A NORTH ITALIAN CUP-HILT RAPIER C.1640
About the piece
This example represents the rapier at its zenith. The solid iron cup with roped top edge rolled inward is decorated with intertwined bands enclosing panels decorated with foliage inhabited by beasts. The upper portion has alternate round panels with classic Italian portraits and oval panels alternately enclosing winged putti, and similar winged crowned double headed eagles. The latter motif derived from the Byzantine Empire, though it was used earlier, and was used throughout Europe to various degrees. The pommel is hatched, above a band of foliage matching the cup. This sword combines Spanish style, as Northern Italy was under Spanish Hapsburg rule at the time, with a design based on the very latest fencing techniques which were developed and taught by Italian fencing masters.Blade length: 42 1/2"