Steel, wood, steel wire, copper, chiseled shell guard; blade: blued, gilded, pierced and engraved
Overall: 104.5 cm (41 1/8 in.); Blade: 86 cm (33 7/8 in.); Guard: 7.6 cm (3 in.)
Weight: 600 g (1.32 lbs.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.1099
This small sword has a veritable panoply of animal imagery. Men ride horses across the crossguard, the horizontal element closest to the blade, and around the pommel, the globular tip of the handle. Mythical animals feature prominently on the guard, the semi-circular piece that covered the knuckles.
During the 1700s, the small-sword emerged as a light, quick weapon. Like the rapier it was carried by unarmored civilians, the noblemen of the upper classes. Over time this delicate sword became more an accessory of male attire than a weapon essential to life and death. The sword hilt, which shows even when the blade is sheathed, became the ground for elaborate decoration. These small-swords thus represent the final stage in the evolution of the sword, from the edged weapons of antiquity to the elegantly refined blades of the 1700s and 1800s.
The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.