Antique Arms & Militaria

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A Rare & Beautiful French, Napoleonic Wars Era Silver Mounted Sword a 'Sabre d'Officier Superieur  a Monture a L'Orientale, With French Napoleonic Blade Inscription, Circa 1801

A Rare & Beautiful French, Napoleonic Wars Era Silver Mounted Sword a 'Sabre d'Officier Superieur a Monture a L'Orientale, With French Napoleonic Blade Inscription, Circa 1801

A sword of the French Napoleonic era, a 'Sabre d'Officier Superieur a Monture a L'Orientale'. A delightful Napoleonic wars sword, from the early 19th century, with rare all silver mounts, designed from the work on swords from the Mamelukes, that fought against, and then latterly for, Napoleon at the Battle of The Nile in the late 1790’s.
When Napoleon returned from the his Egypt campaign the Ancient Egyptian style became all the rage in Paris, and indeed London. Influencing everything from furniture, to object d’art. And the Mameluke’s style of weaponry made a major influence of sword design for both England and France. So much so, the British General Officer’s Mameluke style sabre is still the current service use sword for generals today, modelled on the swords brought back to London by Nelson after his Egypt campaign. This sword and it distinctive hilt is a French version of Nimcha North African sword style. A style of sword that the Revolutionary French adopted for the official sword of a Representative of the People, from the Le Directoire Period, just before Napoleon's Coup of 18 Brumaire {in November 1799.} after his return from the Battle of The Nile in 1798.

The blade is inscribed Manufacture Nationale, Coulax, this date marking for Coulax was from 1801 to around 1806. It is difficult to interpret the latter part inscription, as it is now partly too worn. It is in the more straight form of an officer of the heavy cavalry rather than an officer the more usual curved light cavalry. Twin parallel fullered blade, with one very narrow, the other wide.

After Napoleon's Egypt Campaign, that ended in 1801, many Napoleonic officer's adopted the so-called oriental mounted swords captured from the Egyptian Marmalukes that eventually became part of Napoleons Imperial Garde. These swords, in their turn, were captured by the British and similarly adopted as a form of highly favoured officers sword. In fact the mamaluke sabre became the British General's pattern sword that is still in use today. Several of these specific swords were part of a Sotheby's Napoleonic Wars auction in Monaco in 1990, titled "Belles Armes Anciennes Casques et Objects Militaires". In 1803, the Mamluks were organized into a company attached to the Chasseurs a Cheval of the Imperial Guard.

Mamluks fought well at Battle of Austerlitz on December 2, 1805 and the regiment was granted a standard.
With the First Restoration, the company of the Mamluks of the Imperial Guard was incorporated into the Corps Royal des Chasseurs de France. The Mamluks of the Young Guard were incorporated in the 7th Chasseurs a Cheval. The Napoleonic period was an extremely complicated time. Moral right and wrong are hard to distinguish: Napoleon was a dictator, but not a particularly evil one. He encouraged many developments we today consider quite positive. The Napoleonic Wars were instigated by France, but each nation fought to protect and expand its own national interest. The wars were punctuated by constantly shifting alliances. Sometimes Prussia fought France, and sometimes it was neutral. Austria, led by the crafty Metternich, tried to improve relations with France towards the end the Napoleonic era. Russia initially opposed Napoleon, then sided with him, and then turned against him again. The only constant through the fifteen years of Napoleon's rule was the continued enmity between England and France. Napoleon was intensely jealous of our successful trade with all Europe and thus instigated a complete scheme to deny trade with Britain throughout Europe.ironically however the two most famous dictators of modern Europe, Napoleon and Hitler, are famously known to have met with the dramatic reversal of their fortunes entirely through invading Russia.

