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Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design

( ID: ea989 )

A very fine example of a 16th C. European battle axe, almost certainly from Northern Italy, likely Florence or Milanese workmanship. This example is in two pieces with a wooden core and a metal haft. The axe head is finely crafted with twin dolphin designs on the axehead, one of which is now slightly obscured through sharpening over time, and with spike forged with a tigershead at the base.  The metal displays fine original age and is in good condition for it's period.  The designs are clearly visible and display the grotesque animal and fantasist design that the Milanese and Northern Italian smiths were famous for,

The grotesque period during the Rennaisance saw Italian artists and decoration turn towards designs found in older Classical artifacts and various paterns were utilized in many different types of items from everyday pieces such as caskets, boxes or toiletries through the arms and armor. The Mannerist school of art influenced the makers of arms and armor and this piece is emblematic of that period. The delight of Mannerist artists and their patrons in arcane iconographic programs available only to the erudite could be embodied in schemes of grottesche or the grotesque, Andrea Alciato's Emblemata (1522) offered ready-made iconographic shorthand for vignettes. More familiar material for grotesques could be drawn from Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Overall length is 22", axehead is 8" long and cutting edge is 3". 

Photo #1 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #2 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #3 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #4 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #5 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #6 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #7 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #8 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #9 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #10 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #11 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #12 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #13 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design
Photo #14 of Fine 16th C. Northern Italian European Battle Axe with grotesque or Mannerist axehead with chiseled iron dolphin and tigerhead design