Small Sword

Small Sword

c. 1770

Steel, gilt-brass, porcelain grip

Overall: 90.5 cm (35 5/8 in.); Blade: 76.9 cm (30 1/4 in.); Grip: 11.3 cm (4 7/16 in.); Hilt: 8.3 cm (3 1/4 in.)

Weight: 340 g (11.99 oz.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.1501

Did you know?

Small-swords with porcelain grips became fashionable in the mid- to late 1700s and added a colorful splash to male attire.


The small-sword was a light, quick weapon that emerged during the 18th century. It was carried by unarmored civilians, the noblemen of the upper classes. The porcelain hilt, elaborately decorated, would have been visible even when the sword was sheathed–making this object more an accessory of male attire than a utilitarian weapon.

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