Yet, in both cases, the wealth, resources and stubborn determination of the British played a major role in their eventual downfall. Despite Britain's comparatively small population and territorial base, it alone among European countries was able to fight Napoleon nonstop {except for the short Peace of Amiens from 1802-1803,} Britain was at war with France from 1793-1815, while other states alternated between war, peace, and various alliances with France. As it was with Britain and its Commonwealth, being alone at war with Hitler for the entire war period of 1939 t0 1945. With America and Russia only joining the fight years later, once Hitler declared war on them first.

The sword overall has the usual signs of period age wear and contemporary close combat use, the blade is still partially covered in old storage grease that should remove nicely. Quillon finial lacking to one side.  read more

Code: 20165

2495.00 GBP

An Absolutely Stunning & Beautiful Carved Sea Ivory  Royal Hilted Keris From Palembang, Sumatra 18th Century, Meteorite Blade. A Near Pair To An Example In The Royal Collection Presented To King George IVth in 1817, When He Was The Prince Regent

An Absolutely Stunning & Beautiful Carved Sea Ivory Royal Hilted Keris From Palembang, Sumatra 18th Century, Meteorite Blade. A Near Pair To An Example In The Royal Collection Presented To King George IVth in 1817, When He Was The Prince Regent

Masterpiece 18th-19th c. Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
A Kris (keris) dagger with a hilt in very finely carved sea ivory. This is a wonderful example of a type embraced throughout Indonesia and Malaysia known for its distinct shape that blends sharp edges, planes sometimes covered with magnificent floral motifs and scrollwork as we see in this example and at the same time dramatic curves. This example also boasts some shiny sections that are characteristic of the type in Palembang, once the capital of the Srivijaya Empire, a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom that flourished from the 7th to the 12th century and stretched from Sumatra to the Kra Isthmus in southern Thailand.

Ivory handle depicts a stylised, squatting human figure known as Cipaduik with one arm folded across the chest, diamond-shaped eyes and a jutting nose that dominates the mouthless face. Cipaduik features in many Minangkabau stories as a man who likes to play tricks on people.

See in the gallery a near pair to ours in the British Royal Collection, presented in 1817 to the Prince Regent.
A traditional dagger (kris) and sheath; of the highest royal rank, the straight two-edged blade of watered steel with a gold ('Mendok') attaching it to the sea ivory hilt heavily carved in as a humanoid 'Jawa demam' figure; the gold 'ganja' at blade shoulder; with a gilt wood scabbard with a wooden upper end.
Provenance
Presented to George IV when Prince Regent by Stamford Raffles, 10 May 1817. Recorded in the North Corridor Inventory of Windsor Castle with the note 'A Malayan kris - the manufacture of Sumatra'. Raffles served as Lieutenant-Governor of Java from 1811-1816 and presented the Prince Regent with several kris on his return to England.  read more

Code: 24725

2495.00 GBP

Museum Grade French Ist Empire Napoleonic Imperial Guard Senior Officer’s, Finely Engraved ‘Blue And Gilt’ Sword. In Wonderful Condition & And Likely The Best We have Ever Seen Outside of The Les Invalides Musee de l’Armee, Paris of Mameluke of the Garde

Museum Grade French Ist Empire Napoleonic Imperial Guard Senior Officer’s, Finely Engraved ‘Blue And Gilt’ Sword. In Wonderful Condition & And Likely The Best We have Ever Seen Outside of The Les Invalides Musee de l’Armee, Paris of Mameluke of the Garde

One of the rarest and most beautiful styles of Napoleonic combat and dress sabres to be seen, in, or out of, Les Invalides Musee de l’Armee in Paris. The finest Napoleonic museum in the world.
A blue and gilt of luxuriant quality combat-dress sabre of a senior officer of the Mamelukes of the Imperial Guard, in its original scabbard. The hilt is in superb condition, with straight quillon, and has carved horn hilt grips, affixed with triple domed brass rivets, and inner finger rests, with a brass stylised bird's head pommel, with a circular rimmed aperture for a sword knot.

