Rapier, Steel, gold, copper, German

Rapier

Date:
ca. 1600–1620
Culture:
German
Medium:
Steel, gold, copper
Dimensions:
L. 46 3/4 in. (118.6 cm); W. 5 1/4 in. (13.3 cm); D. 5 1/2 in. (13.9 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 8 oz. (1134 g)
Classification:
Swords
Credit Line:
Gift of George D. Pratt, 1929
Accession Number:
29.16.10
Not on view
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.
Hagerstown, Md. Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. "Loan Exhibition of Medieval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 27–March 31, 1955, no. 61.

Newark. Newark Museum Association. "Loan Exhibition of Medieval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 15–September 15, 1955, no. 61.

Rochester, N.Y. Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. "Renaissance Remix: Art & Imagination in 16th-century Europe," June 1, 2012–October 31, 2018 no catalog.

Grancsay, Stephen V., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. Loan Exhibition of Medieval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hagerstown, Md.: Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, February 27–March 31, 1955. p. 18, no. 61, ill.