Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Sword

Date:
10th century
Culture:
European, probably Scandinavia
Medium:
Steel, copper, silver, niello
Dimensions:
L. 37 3/4 in. (95.91 cm); W. 4 5/16 in. (10.95 cm); L. of blade 31 7/8 in. (80.96 cm); greatest W. 2 in. (5.08 cm); L. of grip 3 5/8 in. (9.21 cm); W. 4 5/16 in. (10.95 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 4 oz. (1021 g)
Classification:
Swords
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1955
Accession Number:
55.46.1
Not on view
The richly decorated hilt and pattern-welded blade indicate that this sword was carried by a warrior of high rank, perhaps a Viking chieftain or a Frankish nobleman. The braided copper wires on the pommel may represent an earlier Scandinavian custom of tying a protective talisman to a sword hilt. The pattern-welded blade was forged of intertwined rods of steel and iron, a technique that produced a tough yet resilient blade with a distinctive swirling pattern on its surface. Such blades were treasured for both their practical and decorative qualities.
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