This sword is so fine that it is very likely the sword of the commanding officer of the Mameluke Garde, a sword made and signed by Charles Francois Alphand, a former captain of artillery and Director of the Maubeuge armoury, a contemporary of Boutet, Director of the Versailles armoury. Charles Francois Alphand, also used a smaller version of his same gold poincon of an intertwined AC, stamped upon the barrels of the pistols made for the Garde Du Corps. The absolute stunning deluxe blue and gilt double fullered blade, is engraved in the Napoleonic Marmaluke Sabre A L'Orientale form, with a Chinese mandarin wearing a traditional hat and drooping moustache, a hand to hand sword combat scene between a Mamaluke and a European officer, a sun, crescent moons and a constellation of stars, a row of three turbaned heads, palm trees and parasol, a pair of rutting stags, and at the forte a large poincon of an AC entwined, in gold, of the Director Charles Francois Alphand. Each side of the blade mirrors the engraving on the other side. Both sides have excellent blue and gilt with just commensurate light wear for age. The plain brass scabbard is in the same form as the plain brass scabbards made for the official rare daggers or the Mameluke Garde.

A picture in the gallery is of a portrait of Napoleon in Egypt with his identical mamaluke sabre.

Mamelukes of the Imperial Guard;
A squadron of Mamelukes (Escadron de Mamelukes) returned with Napoleon from the Egyptian Campaign in 1799. They were inducted into the Guard, and usually attached to the Chasseurs à Cheval. The squadron was never increased to a regiment in strength.

The Imperial Guard ( Garde Impériale) was a group of elite soldiers of the French Army under the direct command of Napoleon I, and grew considerably over time. It acted as his bodyguard and tactical reserve, and he was careful of its use in battle. The Guard was divided into the staff, infantry, cavalry, and artillery regiments, as well as battalions of sappers and marines. The guard itself as a whole distinguished between the experienced veterans and less experienced members by being separated into three sections: the Old Guard, Middle Guard and Young Guard. The Young Guard was virtually annihilated in the Battle of Krasnoi during the French invasion of Russia.

Throughout the Napoleonic era there was a special Mamluk corps in the French army. In his history of the 13th Chasseurs, Colonel Descaves recounts how Napoleon used the Mamluks during the French campaign in Egypt and Syria. In the so-called "Instructions" that Bonaparte gave to Jean Baptiste Kléber after departure, Napoleon wrote that he had already bought from Syrian merchants about 2,000 Mamluks with whom he intended to form a special detachment.
On 14 September 1799 Kléber established a mounted company of Mamluk auxiliaries and Syrian Janissaries from Turkish troops captured at the Siege of Acre. Menou reorganized the company on 7 July 1800, forming 3 companies of 100 men each and renaming it the "Mamluks de la République".
In 1801 General Jean Rapp was sent to Marseille to organize a squadron of 250 Mamluks. On 7 January 1802 the previous order was canceled and the squadron reduced to 150 men. The list of effectives on 21 April 1802 reveals 3 officers and 155 other ranks. By decree of 25 December 1804 the Mamluks were organized into a company attached to the Mounted Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard. The officers were Frenchmen, the troopers were a mixture of Syrians, Greeks, Circassians, Crimeans, Armenians, Egyptians, Georgians, Arabs and Turks. Individuals came from Albania, Hungary, Malta and Tunisia. Every Mameluk was armed with two brace of pistols, a very curved saber, dagger, mace and eventually a battle-ax. During the remainder of their service the Mamlukes were issued at various dates with carbines, a form of blunderbuss and a musket. These firearms were manufactured by the Manufacturie de Versaillies.
In 1804 the company of Mamelukes had: 9 officers (6 of whom were Arabs), 10 NCOs (6 of whom were Arabs), 10 brigadiers (8 of whom were Arabs), 2 trumpeters and 92 privates.
Mamluks fought well at the Battle of Austerlitz on 2 December 1805, and the regiment was granted a standard and its roster increased to accommodate a standard-bearer and a trumpet. A decree of 15 April 1806 defined the strength of the squadron as 13 officers and 147 privates.

