Detail View: The AMICA Library: Small-Sword

AMICA ID: 
CMA_.2002.1
AMICA Library Year: 
2002
Object Type: 
Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
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: 
Small-Sword
Title Type: 
Primary
View: 
Detail
Creation Date: 
c. 1790-1800
Creation Start Date: 
1790
Creation End Date: 
1800
Materials and Techniques: 
hilt: gold with blue translucent enamel; blade: etched, blued and gilded steel
Classification Term: 
Arms and Armor
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
Rights: 
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.
Related Image Identifier Link: 
CMA_.AM20021809.tif