A rare find. Most schiavonas are found dating to the period of the 18th C. but this example is of an earlier type likely from the late 16th C. and has the original scabbard, which is almost never found and rarely in fine condition such as on this example.The distinguishing feature of this type of sword is the hilt each bar of which is carefully forged. The design shows that the aim to provide maximum coverage for thehand while minimizing weight and complexity. The later form of the hilt found in the late 17th-18th century had the guard covering the back of the hand while this example leaves thereverse open to allow the wearer to more easily draw the sword. In addition the rearquillon is angled up and outward, a characteristic one finds on very early guarded weapons.
Each bar of the guard is tapered in thickness from the apex of the strip of metal and thenprofiled at the termini and engraved. The grip is original and completely intact and the iron pommel takes the traditional cat's head form. In addition the grip retains the rainguard which slips over the scabbard to prevent water from getting into the scabbard and ruining the blade.
The blade is of fine quality,broad and forged with three narrow fullers. tI retains its original tip and is finely tempered, andstruck with what the Wallace text calls “twig marks”. These are identified as Italian and there are several blades in the Wallace Collection which bear these as well as some in various world museums and the Doge's Palace. (See Wallace Collection, page 255, sword A495)
The sword retains its original scabbard. The core is timber,covered in layers of linen and finally with black leather, and displays the characteristic blackened iron frame with crossbands covering the entire lower half of the scabbard, together with a central strip with covers the seam. In addition, each side of the tip is embellished with a gilded brass plaque.
Overall length is 42, blade is 35.