Pictures in the gallery;
Mamelukes of the Imperial Guard
on parade for Napoleon and his
General Staff outside of Les Invalides
in Paris. By Felicien Baron de Myrbach Rheinfeld

Painting by 19th century artist Jean-Léon Gérôme, 'Napoleon in Egypt',

It was originally owned and sold by us some years ago to a Napoleonic collector who has spent the past two years researching its history in Paris.

The original scabbard has twin ring mounts, and is very good, for its age, just commensurate wear and small surface denting  read more

Code: 25197

SOLD

A Superb Ancient Greek Dagger Blade 13th to 11th Century B.C. From the Trojan War Era, Acquired With. Full Length Bronze Sword Blade From The Same Era

A Superb Ancient Greek Dagger Blade 13th to 11th Century B.C. From the Trojan War Era, Acquired With. Full Length Bronze Sword Blade From The Same Era

2nd millennium BC. A bronze dagger with tapering triangular blade and median thickening, curved shoulders, flat, sub-rectangular tang with two tang hilt mount piercings. In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans (Greeks) after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta. The war is one of the most important events in Greek mythology and has been narrated through many works of Greek literature, most notably Homer's Iliad. The core of the Iliad (Books II – XXIII) describes a period of four days and two nights in the tenth year of the decade-long siege of Troy; the Odyssey describes the journey home of Odysseus, one of the war's heroes. Other parts of the war are described in a cycle of epic poems, which have survived through fragments. Episodes from the war provided material for Greek tragedy and other works of Greek literature, and for Roman poets including Virgil and Ovid.

The ancient Greeks believed that Troy was located near the Dardanelles and that the Trojan War was a historical event of the 13th or 12th century BC, but by the mid-19th century AD, both the war and the city were widely seen as non-historical. In 1868, however, the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann met Frank Calvert, who convinced Schliemann that Troy was a real city at what is now Hisarlik in Turkey. On the basis of excavations conducted by Schliemann and others, this claim is now accepted by most scholars.

Whether there is any historical reality behind the Trojan War remains an open question. Many scholars believe that there is a historical core to the tale, though this may simply mean that the Homeric stories are a fusion of various tales of sieges and expeditions by Mycenaean Greeks during the Bronze Age. Those who believe that the stories of the Trojan War are derived from a specific historical conflict usually date it to the 12th or 11th century BC, often preferring the dates given by Eratosthenes, 1194–1184 BC, which roughly correspond to archaeological evidence of a catastrophic burning of Troy VII, and the Late Bronze Age collapse. Legend has it that the war originated from a quarrel between the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, after Eris, the goddess of strife and discord, gave them a golden apple, sometimes known as the Apple of Discord, marked "for the fairest". Zeus sent the goddesses to Paris of Troy, who judged that Aphrodite, as the "fairest", should receive the apple. In exchange, Aphrodite made Helen, the most beautiful of all women and wife of Menelaus of Sparta, fall in love with Paris, who quit Sparta with her and returned to Troy. Menelaus's brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, led an expedition of Achaean troops to Troy and besieged the city for ten years because of Paris' insult. After the deaths of many heroes, including the Achaeans Achilles and Ajax, and the Trojans Hector and Paris, the city fell to the ruse of the Trojan Horse. The Achaeans slaughtered the Trojans (except for some of the women and children whom they kept or sold as slaves) and desecrated the temples, thus earning the gods' wrath. Few of the Achaeans returned safely to their homes and many founded colonies in distant shores. The Romans later traced their origin to Aeneas, Aphrodite's son and one of the Trojans, who was said to have led the surviving Trojans to modern-day Italy113 grams, 26cm (10 1/4"). From a Japanese collection, 1990s.  read more

Code: 23417

995.00 GBP

A Yemeni Jambiya A Stunning WW1 Yemeni 'Lawrence of Arabia's' Favoured Pattern of Jambiya

