The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Rapier
  • Rapier
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Hilt- Italy; blade- Spain, Toledo or Germany
  • c. 1610
  • Iron or steel and silver, blackened ground
  • Length: 121.5 cm
    Width: 2.6 cm
    Weight: 1.55 kg
  • Incised mark: 'OANOANOANO'
    Incised mark: 'NAONAONAO'
    Stamp: Marks of Toledo and half-moon
  • A557
  • European Armoury II
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Rapier, the swept hilt made up of an oviform pommel with a flat button grip; grip bound with alternating black iron and silver wire, with 'Turk's heads' at either end; straight crossguard of flat oval section; hilt-arms, side-ring and two guards, the largest connected by a swept loop to the knuckle-guard; three plain curved bars at the back, decorated with silver studs, also join the hilt-arms to the knuckle-guard; apart from this, the whole hilt is decorate with masks and scrolls of conventional foliage encrusted in silver on a hexagonal ground. The long, double-edged blade is of hexagonal section, the single groove at the forte incised with the letters:

    OANOANOANO

    on the one side and:–

    OANOANOANO

    on the other. The ricasso is stamped on each side with the marks of a Toledo and the half-moon of an Espadero del Rey, but probably in imitation only.
    Illustrated by A. Vollon in his Curiosités of 1868 (Savill, 1980). Norman and Barne, 1980, p. 133.

    A series of letters is often found on Italian sword-blades and their significance is unknown.

    It has not yet proved possible to isolate the centres of manufacture of this style of encrusting in silver on a cod's-roe matted ground (see Norman and Barne, 1980, pp. 360-1). It seems to have had a wide popularity, particularly in the first twenty years of the 17th century, and was probably made in many different places.