces.


Yes. Exactly!

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Lee O'Hagan




Location: Northamptonshire,England
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 3:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An original work that has traces of one of the best selling modern fantasy/decorative pieces,
I couldnt resist putting this in,
Personally i've found this thread to be excellent so far, people expressing their own opinions with no bias and nitpicking
a case of each to their own and respecting fellow members,but that could be said of this site in general,
Razz
Pic courtesy of,
The Lyle Arms and Armour review,
1976,
isbn,
090292138X



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Steve Maly




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 7:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And let's not forget the ornate swords attributed to Charlemagne...


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"When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail." ~A. Maslow
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Steve Maly




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 7:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A ceremonial sword attributed to Friedrich II.


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"When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail." ~A. Maslow
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Nate C.




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2004 9:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Nate C. wrote:
James, does that book contain a picture of an amazingly ornate gross/kreigmesser with matching by-knives? I saw it in a book in the library one time but I cannot remember the name of the book. It is really magnificent.


Is this the messer you mention? Regardless, it's another very good example of the type of historic sword referred to in this topic.


Yes, that's the one Big Grin ! The photo I saw also had a semi-matching hand-and-a-half sword too but I can't find it in the archives.

Cheers,

Nate C.

Sapere Aude
"If you are going to kill the man, at least give him a decent salute." - A. Blansitt

If they ever come up with a Swashbuckling School, I think one of the courses should be Laughing, then Jumping Off Something. --Jack Handy
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Lee O'Hagan




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Nov, 2004 3:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve,
Was there any text or a book reference for the second Charlemagne picture you posted,
I've got pics of the first one but have only seen pencil drawings of the second in one of Oakeshott's books,
Cheers. Happy
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Steve Maly




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Nov, 2004 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lee O'Hagan wrote:
Steve,
Was there any text or a book reference for the second Charlemagne picture you posted,
I've got pics of the first one but have only seen pencil drawings of the second in one of Oakeshott's books,
Cheers. Happy


I'm not immediately sure of the book reference, but the pictures of the saber are of the one kept in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna--perhaps from one of their publications? The color pic is one that Bjorn posted on SFI. He might remember from where he got it.

"When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail." ~A. Maslow
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Lee O'Hagan




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Nov, 2004 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cheers Steve,
Happy
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