A Yemeni Jambiya A Stunning WW1 Yemeni 'Lawrence of Arabia's' Favoured Pattern of Jambiya

Just returned from over 30 hours of specialist hand conservation to clean and conserve the whole dagger, and a remarkable result has been achieved, but it was simply a labour of love, as it's stored condition was most sad indeed. Likely this intriguing piece was acquired from a souk in Arabia sometime after the war.
Very similar to Lawrence of Arabia's jambiya when he was serving in WW1 in the Turkish Campaign in Arabia. The word jambiya actually means “something worn at one’s right side” (from the triliteral root j-n-b). Lawrence of Arabia had several very similar ones presented to him, they were his favourite dagger, and he was frequently photographed wearing them. One picture is a portrait of Lawrence with his Jambiya, most similar to this example. photo for historical context information only and not included It is made from silver metal, but usually, more often than not, coin silver, certainly not English hallmarked silver. The jambia, a curved Islamic dagger, is the main customary accessory to the clothing worn by Arabian men. For centuries the people of South Arabia have inherited the their jambiahs from generation to generation. There are several theories about the origin of the Jambia. There are historical facts, concerning the existence of the Jambia revealing that it used to be worn at Sheban times, in the Himiarite kingdom. They take the statue of the Sheban king (Madi Karb 500 bc ) as proof. This statue, which was discovered by an American mission in Marib in the 1950s, was found to be wearing a Jambia.

Reference; a Lanes Armoury *Special Conservation* Item, restored and conserved in our workshop, see info page for details on our conservation principles.  read more

Code: 24682

895.00 GBP

Seeking A Dagger Designed For a King? Then Look No Further. 16th Century Style Holbein Swiss Dagger, a Fabulous Masterpiece, With a Superbly Pierced Scabbard Depicting a Scene of  Landsnicht Knights. Designed By Hans Holbein For King Henry VIIIth

Seeking A Dagger Designed For a King? Then Look No Further. 16th Century Style Holbein Swiss Dagger, a Fabulous Masterpiece, With a Superbly Pierced Scabbard Depicting a Scene of Landsnicht Knights. Designed By Hans Holbein For King Henry VIIIth

Wonderful 16th century pattern dagger, designed by Hans Holbein one of the greatest Old Master artists in the reign of King Henry VIII, with brass fully three dimensionally piecerd scabbard displaying scenes of Landsnecht knights mounted on horseback. This is not only a wondrous and extravagant dagger, it is a fine example object d'art. The dagger that gained its name from its design, and patterns of dagger, by Hans Holbein, one of the worlds greatest portrait artists of the 16th century, whose most famous owner of a Holbein pattern dagger was King Henry VIIIth, as can be seen in his portrait [see the gallery]. Holbein travelled to England in 1526 in search of work, with a recommendation from the renown Erasmus. He was welcomed into the humanist circle of Thomas More, where he quickly built a high reputation. He returned to Basel for four years, then resumed his career in England in 1532 under the patronage of Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell. By 1535, he was King's Painter to Henry VIII of England. In this role, he produced portraits and festive decorations, as well as designs for jewellery, plate, and other precious objects, including daggers. His portraits of the royal family and nobles are a record of the court in the years when Henry was asserting his supremacy over the Church of England.

Holbein's art was highly prized from early on in his career. French poet and reformer Nicholas Bourbon (the elder) dubbed him "the Apelles of our time," a typical highest accolade at the time. Holbein has also been described as a great "one-off" of art history, since he founded no school. Some of his work was lost after his death, but much was collected, and he was recognised among the great portrait masters by the 19th century. Recent exhibitions have also highlighted his versatility. He created designs ranging from intricate jewellery to monumental frescoes.

