Sword of the Achtkantschwert Type

probably Central European

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 370

This sword exemplifies one of the most popular European types of the Middle Bronze Age period, which is commonly known as the "octagonal sword" (Achtkantschwert in German) in reference to the longitudinal division of the grip into eight facets. Although it exhibits all of the usual constructional and formal features of the type, the ornamentation of its hilt with punched dots and chased crescents is distinctive. Specifically, it is peculiar to a small group of octagonal swords, which have all been excavated in Germany, and are collectively known as the Hausmoning subtype in reference to the find spot of one specimen. In conception, it is especially close to that of two examples discovered in Unterföhring and Steinheim, respectively, both in Bavaria. The distribution of the dots and crescents on the hilt, and the absence of concentric circles around each punched dot, however, set this weapon apart from all other known examples, suggesting that it may represents a rare variant of a distinctive regional style of sword decoration.

Sword of the Achtkantschwert Type, Bronze, probably Central European

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