The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of February 23, 2024

Executioner's Sword

Executioner's Sword

blade dated 1634
Overall: 98.1 cm (38 5/8 in.); Blade: 75.3 cm (29 5/8 in.); Quillions: 15.5 cm (6 1/8 in.); Grip: 22.5 cm (8 7/8 in.)
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

The blades of executioner's swords were often decorated with moralistic inscriptions.

Description

An executioner's sword is specifically designed and balanced for decapitation, not combat. It usually features short quillons or cross guards, as the hands did not need added protection, and a blunt end. In wide use during the 1600s, by the 1700s they were largely out of use except for ceremonial purposes.
  • -1916
    Frank Gair Macomber (1849-1941), Boston, MA, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art
    1916-
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Catalogue of Arms and Armour. Vol. 4, 17th to 19th century and a few pieces of iron work. [Boston, Massachusetts]: [Frank Gair Macomber], [1900-1915]. Mentioned and Reproduced: No. (207) 226 archive.org
    Gilchrist, Helen Ives. A Catalogue of the Collection of Arms & Armor Presented to the Cleveland Museum of Art by Mr. and Mrs. John Long Severance; 1916-1923. Cleveland: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1924. Mentioned: pp. 115-116, E67 archive.org
    Fliegel, Stephen N. Arms and Armor: The Cleveland Museum of Art. [Cleveland, Ohio]: The Museum, 1998. cat. no. 164, p. 170
    Fliegel, Stephen N. Arms & Armor: The Cleveland Museum of Art. [Cleveland, Ohio]: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2007. cat. no. 141, p. 189
  • European Arms and Armor from the Cleveland Museum of Art (Long-term Loan). Birmingham Museum of Art (organizer) (July 1, 1993-July 1, 1995).
    Armor Court Reinstallation. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer).
  • {{cite web|title=Executioner's Sword|url=false|author=|year=blade dated 1634|access-date=23 February 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

Source URL:

https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1616