The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Cinquedea with scabbard
  • Cinquedea with scabbard
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1500
  • Steel, bronze, gold, ivory, horn, copper alloy, leather and possibly copper, etched and gilded
  • Length: 58.8 cm
    Length: 43.9 cm, blade
    Width: 8.9 cm, blade width at guard
    Width: 13.9 cm, guard
    Balance point: 5.9 cm, forward of the guard block
  • Inscription: 'NVNQVAM POTEST NON · I ESSE VIRTVTI LOCOS ·'
    Inscription: 'PRM'
    Maker's mark: Bladesmith's mark 15.5cm from hilt
    Inscription: 'Five points …equipollés to four ...' On shield in centre
  • A743
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Cinquedea and scabbard, the arch-shaped hilt shod with gilt bronze, decorated with profile busts, cornucopias, a small figure of a winged horse, and a stag in low relief. The grip (made in one with the pommel) is faced with plaques of ivory (possibly later replacements; C. Blair, personal communication, 1975) and inlaid with four circular ornaments in brass; on either side, inset at the sides between the ivory plaques, is a band of bronze, or copper, gilt and inscribed:

    NVNQVAM POTEST NON · / ESSE VIRTVTI LOCOS ·

    The curved guard of steel, flat, lightly etched with the figure of Pegasus, scrolls and scale ornament. The tapering blade, of flat diamond section, has three and two hollowed panels from base to point; it is finely etched and gilt, with scenes the subject of which is unknown. Above these is a decoration of scrolled foliage, winged horses and a winged putto. The principal composition is inscribed P R M; and there is a bladesmith's rake-like mark, on both sides, 15.5 cm from the hilt; it is the same as that upon A741, 747-8.

    Scabbard of black leather (cuir bouilli), the front tooled with interlaced
    strapwork in low relief on a granulated ground; in the centre a shield with the charges of a cross with its crossing voided of the field, or Checky of nine pieces. The back is delicately tooled with lines and engrailed ornament, and furnished with a pocket for a small knife and pricker; at the top it is pierced to form two loops for the thongs of a belt; about a half an inch of the point is missing, and it is now broken into two pieces.

    Italian, about 1500

    Provenance: Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    The inscription around the edges of the grip also occurs on a 'cinquedea' at Windsor Castle (1904 Cat., no. 30), the scabbard of which bears the arms of the Bentivoglio of Bologna, and on another in the Musée de l' Armée, Paris (no. J.777; Boccia & Coelho, 1975, fig. 200).