The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Sword with scabbard
  • Sword with scabbard
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • North Italy
  • late 15th century- 19th century (guard)
    possibly c. 1490- c. 1500 (pommel)
    possibly 19th century (blade)
    19th century (scabbard)
  • Steel, bronze, gold, horn, wood and velvet, gilded and etched
  • Length: 92.5 cm, blade
    Width: 3.2 cm
    Weight: 1.3 kg
  • Incised mark: crescent mark etched
    Inscription: 'MV…I VIV I A·A I S'
    Inscription: '· IVLIO…ER ·'
  • A709
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
History
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  • Curved sword and scabbard, the sword’s hilt composed of a heavy pommel of gilt bronze, cast and chased into the form of a saracen's head, bearded and turbaned; octagonal grip of dark, sage-green horn; short, straight guard of steel, square in section, widening at the ends; the hilt block is prolonged to an acute point over the blade, the surface is gilt and decorated with dolphins, scrolls and lions' heads. The slightly curved blade is single-edged and with a single groove and bears the mark of a crescent etched upon both faces; near the hilt are two panels, one on either side, representing Mucius Scaevola and Julius Caesar (?) enthroned as a judge, inscribed respectively:

    MV.../ VIV / A · A / S

    · IVLIO...ER ·

    Scabbard of wood bound with brown velvet and mounted with a locket, chape, and ferrule of gilt steel etched with mermaids, sea-horses, masks and scrolls on a hatched ground, the locket and chape furnished with rings.

    The guard North Italian, early-16th century; pommel possibly a little later; blade possibly 19th century; scabbard 19th century.

    Provenance: de Mèixmoron of Dijon; bought by Carrand for 550 fr. at the Philippe Vaillant de Meixmoron sale, Contet, Dijon, 27 April-7 May 1868, lot 84 (marked catalogue in the Metropolitan Museum, New York). Louis Carrand (Un cimeterre à longue lame gravée et dorée au talon, le pommeau à tête de Maure est en bronze doré et la fusée en corne; il est accompagné de son fourreau du temps, à bélières en fer gravé et doré sur fond de velours brun ou noir passé, 3000 fr.; Receipted Bill, 1 June, 1868); Comte de Nieuwerkerke.