Holbein's art has sometimes been called realist, since he drew and painted with a rare precision. His portraits were renowned in their time for their likeness, and it is through his eyes that many famous figures of his day are pictured today, such as Erasmus and More. He was never content with outward appearance, however; he embedded layers of symbolism, allusion, and paradox in his art, to the lasting fascination of scholars. In the view of art historian Ellis Waterhouse, his portraiture "remains unsurpassed for sureness and economy of statement, penetration into character, and a combined richness and purity of style"

Double edged blade. This is a fabulous 19th-century representation of Holbein’s 16th century dagger, One of Holbien’s versions had a most similar pierced and chiselled decorative scabbard displaying scenes from the dance of death. In July 2000 Christie’s Auctioneers sold another 19th century representation of this Holbein dagger, it sold for £3,760, 21 years ago. The most famous example of a Holbein pattern dagger is depicted being worn by King Henry VIIIth in his portrait by Hans Holbein, we show this portrait in a gallery with Henry and his version of his personal most similar and beautiful Holbein Dagger. This Renaissance style dagger is based on original drawings from the work-books of Holbein the Younger, from whence the dagger gets its name. This is an accurate design that a nobleman of very high status could have chosen in around 1536, out of Holbein's work-books, and to have a personal dagger commissioned by a dagger maker.

See a plain wooden hilted version of Holbein’s original dagger in photo 8 in the gallery in the Wallace Collection in London.
This is a formidable dagger of impressive proportions and most substantial weight.
.  read more

Code: 23326

1850.00 GBP

A Beautiful Noble's Early Antique Sinhalese Ceylonese Piha Kaetta Knife Dagger

A Beautiful Noble's Early Antique Sinhalese Ceylonese Piha Kaetta Knife Dagger

A most engaging ornate pihas and likely made exclusively by the Pattal Hattara (The Four Workshops). They were employed directly by the Kings of Kandy. Kandy, the independent kingdom, was first established by King Wickramabahu (1357-1374 AD). The last Kandyan king was in the early 1800's, and the workshops are no longer in existence today.The simplest are of plain steel, but very graceful form, with wooden or horn handles, and carried in the belt, to lop off inconvenient branches as one passes through the jungle, or, to open coconuts, or cut jungle ropes. From these knives there are all transitions to the finest versions of nobles and princes, the most elaborate and costly of silver or gold inlaid and overlaid knives worn by the greatest chiefs as a part of their formal dress, and possibly never intended for regular use. The workmanship of many of these is most exquisite but this fine work is done rather by the higher craftsmen, the silversmiths and ivory carvers, than by the mere blacksmith. Many of the best knives were doubtless made in the Four Workshops, such as is this example, the blades being supplied to the silversmith by the blacksmiths.
"The best of the higher craftsmen (gold and silversmiths, painters, and ivory carvers, etc.) working immediately for the king formed a close, largely hereditary, corporation of craftsmen called the Pattal-hatara (Four Workshops). They were named as follows; The Ran Kadu [Golden Arms], the Abarana [Regalia], the Sinhasana [Lion Throne], and the Otunu [Crown] these men worked only for the King, unless by his express permission (though, of course, their sons or pupils might do otherwise); they were liable to be continually engaged in Kandy, while the Kottal-badda men were divided into relays, serving by turns in Kandy for periods of two months. The Kottal-badda men in each district were under a foreman (mul-acariya) belonging to the Pattal-hatara. Four other foremen, one from each pattala, were in constant attendance at the palace.This beautiful noble's dagger is stunningly decorated with veka deka liya vela [double curve vine motif] and the flower motif sina mal, and a bold vine in damascene silver. The blade is traditonal iron and the hilt beautifully carved black coral  read more

