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Dan Kary





Joined: 12 Dec 2017

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Wed 31 Jul, 2019 11:30 am    Post subject: Germanic sword grips of the 15th century         Reply with quote

Hi everybody,

I have some questions about Germanic sword grips of the 15th century and I'm hoping that somebody (or, better somebodies) has some information. In particular, I'm interested in bastard swords/longswords/hand and a half swords.

My first question is about what the grips were covered in? I have seen a lot of smooth leather in reproductions, as well as some with wire (or half wire) wrapped, as well as some with leather that was glued on using chord to produce a ribbed look. I'm wondering about the accuracy of any/all of these.

My next question regards colors. I've seen some threads on here regarding different sword grip colors but not specific to the niche I am currently researching. I've got some history books that have modern illustrations that show browns, reds, greens, blacks, blues...not really many whites, yellows, greys, oranges, pinks and purples though (these lighter colors strike me as impractical anyways since they would probably not last in this color after a while). In looking at other threads, it seems that browns where the overwhelming favorite - probably due to cost and availability of dyes, I imagine.

I imagine that there is also going to be variation here between the class of swords. I'd wager fancier swords owned by noblemen probably had greater ornamentation/better materials as well as a wider range of color. I'm not sure though. Maybe noblemen and peasants alike used brown?

Thank you very much.
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Dan Kary





Joined: 12 Dec 2017

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 10:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since it has been a week with no posts, I just want to make one last plea before giving up: does anybody have any insights on this at all? Thanks!
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Thu 08 Aug, 2019 12:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of Ewart Oakeshott's books (Sword in the Age of Chivalry?) has a typology of sword grips. Harry Marinakis has a thread on this forum showing all the different colours you can dye leather with medieval recipes.

Edit: Here is the link to Harry's thread on Leather Scabbard Colours.

www.bookandsword.com
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Dan Kary





Joined: 12 Dec 2017

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Thu 08 Aug, 2019 10:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Sean!

I had a look at you are right about Sword in the Age of Chivalry. Chapter five covers "grips and scabbards".

Harry's thread is pretty cool. I don't know if one can conclude much about what sword grip colors were used, but certainly it is neat to see what was possible.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Aug, 2019 11:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan and anyone else,
Page 4 of our feature article on Ewart Oakeshott goes into grips. It's not a subject that has been studied much in a formal way, especially since grips were a consumable item. The best I can suggest is to look at surviving examples in books, museums, and museum websites. While general Google image searches may help, you might not be able to easily find whether the grip has been replaced unless you go to a reputable source.

Cloth was used in addition to leather, though, according to Oakeshott. Wire wraps, too, though generally in slightly later time periods.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Dan Kary





Joined: 12 Dec 2017

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Thu 08 Aug, 2019 9:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips, Chad.

I'm wondering if the way to go is period pictures of grips, given that examples are likely not to survive. Any tips on picture banks were I could find 15th century Germanic sword grip pictures? I have some books but for the most part the illustrations are modern.
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Fri 09 Aug, 2019 12:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Kary wrote:
Thanks for the tips, Chad.

I'm wondering if the way to go is period pictures of grips, given that examples are likely not to survive. Any tips on picture banks were I could find 15th century Germanic sword grip pictures? I have some books but for the most part the illustrations are modern.


You could try
http://effigiesandbrasses.com/

Decent search function (I tried Germany/Austria 1400-1450) but note it only goes up to 1450. On the same page, note tab for Armour in Art. Try the same search parameters in there.

Anthony Clipsom
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Aug, 2019 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan,
You can try here: https://realonline.imareal.sbg.ac.at/en/suche/ . You can narrow by time period and country, but you have to use German search terms like "schwert" for "sword." There are other databases out there, too. Effigies and brasses is great, but try their sister site http://manuscriptminiatures.com/ for other art images. Again, it stops at 1450.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Dan Kary





Joined: 12 Dec 2017

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Fri 09 Aug, 2019 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great! Thanks guys, I look forward to browsing these.
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Dan Kary





Joined: 12 Dec 2017

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Fri 09 Aug, 2019 7:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have gone through one of the banks so far, and I thought I'd update in case any other people were wondering.

If the period representations are taken to be representative, it looks like a lot of leather that was done with the ribbed effect (or perhaps chord wrapped but none so far half and half) or flat (which could be anything really - including just plain wood). I'd say it was mostly browns and black but red is heavily favored as well. A few greens (which apparently was a hard color to get right according the dyes thread noted earlier in this thread). Not much else in terms of color variety.
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