Detail View: The AMICA Library: Basket-Hilt Broadsword ('Mortuary Sword')

AMICA ID: 
CMA_.1916.696
AMICA Library Year: 
1998
Object Type: 
Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Creator Nationality: 
European; British
Creator Dates/Places: 
English
Creator Name-CRT: 
Hilt: England; Blade: Germany, Solingen (?), Hilt: c. 1640 - 1650; Blade: 18th Century
Title: 
Basket-Hilt Broadsword ('Mortuary Sword')
Title Type: 
Primary
View: 
Full View
Creation Date: 
hilt: c. 1640-1650; blade: 18th Century
Creation Start Date: 
1640
Creation End Date: 
1799
Materials and Techniques: 
steel, chiseled; wood and wire grip
Classification Term: 
Armor
Classification Term: 
Arms
Classification Term: 
Arms
Dimensions: 
Overall: , Blade: , Hilt: 13cm
AMICA Contributor: 
The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: 
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 
1916.696
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance
Inscriptions: 
ANDRIA FERRARA
Rights: 
Context: 
The ornate hilt of this broadsword is chiseled with foliate scrollwork, leafy grotesque masks, and the image of King Charles I of England (beheaded in 1649). Because of the resemblance of this image to the death mask of the king, a small group of English swords bearing the king's likeness, to which this one belongs, are popularly called 'mortuary swords.' They appear to have been made for important individuals during or just after the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. The present sword is traditionallysaid to have belonged to Sir Thomas Fairfax, a prominent general of the Parliamentary cavalry during the English Civil War (1642-1651).Broadswords with large double-edged blades, such as this, were designed for heavy cavalry use, and were common from the17th through 19th centuries.
Related Image Identifier Link: 
CMA_.1916.696.tif