Code: 14577

695.00 GBP

A Stunning Antique 18th Century Indonesian Silver Mounted Kris

A Stunning Antique 18th Century Indonesian Silver Mounted Kris

Keris Melayu Semenanjong with a serpentine blade with 7 Luk [seven curves or waves]. A very good and rare example of a keris from the southern Malaysian peninsular region of Johor or Selangor. Handle in the jawa demam form. This form of hilt is common in central or southern Sumatra, as well as the Malay peninsular regions. The Minang variant is usually more upright with a more flaring top.
The top sheath in the typical Malay tebeng form, are made from very well selected kemuning woods with flashing grains. Bottom stem is likely made from well selected angsana woods with tiger?s stripe grains. It has a beautifully tooled silver sheath and a plain silver pendoko or ferrule completes the wonderful fittings.
Pamor patterns are arranged in the mlumah technique of the wos utah or scattered rice variations which is said to enhance the owner?s material well being. Traditionally the pamor material for the kris smiths connected with the courts of Yogyakarta and Surakarta originates from an iron meteorite that fell to earth at the end of 18th century in the neighborhood of the Prambanan temple complex. The meteorite was excavated and transported to the keraton of Surakarta; from that time on the smiths of Vorstenlanden (the Royal territories) used small pieces of meteoric iron to produce pamor patterns in their kris, pikes, and other status weapons. After etching the blade with acidic substances, it is the small percentage of nickel present in meteoric iron that creates the distinctive silvery patterns that faintly light up against the dark background of iron or steel that become darkened by the effect of the acids.  read more

Code: 22608

495.00 GBP

A Fabulous Javanese Kris With Pure Gold Snake God Symbol Onlaid on to The Fabulous Pamor Serpentine Blade

A Fabulous Javanese Kris With Pure Gold Snake God Symbol Onlaid on to The Fabulous Pamor Serpentine Blade

Probably 19th to early 20th century. In an esteemed London auction house, a most similar quality gold inlaid example, of the same age, sold three Decembers ago for just over £5,400 [inc commission]. This is simply one of the most beautiful we have seen on the market in over 20 years. A sarpa lumarka wavy blade with a gold naga [snake] in sangkelat [13 waves, or lok]. Ladrang form of wrangka hilt crosspiece [boat form] of a simply stunningly grained wood, which may well be Javan pelet, with a fine gilt metal sleeve covering the haft, with a most intricate and detailed pieced design on the obverse side. In Java, the metal sleeve is called pendokbunton, which is a full metal sleeve. The keris is considered a magical weapon, filled with great spiritual power. In Javanese there is a term "Tosan Aji" or "Magic Metal" used to describe the keris. The keris is replete with the totems of Malay-Indonesian culture of hindu and islam. The blade is a mixture of meteoric steel and nickel According to traditional Javanese kejawen, kris contain all the intrinsic elements of nature: tirta (water), bayu (wind), agni (fire), bantolo (earth, but also interpreted as metal or wood which both come from the earth), and aku (lit: "I" or "me", meaning that the kris has a spirit or soul). All these elements are present during the forging of kris. Earth is metal forged by fire being blown by pumped wind, and water to cool down the metal. In Bali, the kris is associated with the naga or dragon, which also symbolizes irrigation canals, rivers, springs, wells, spouts, waterfalls and rainbows; thus, the wavy blade symbolizes the movement of the serpent. Some kris have a naga or serpent head carved near the base with the body and tail following the curves of the blade to the tip. A wavy kris is thus a naga in motion, aggressive and alive; a straight blade is one at rest, its power dormant but ready to come into action.

In former times, kris blades were said to be infused with poison during their forging, ensuring that any injury was fatal. The process of doing so was kept secret among smiths. Different types of whetstones, acidic juice of citrus fruits and poisonous arsenic bring out the contrast between the dark black iron and the light coloured silvery nickel layers which together form pamor, damascene patterns on the blade. The distinctive pamor patterns have specific meanings and names which indicate the special magical properties they are believed to impart  read more

Code: 22745

3750.00 GBP

A Most Fine Knightly Polish War-Hammer Nadziak or Obuch, 1500's A.D. Inlaid with Silver Cross Hatching. Certainly one of the Most Beautiful & Well Preserved We Have Ever Seen.

A Most Fine Knightly Polish War-Hammer Nadziak or Obuch, 1500's A.D. Inlaid with Silver Cross Hatching. Certainly one of the Most Beautiful & Well Preserved We Have Ever Seen.

