The rapier was the principal civilian sidearm throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Designed for cut-and-thrust fencing of progressively complex techniques, the rapier is characterized by a double-edged blade with an acute point and an elaborate guard for the hand. The guards, usually of iron or steel, were subject to a variety of embellishment. They were engraved, chiseled, gilded, damascened, and encrusted in gold and silver in keeping with fashionable styles.
Unless otherwise noted, the materials, attributions, and dating given here refer to the hilts. Rapier blades, invariably of steel, bear a variety of maker’s marks denoting their origin in the two principal centers of blademaking, Toledo in Spain and Solingen in Germany.
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Medium:Steel, iron, wood
Dimensions:L. 43 1/4 in. (109.9 cm); L. of blade 37 in. (94 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 6 oz. (1077.3 g)
Credit Line:Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Inscription: Stamped in the groove on each side of the blade, on the obverse: D·O·M·I·N·C O; on the reverse: M·A·E*·S·T·R·E*.
William H. Riggs, Paris (until 1913; his gift to MMA).
Seattle, Wash. Seattle Art Museum. "The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," March 11, 1982–June 6, 1982, no. 47.
Denver, Colo. Denver Art Museum. "The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," July 18–October 10, 1982, no. 47.
San Antonio, Tex. Witte Museum of the San Antonio Museum Association. "The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 13, 1982–February 5, 1983, no. 47.
Minneapolis, Minn. Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 24–July 31, 1983, no. 47.
San Francisco. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 5, 1983–January 28, 1984, no. 47.
Detroit, Mich. Detroit Institute of Arts. "The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 4–June 17, 1984, no. 47.
Seitz, Heribert. Blankwaffen: Geschichte und Typenentwicklung im Europäischen Kulturbereich: ein Waffenhistorisches Handbuch. Vol. 2. Brunswick: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1968. fig. 259 (bladesmith Domingo discussed).
Boccia, Lionello G., and Eduardo T. Coelho. Armi Bianche Italiane. Milan: Bramante Editrice, 1975. figs. 320–22, 356, 427–30 (similar hilts).
Norman, A. V. B. The Rapier and Small-Sword, 1460–1820. London: Arms & Armour Press, 1980. pp. 90–92.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Helmut Nickel, Stuart W. Pyhrr, Leonid Tarassuk, and American Federation of Arts. The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art: An Exhibition. New York: The Federation, 1982. pp. 93–94, no. 47, ill.
Boeheim, Wendelin. Handbuch der Waffenkunde. Das Waffenwesen in seiner historischen Entwickelung vom Beginn des Mittelalters bis zum Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts. Leipzig: Zentralantiquariat der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, 1985 (Reprint). p. 668 (bladesmith Domingo discussed).
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