The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Two-handed sword
  • Two-handed sword
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • c. 1580
  • Iron or steel, wood, canvas, copper alloy and leather
  • Length: 50 cm, grip
    Width: 49.8 cm, guard
    Length: 43 cm, ricasso
    Length: 149.3 cm, blade (to quillons)
    Width: 5.6 cm, blade
    Weight: 6.45 kg
  • Incised mark: Running-wolf In brass
    Incised mark: Half-orb and cross mark In brass
  • A469
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Two-handed sword, of unusually large proportions, having a spirally fluted, fig-shaped pommel; oval grip of wood bound with canvas and leather; straight guard spirally fluted or roped, and terminating in blunt knobs; double side rings (one within the other) on either side, of circular section, the outer twisted like a rope; ricasso of great length and thickness incised with lines, crescents, and small circles; strong side-lugs; the two-edged blade of flat section inlaid, on either side, with the running-wolf on one side and the half-orb and cross marks on the other in brass.

    Compare the marks on a two-hand sword at Bern (Wegeli, No. 181), and one at Dresden (Ehrenthal, p. 147). The mark of a half-orb and cross with the initials W.S. is on a two-hand sword dated 1588 in the German Historical Museum, Berlin, and probably denotes Wolfgang Stantler of Passau and Munich.

    The crudely outlined beast found on many blades is thought to represent the wolf of the ancient iron-working town of Passau in Eastern Bavaria, an important centre for the manufacture of blades from early times. At a later date this town mark was copied at Solingen in the Rhineland, not far from Düsseldorf, and elsewhere. How far it is possible to distinguish between the marks of Passau and Solingen is not clear. Schmid in Z.H.W.K., V, pp. 312-17, suggested that in general, the short coupled beasts, such as that on No. A469, probably represent Passau, while the elongated ones, such as that on No. A576, probably represent Solingen. See under No. A620 for the possibility that the wolf was copied outside Germany.