Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Sword

Date:
before 1419
Culture:
European
Medium:
Steel, wood
Dimensions:
L. 43 11/16 in. (111 cm); L. of blade 34 1/8 in. (86.7 cm); W. 12 3/8 in. (31.4 cm); Wt. 3 lb. 10 oz. (1644 g)
Classification:
Swords
Credit Line:
Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Bequest of Bashford Dean, 1928
Accession Number:
29.150.143
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 899
The Arabic inscription engraved on the blade of this sword indicates that it was part of the large group of European arms and armor once stored in the Mamluk arsenal in Alexandria, Egypt. Many of those pieces were taken as booty in the battles between Muslim and Christian armies in the Near East and Aegean regions; others were sent to the sultan as tribute, possibly by the king of Cyprus.

The inscription reads in translation: "Donation of al-Mālik al Mu`ayyad Abū al-Nasr Shaykh to the armory in the frontier city of Alexandria [in the] year 822 [A.D. 1419]."
Inscription: Engraved in Arabic at the top of the blade: "Donation of al-Mālik al Mu`ayyad Abū al-Nasr Shaykh to the armory in the frontier city of Alexandria [in the] year [A.H.] 822 [A.D. 1419]."

Marking: Stamped on one face: W; on the other face: a cross.
Los Angeles. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Loan Exhibition of Mediaeval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 15–March 18, 1953, no. 80.

San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "Loan Exhibition of Mediaeval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 18–June 7, 1953, no. 80.

Pittsburgh. Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute. "Loan Exhibition of Mediaeval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 1953–April 1954, no. 80.

Hagerstown, Md. Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. "Loan Exhibition of Mediaeval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 27–March 31, 1955, no. 80.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Stephen V. Grancsay, and Carl Otto von Kienbusch. The Bashford Dean Collection of Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Portland, Maine: Southworth Press for the Armor and Arms Club of New York City, 1933. no. 138, pl. LII.

Hoffmeyer, Ada Bruhn. "Middelalderens Tveæggede Sværd: En Undersøgelse af dets Udviklingshistorie, Kronologi og Nationalitet, dets Stilling i den Almindelige Vabenhistoriske Udvikling og dets Krigsmæssige Betydning." PhD diss., Tøjhusmuseet, 1954. p. 31, no. 88, pl. XXVIII a.

Aroldi, Aldo M. Armi e Armature Italiane Fino al XVIII Secolo. Milano: Bramante Editrice, 1961. fig. 208.

Nickel, Helmut. Ullstein-Waffenbuch: Eine Kulturhistorische Waffenkunde Mit Markenverzeichnis. Berlin: Ullstein, 1974. p. 167, ill.

Kalus, Ludvik. "Donations Pieuses d'Epées Médiévales a l'Arsenal d'Alexandrie." Revue des Etudes Islamiques 50 (1982). pp. 59–60, no. 59, ill.

Alexander, David G. "European Swords in the Collections of Istanbul." Waffen- Und Kostümkunde: Zeitschrift Der Gesellschaft Für Historische Waffen Und Kostümkunde 27 (1985). pp. 81–118, n. 35, appx. I.

Alexander, David G. "European Swords in the Collections of Istanbul: Part 2." Waffen- Und Kostümkunde: Zeitschrift Der Gesellschaft Für Historische Waffen Und Kostümkunde 29, no. 1 (1987). pp. 21–48.

Spiteri, Stephen C. The Palace Armoury: A Study of a Military Storehouse of the Knights of the Order of St. John. Valletta: Farsons Foundation, The Brewery, 1999. p. 29, ill.

Thomas, Clive. "A Distinctive Group of Swords from the Arsenal of Alexandria." The 20th Anniversary London Park Lane Arms Fair: [sunday, 16th February 2003, the Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London] (2003). p. 40, no. 14, fig. 17.

Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Melanie Holcomb. sntJerusalem, 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. p. 209, no. 105.



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