Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Hand and a Half Sword

15th century
Steel, leather, wood
L. 48 3/8 in. (122.9 cm); L. of blade, 36 7/8 in. (93.7 cm); Wt. 3 lb. 9 oz. (1618 g)
Credit Line:
Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Accession Number:
Not on view
The name of this type of sword refers to the length of its hilt, which allows it to be wielded with one hand or two. Before being acquired by William H. Riggs, this sword was in the collection of Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick (1783–1848), founder of the modern study of arms and armor. Meyrick purchased the sword from a London dealer in 1818. It was included in a watercolor by the French painter Eugène Delacroix (1797–1863), which he made during a visit to Meyrick’s collection in 1825. The sword was catalogued as possibly English in the early nineteenth century, but its place of origin remains uncertain.
Ex. Coll.: Riggs; Meyrick
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department," October 2, 2012–October 13, 2014.

Related Objects


Date: ca. 1540 Medium: Steel, silver, wood Accession: 2010.200 On view in:Gallery 376


Date: 1522–66 Medium: Steel, gold, fish skin, wood Accession: 36.25.1297 On view in:Gallery 380

Double-Barreled Wheellock Pistol Made for Emperor Charles V (reigned 1519–56)

Artist: Peter Peck (German, Munich, 1503–1596) Date: ca. 1540–45 Medium: Steel, gold, wood (cherry), staghorn Accession: 14.25.1425 On view in:Gallery 375

Armor of Emperor Ferdinand I (1503–1564)

Artist: Kunz Lochner (German, Nuremberg, 1510–1567) Date: dated 1549 Medium: Steel, brass, leather Accession: 33.164a–x On view in:Gallery 371

Field Armor of King Henry VIII of England (reigned 1509–47)

Date: ca. 1544 Medium: Steel, gold, textile, leather Accession: 32.130.7a–l On view in:Gallery 371