Rapier

Bladesmith:
Possibly Johannes Moum (German, Solingen, active ca. 1600)
Date:
ca. 1575–1600
Geography:
Saxony
Culture:
German, Saxony
Medium:
Steel, silver, wood
Dimensions:
L. 44 in. (111.8 cm); L. of blade 35 13/16 in. (91 cm); W. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm); Wt. 3 lb. 2 oz. (1417.5 g)
Classification:
Swords
Credit Line:
Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. de Forest, 1929
Accession Number:
29.157.16
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 376
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.
Inscription: (on reverse side of ricasso, in groove) (Imitation of mark of Sebastian Hernandez the Elder, Toledo, ca. 1570. [see ref. Boeheim]).
Inscriptions: (stamped in groove on each side of blade) [see Cards]; (incised on ricasso, obverse side, probably: [PIC] INIO) ··· INIO; (on ricasso, reverse side, probably [AN] TONIO] ··· TONIO
Ex coll.: Dresden Historical Museum
Boeheim, Wendelin. Handbuch der Waffenkunde: das Waffenwesen in Seiner Historischen Entwickelung vom Beginn des Mittelalters bis zum Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts. Leipzig: E. A. Seemann, 1890. p. 669.

Rudolph Lepke's Kunst-Auctions-Haus. " ." In Schutz- und Trutzwaffen des 16. bis 18. Jahrhunderts aus dem Historischen Museum Dresden. Berlin: Rudolph Lepke's Kunst-Auctions-Haus, May 5, 1927. no. 77, pl. 4.

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. p. 200, no. 143, pl. LI, ill.

Norman, A. V. B. The Rapier and Small-Sword, 1460–1820. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1980. pp. 115–117.