Small Sword

Small Sword

c.1770-1780

Steel; chiseled relief decoration; blade engraved; wire grip

Overall: 97 cm (38 3/16 in.); Blade: 79.2 cm (31 3/16 in.); Grip: 13.8 cm (5 7/16 in.); Guard: 7.6 cm (3 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.1484

Description

During the 1700s, the small-sword emerged as a light, quick weapon. Like the rapier it was carried by unarmored civilians, the noblemen of the upper classes. Over time this delicate sword became more an accessory of male attire than a weapon essential to life and death. The sword hilt, which shows even when the blade is sheathed, became the ground for elaborate decoration. These small-swords thus represent the final stage in the evolution of the sword, from the edged weapons of antiquity to the elegantly refined blades of the 1700s and 1800s.

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