Apr 17, 2020

Small Sword

Small Sword

c. 1730

Steel, iron, copper wire, wood

Overall: 95.2 cm (37 1/2 in.); Blade: 78.8 cm (31 in.); Guard: 7.6 cm (3 in.)

Weight: 560 g (1.23 lbs.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.1494


During the 1700s, the small-sword emerged as a light, quick weapon. Like the rapier it was carried by unarmored civilians, the noblemen of the upper classes. Over time this delicate sword became more an accessory of male attire than a weapon essential to life and death. The sword hilt, which shows even when the blade is sheathed, became the ground for elaborate decoration. These small-swords thus represent the final stage in the evolution of the sword, from the edged weapons of antiquity to the elegantly refined blades of the 1700s and 1800s.

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