A fine early original war-hammer composed of an ovoid haft socket, a fierce downturned ‘tiger’s claw’ spike, and a square section hammer head, all inlaid with a stunning and intricate silver geometric design. Overall in superb condition for its great age.

We show it in the gallery with the form of haft it would have had, and indeed could do once more, but this one shown is for information only and not present or included

The name obuch is Polish and means 'the blind end of an axe', but already at the beginning of the 15th century it meant a unspecified war hammer. According to Polish sources of 17th century, the war-hammer could have been formed into the shape of an axe (czekan), or in the form of a thick, slightly sloping spike (nadziak), or curved like a round cracknel (obuch). A 17th century description states: 'It was a terrible instrument in the hand of a Pole...With the sabre one could cut off somebody’s hand, cut the face, injure the head, and the running blood of the adversary would calm down the rancour. But with the obuch one could cause a deadly wound without even seeing the blood, and – not seeing it – he would not calm down instantly, but would strike several times without cutting the skin, breaking ribs and bones at the same time.'

There is a stunning original drawing of a very similar example [we show a copy of it in the gallery] with a full description and how it was used in the attempted assassination of the king of Poland by Michal Piekarski in 1620.

The translation of the drawings text reads

:” a sledge hammer, a war hammer design called a 'Crane' with which Russian nobleman Michele [Michal] Piekarski, aged 40, wounded the King of Poland called Sigismund of Lithuania in the back with one blow of the hammer point and another of the hammer shaft (having used the metal for the first blow). This happened on Sunday the 15th of November 1620 at 9 ½ hours in Warsaw while his Majesty was in church studying the learnings of the Dominican Fathers. In June of that year [The King/the Hammer] cut to pieces .?. Polish people with the death of their earthly life.”

The drawing is perhaps the work of a political sympathiser in opposition to the Swedish annexation of Poland under Sigismund III Vasa as part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

By the end of the 16th century, the hussars had adopted enough armor to become a new, more agile heavy cavalry, using their trademark 18-foot light-long lance as their initial shock weapon. They sported breastplate, a mail shirt, forearm guards, thigh armor (cuirass), and an open-faced burgonet-like helmet called a zischaage. Total weight of a hussar’s armor was no more than 30 pounds. An animal-skin mantle, particularly leopard, was a showy form of identity and esprit de corps. Perhaps the most notable element of the latter array was the famous “wings” the hussars would sometimes wear—eagle wings attached to arching frames and a special support on their back armor or saddle. The rush of these wings during a charge was psychologically unnerving, and the extra height they gave riders was intimidating.

The war hammer was the hussars’ most common secondary weapon. Slung from the saddlebow, the early Polish hussar war hammer was of German and Italian design, with a long shaft. Two styles had names derived from Turkish. The czekan was a combination of hammerhead on one side and an ax on the other. The nadziak, perhaps the most popular war hammer, had a hexagonal head balanced by a long, slightly drooping beak.

By 1600, Polish hussars had bested all other cavalries thrown against them. Each hussar unit charged in three or four ranks, depending on terrain, with the rear rank ready to deal with flank attacks. Hussars initially attacked in open order for ease of movement and maneuvering, but nearing impact with the enemy, they would squeeze together knee to knee, moving at full gallop. This difficult maneuver not only gave them powerful crushing strength, but also minimized losses from enemy firepower.

In comparison to the heavy cavalry of the West, which depended more on sheer weight than speed, the hussars could move quickly from standing to maximum speed. The deadly lance was practical only for the first few ranks, with the rest ready with their secondary weapon of preference, the war hammer, second only to the much-revered sabre.

The haft that fitted the socket would often have been turned or carved wood, but it simply doesn't usually survive around 500 years. However a good cabinet maker or a wood turner could easily create a replacement for a fine display.

Approx 19cm long overall.

As with all our items it comes complete with our certificate of authenticity
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Code: 24624

2950.00 GBP