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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 08 Nov, 2004 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And here are a couple other highly ornate examples to show:


Click the photograph to see a higher-resolution detailed version

Left: Saber, circa 1590
Center and Right: German Rapier, circa 1640

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Thom O'Leary




Location: NY
Joined: 22 Aug 2004

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Mon 08 Nov, 2004 5:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Nathan,

You had posted this image the other day:

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

Can you provide any references or more background info on this sword? I am quite intrigued by it and would like to go a little deeper with research. The more I examine it, the more early 20th century motifs it seems to have - which is entirely possible on a 16th century piece - but has made me all the more curious....

Thanks,
-TJO
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Keith Larman
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Location: Sunny Southern California
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 237

PostPosted: Mon 08 Nov, 2004 5:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just fwiw from the Japanese sword perspective...

One thing that makes it *so* easy to pick out swords designed by non-Japanese or Chinese fakes or whatever is that they miss the aesthetic. There are some amazingly, um, well, guady as hell swords out there (looking at them through modern eyes that is). "Dress up and see the shogun and show off the size of your manly bits" kinda swords. But. They always have a sort of internal consistency. They usually have a theme running through them, an overall feel, a "design" of sorts. Often superbly subtle. Sometimes really overdone. But it is there.

Most modern designed stuff (my own included sometimes I must admit) often misses that sort of thing. It is tough. It is hard to be subtle. But subtle doesn't always mean lacking flash. It can have lots of "bling" to use a modern phrase but that "bling" needs to fit. In the design. In functionality. It has to have a "raison d'etre".

The point that has been drilled into me by the various people who have taught me the craft is that form does still follow function. Most things are there because they make the sword better. That heavy gold part there better be offset in terms of balance elsewhere in the piece. The use of the soft gold foil over the habaki makes sense but the copper habaki underneath better be properly work hardened for actual use. The foil on just the seppa (washers) should be thin enough so they don't introduce extra play by compressing when the entire rig is put together. And on and on.

Some mistake the concept of "Shibui" ("understated elegance" is the common translation) with it must be simple. Not really the case. If it is fairly ornate, there is usually a lot more going on underneath it all.

And some of the most ornate *good* sword mounts in Japanese culture are often *extremely* well made. The extra stuff is done "because ya can" and not for it's own sake if that makes any sense. Showing more ability, more control, etc. is all good. Some things were done because they were *very* difficult to do well and maintain the functional aspects of the sword at the same time.

Interesting thread... Got me thinking about my own projects...

Keith Larman
http://www.summerchild.com
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 08 Nov, 2004 6:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom O'Leary wrote:
Hi Nathan,
You had posted this image the other day:



Can you provide any references or more background info on this sword? I am quite intrigued by it and would like to go a little deeper with research. The more I examine it, the more early 20th century motifs it seems to have - which is entirely possible on a 16th century piece - but has made me all the more curious....


I think it's a fascinatingly unqiue piece and was hoping it would draw some attention for the very reasons you describe. It dfinitely looks to have Art Deco influences, doesn't it? Rather, it's a precursor to such a design movement, as this piece was created circa 1500!

Venice, c. 1500 from the Carrand Collection

Here's some accompanying text, in Italian:


And an illustration of the sword's fittings:

Click to enlarge

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Nov, 2004 8:43 pm    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


Kirk Lee Spencer just posted some photos of the saber In this topic I've never seen this specific photos. Thanks, Kirk!

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Mathias B.




Location: Franconia, Germany
Joined: 26 May 2004

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Fri 12 Nov, 2004 6:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
And here are a couple other highly ornate examples to show:

Center and Right: German Rapier, circa 1640


Perhaps a rapier isn't that good an example for an ornate "real" sword because you won't find them in fantasy movies and can't compare them directly with "Conan-the-Barbarian-style" swords.
(And if you find rapiers in movies they mostly are less ornate than the real thing (like the Cup-hilt rapiers of the old swashbuckler movies))
Just a thought.

