Ethnographic Arms & Armour

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > European Armoury

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 21st June 2020, 10:17 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 123
Default Unidentified hanger. Dutch?


Recently I got this piece I cannot identify with certainty.

My current hypothesis is that it could be naval Dutch, blade resembles some VOC XVIIIth century ones and it has something like 17... inscribed.

The symbology is a bit weird. A Lion putting down a flag and a stick with a Phrygian cap could be related to the end of the Batavia Republic and the start of the Dutch Monarchy in 1815. Quiver and bow seem generic.

Pommel and hilt still have about a 20% of fire gilt remains.

Maybe somebody has a better suggestion.
Attached Images
midelburgo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th June 2020, 09:53 PM   #2
David R
David R's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 750

To me, it looks very like what are often called "Pillow Swords" which were a proto "smallsword". A light fast sword worn in the later 17th century.
David R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st July 2020, 01:44 PM   #3
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
Jim McDougall's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 8,411

I think the context of the heraldic theme is likely, as suggested, Batavian, that is the components in the motif are consistent with the lion, phrygian cap and arrows seen in variations.

That it is naval is of course quite likely in the sense that the Dutch East India Company was primary to Dutch trade and the officers of the vessels that carried that trade wore many variations of currently popular sword forms of the times.

Aylward (1945, p. 57, "The Small Sword in England" well describes the Dutch favor of Chinese styling in swords, with the term 'chinoiserie describing mostly decorative motif (which often included Japanese 'shakudo' in the collective 'oriental' themes and metal work).
In the early 17th century, as Aylward describes, swords were made in the far east for the VOC (Dutch East India Co.) from c. 1710-50, and the term 'Tonquinese' used associating the Dutch factory in N. Vietnam.
This factory was however closed in 1707, so the presumption gave the term.

Aylward suggests that most 'Tonquinese' swords were probably produced in Peking, and afterwards "...the Company brought over some Chinese workmen to Europe, who produced in Amsterdam hilts of similar character which were fitted for blades made in Holland or Solingen".

As this hilt has a strong resemblance to those of Chinese 'jian' swords, I would suggest this is done in that manner, and as noted, probably in latter 18th century in accord with the heraldic theme in the guard,.

On a side note, on the term 'pillow sword', which is a well placed observation here on the form of this sword, I found an interesting entry in,
" Some Facts Concerning Sword Hilts at Hoorn Around the Year 1650"
1970, R.S.F. van der Sloot & J.B. Kist (p.13).
noting that the earliest specimens of these were c. 1616 and in a Swedish inventory of c. 1655, these swords were actually termed 'walking swords'.
Whether or not these were ever placed under a pillow is anybody's guess,but the idea was it was a defensive sword.....which indeed was important whether walking or sleeping
Attached Images
Jim McDougall is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd July 2020, 10:03 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 123

Thank you for the suggestions. I did not think of an oriental conection, but with navy and Dutch cannot be far.

The blade actually looks like a short version of British cavalry backswords for a century, and the faceted olive pommel also could fit.

The hilts and grips I have seen more similar, however, are from the French napoleonic navy dirks. But this thing is heavy and measures 81cm.

Although the way the hilt is constructed it is more similar to a kilij, but my pictures are bad at showing that.
Attached Images

Last edited by midelburgo; 2nd July 2020 at 10:46 PM.
midelburgo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th February 2021, 04:04 PM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 123

Just an update.

Today I submitted this sword to electrolysis to eliminate the thick oxide crust. Under it I could find on one side

AŅO 181(4)

On the other side I believe I can read:

R Fa D To, meaning "Real Fabrica de Toledo"

So it is Spanish (it was found in Spain too). The marking style is not that of the Toledo weapons belonging to the king but that of private acquisitions.
French troops occupied Toledo until 1813 and in 1814, the swordsmiths, that kept a workshop in Cadiz until then, returned. It is not the first 1814 Toledo weapon I have seen.

Therefore the Lion means Spain, what is normal at this period, and the brought down Phrygian cap meaning the French Republic. This could have belonged to some Spaniard in Wellingtons Peninsular army.

Last edited by midelburgo; 26th February 2021 at 04:31 PM.
midelburgo is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:54 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.