The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Parrying dagger
  • Parrying dagger
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1620
  • Iron or steel
  • Length: 50.2 cm
    Length: 36.8 cm, blade
    Width: 6.6 cm, widest point
    Weight: 1.24 kg
    Width: 15.5 cm, guard
  • A867
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Parrying dagger, designed to ensnare the opponent’s sword. The hilt is made up of a spherical, faceted pommel and button of octagonal section; wire-bound grip; guard curved alternately upwards and downwards, of octagonal section swelling slightly at the ends; single side-ring.

    The broad, straight blade has one cutting edge, with the reverse side cut into fourteen deep teeth, the edges bevelled and each fitted with a spring-catch opening inwards (these permitted the entry, but not the withdrawal of a sword blade). The teeth have been separately wrought and are dove-tailed and brazed into the blade. See also A868.

    Probably North Italian, about 1620.

    Skelton II, pl. C, figs. 6-7.

    Provenance: Sir. S. R. Meyrick; Frédérick Spitzer.

    Exhibited: Manchester Art Treasures, 1857 (Planché, 1857, p. 16); South Kensington, 1869, no. 315.

    A very similar weapon, apparently by the same hand, is in the Bargello, Florence (no. M257), whither it came from the Medicean armoury. See Boccia and Coelho, 1975, figs. 525 and 526, where they are dated about 1620. A third example is in the old Electoral Armoury at Dresden (1899 cat., no. G149; Schöbel, 1975, pl. 87b).