Otium et reges prius et beatas perdidit urbes
(Gaius Valerius Catullus)
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Lee O'Hagan




Location: Northamptonshire,England
Joined: 30 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Fri 12 Nov, 2004 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Nathan,
Cool pics Kirk cheers,
There was also some pics of the Charlemagne sabre over at SFI in the pub under,
Sabres,sabres,sabres,

Mathias,
I've always been fond of this fantasy rapier,
Six fingered rapier of The Princess Bride,



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Mathias B.




Location: Franconia, Germany
Joined: 26 May 2004

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Fri 12 Nov, 2004 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

OK, so there are fantasy rapiers, thanks
Otium et reges prius et beatas perdidit urbes
(Gaius Valerius Catullus)
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 960

PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2004 3:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi there, yet another newcomer here...

For historical swords comparable to those in Conan the Barbarian and such films, one could do worse than look at Viking swords. A couple of examples:


From the viking burial site of Kilmainham


One of my all-time favorites, this beauty... from Lund, IIRC (note the locket stuck to the crossguard)

All in all, I think the main difference between the decoration on historical and fantasy swords is that, in historical examples it very rarely interferes with the sword's function, while in many fantasy designs the decorative elements would seem at the least distracting, and at worst downright dangerous, to the user - for example, the ever-popular horns/talons/fangs curving from the cross *towards the grip*, making it impossible to hold without having them dig into you hand, wrist, or arm; or the frequently impractical decoration on the grip itself, making it uncomfortable in the extreme to actually grip. Also, the fantasy decorative motifs and themes are usually quite easy to distinguish from historical ones - there's a certain, almost invariable, Hammer Gothic or Art Nouveau air to the modern fantasy variety.

Not that this necessarily makes the fantasy pieces unattractive, of course (I love Art Nouveau and Hammer horror films, too Happy), but it does make them stand out from historical specimens. Which might be either good or bad, depending on your tastes and needs.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Joseph C.




Location: Pensacola, Florida
Joined: 01 Jul 2004

Posts: 56

PostPosted: Sat 20 Nov, 2004 9:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Does anyone have any additional information on the Teutonic sword that Lee O'Hagan posted? I am very interested in learning more about it--especially since it seems very well preserved for a 13th Century sword.
Hosea 4:6a
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
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Reading list: 13 books

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PostPosted: Sat 20 Nov, 2004 10:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The two-handed sword of Mehmet the Conqueror, with the sultan's genealogy inlaid in gold along the blade, in the Topkapi collections:


Yataghan of Suleiman I, also in Topkapi:

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Andrew Winston




Location: Florida, USA
Joined: 17 Nov 2003

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Sun 21 Nov, 2004 10:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great thread, guys! I agree with Nathan's premise compeletely. While the simple, serious pieces hold their own allure for me, it is usually the ornate that gets my attention these days.

Here's one of my favorites:

"I gave 'em a sword. And they stuck it in, and they twisted it with relish.
And I guess if I had been in their position, I'd have done the same thing."
-Richard Milhous Nixon
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Derek Wassom




Location: Fribourg, Switzerland
Joined: 25 Feb 2004

Posts: 96

PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are a couple I got to handle in Switzerland Razz :


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Regards,
Derek Wassom
Luegisland Scholar
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Derek Wassom




Location: Fribourg, Switzerland
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are a few more beauties:


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Regards,
Derek Wassom
Luegisland Scholar
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Derek Wassom




Location: Fribourg, Switzerland
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Posts: 96

PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 2:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

more


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Regards,
Derek Wassom
Luegisland Scholar
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Derek Wassom




Location: Fribourg, Switzerland
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Posts: 96

PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

and more


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Regards,
Derek Wassom
Luegisland Scholar
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Derek Wassom




Location: Fribourg, Switzerland
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Posts: 96

PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

even more


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Derek Wassom
Luegisland Scholar
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Derek Wassom




Location: Fribourg, Switzerland
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Posts: 96

PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 3:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

and done!


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Derek Wassom
Luegisland Scholar
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Derek Wassom




Location: Fribourg, Switzerland
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 3:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I lied...a few more:


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Derek Wassom
Luegisland Scholar
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Derek Wassom




Location: Fribourg, Switzerland
Joined: 25 Feb 2004

Posts: 96

PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 3:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Now I'm done...for now.


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Regards,
Derek Wassom
Luegisland Scholar
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