Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Rapier of Prince-Elector Christian II of Saxony (1583–1611)

Sword cutler:
Hilt by Israel Schuech (German, Dresden, active ca. 1590–1610)
Blade by Juan Martinez (Spanish, Toledo, active ca. 1600)
dated 1606
Dresden; Toledo
hilt, German, Dresden; blade, Spanish, Toledo
Steel, bronze, gold, enamel, paste jewels, cameos, pearls, wood
L. 48 in. (121.92 cm); W. 6 3/4 in. (17.2 cm); L. of blade 41 1/4 in. (104.78 cm); W. of blade 7/8 in. (2.2 cm); Wt. 3 lb. 4 oz. (1474 g)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1970
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 376
This hilt is the only recorded work of the Dresden sword cutler Israel Schuech. It is one of the best examples of a rapier hilt made with the same materials, techniques, and quality as the fine sculpture, jewelry, and goldsmiths' work for which the Saxon Court was famous.
Signature: Signed on the hilt: ISRAEL SCHVECH M[achts or esserschmied?] 1606; on the reverse of the blade: IVAN MARTINEZ EN TOLEDO (Juan Martinez in Toledo); on the ricasso: ESPADERO DEL REY (swordsmith of the King).

Inscription: Inscribed on the obverse of the blade: IN TE DOMINE SPERAVI NON (from Psalm 70: In Thee, O Lord, have I put my trust...).

Marking: On the ricasso, the following Toledo marks: a crowned T repeated six times; a half moon repeated four times (and twice again at the end of blade grooves); a crowned fleur-de-lis repeated four times.
Christian II, Prince-Elector of Saxony (1606–d. 1611); by descent to the Prince-Electors, then Kings of Saxony (1611–1918); nationalized to the Historisches Museum, Dresden (1832–1970; inv. E.579; Highly important arms from the Dresden royal collection sale, Sotheby's, London, March 23, 1970, no. 34, sold to MMA).
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