Name of Object:
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums
Date of Object:
About hegira 6th century / AD 12th century
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Iron, with brass inlay on pommel.
Length 119.4 cm: comprising (pommel) 4.8 cm, (grip) 10 cm, (blade) 104 cm
Period / Dynasty:
Continental / Northern Europe.
Although this sword was not found in Crusader lands, it is a typical example of a Crusader sword brought to the Holy Land and used by European warriors and knights. The sword has a double-edged slashing blade, which tapers off to a sharp point. It has a central, single channel (fuller) running along the blade on each side, the presence of which lightens the sword without affecting its strength thus making it more effective for cutting and hacking. The handle has a pommel (the knob at the top of the grip) in the shape of a chamfered wheel that is inlaid with brass in the form of a cross design on one side, and a design consisting of three half circles linked in the middle with three lines, on the other. This type of pommel came into use in about the AH 5th / AD 11th century, when sword blades increased in length too. Despite the disappointing number of artefacts that have survived from the Crusades, contemporary European manuscripts and their miniature paintings, together with monuments and their carvings, have depicted with impressive accuracy the types of arms and armour used during the Crusader period.
View Short Description
Although this sword was not found in Crusader lands in the Middle East, it is a typical example of a Crusader sword brought to the Holy Land and used by European warriors and knights. Contemporary Medieval European manuscripts depict, with remarkable accuracy, Crusader arms and armour.
How date and origin were established:
Artistic analysis: several reasonably accurate examples of these swords appear in contemporary European miniatures in manuscripts, and on stone carvings, confirming that northern European Crusader knights in the Holy Land used this type of sword.
How Object was obtained:
Part of the collection given to the City of Glasgow by Sir William and Lady Burrell in 1944.
Coe, M. D., et al, Swords and Hilt Weapons, New York, 1989.
Citation of this web page:
Noorah Al-Gailani "Sword" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;uk;Mus04;6;en