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Creator Nationality: Switzerland (blade: Germany, Solingen, early 18th c.), late 18th Century
Creator Name-CRT: Switzerland (blade: Germany, Solingen, early 18th c.), late 18th Century
Title Type: Primary
Creation Start Date: 1790
Creation End Date: 1800
Creation Date: c. 1790-1800
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Arms and Armor
Materials and Techniques: hilt: gold with blue translucent enamel; blade: etched, blued and gilded steel
Dimensions: Overall: , Blade: , Hilt:
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 2002.1
Credit Line: Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
Provenance: Marshall M. Fredericks Coll.; Peter Finer, Warwickshire
Context: This example shows the small-sword at its latest and most refined stage of development. Though highly reflective of French taste, it was probably fashioned in a Swiss workshop under French influence or by a French craftsman working in Switzerland. Worn publicly as an emblem of social rank, this sword was likely custom-made for an affluent individual to use on formal or court occasions.So-called because of its short blade, the small-sword emerged as the light and quick weapon of choice for aristocratic civilians during the 1700s. Such a sword was traditionally suspended at about mid-thigh from the left side of a belt, the hilt exposed through the opening of the gentleman's coat. Highly visible, the hilt invited lavish decoration through precious materials such as gold and enamels, as seen here. Considered a type of masculine jewelry at that time, small-swords featured a variety of hilt styles that went in and out of fashion. Many were decorated to match personal costume, and jewelers worked on the finest small-swords of the day.
AMICA ID: CMA_.2002.1
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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