Apr 2, 2020
Apr 2, 2020

Left-Handed Dagger or "Main Gauche"

Left-Handed Dagger or "Main Gauche"

c. 1650

Steel, pierced and chiseled

Support: Pierced and chiseled

Overall: 57.2 cm (22 1/2 in.); Blade: 44.4 cm (17 1/2 in.); Quillions: 25.4 cm (10 in.)

Weight: 520 g (1.15 lbs.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.699


Did you know?

The main-gauche (French for "left hand") was used mainly to assist in defense by parrying enemy thrusts, while the dominant hand wielded a rapier.


For parrying, rapiers were often made with accompanying daggers as a matched set, although the rapier shown here (1916.1810) does not originally belong to this dagger. Daggers such as this one have been misleadingly called "left-handed daggers" even though they could be held in either hand. The guard is richly decorated with chiseled and pierced arabesques, an ornamental design consisting of intertwined flowing lines.

See also

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