The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Parrying dagger
  • Parrying dagger
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • mid 17th century
  • Steel, silver and iron, blackened and chiselled
  • Length: 38 cm
    Length: 25.4 cm, blade
    Width: 2.1 cm
    Weight: 0.27 kg
  • A821
  • European Armoury II
Commentary
Further Reading
  • Parrying dagger, the hilt made up of a pommel of chiselled steel in the form of a stylised black African head wearing a circlet of silver, and with silver piqué dots on a blackened ground; silver and iron wire-bound grip of oblong section; short, straight guard of chiselled steel, ending in heads like the pommel, the escutcheon chiselled with medallion heads on low relief.

    Blade of diamond section, strongly ridged, grooved and pierced, the ricasso flattened on one side for the thumb.

    Possibly Italian, mid-17th century.

    African heads are not an uncommon motif on European weapons. Compare the rapier A632. A similar dagger was once the possession of Dr. Hermann Williams of the Corcoran Gallery, Washington (current location unknown).

    A similar hilt on a light sword blade was in a Danish private collection in 1979 (Southwick, Antique edged weapons, 1982, pl. 131). A similar dagger is in the Harding Collection in the Art Institute of Chicago (no. 1547), and another in the Hermitage Museum, Leningrad (Z.O. No. 2776). For pommels of this type see Norman and Barne 1980, p. 276.