The artistry of edged weapons decoration

November 9, 2016

The art of manufacturing decorated edged weapons has already existed for many centuries. It absorbed rich traditions and historical experience of different nations from ancient times till the present days. Sabers and small swords, broadswords and rapiers, dirks and hunting daggers were consideres pieces off art if they were decorated with carving and engraving, gold plating and embossing, precious metals and stones. Such objects were usually intended for present, awards, diplomatic gifts and court ceremonies, where a high technical value and a rich artistic decoration were naturally combined. This unique art resched its full flowering in the first part of the 19th century, but by the beginning of the next century the tradition to create such kind of weapon has interrupted and, as it seemed, forever.

The artistry of edged weapons decoration

But thanks to efforts made by the modern artists, historians and jewelers the tradition began to revive – first there appeared some craftsmen, then creative units beginning to create richly decorated pieces of art resembling the works of outstanding armorers of the past. In the seventies-nineties of the 20th century the authored edged weaponry phenomenon appeared being an absolutely new thing, on the hand, and having many-centuries traditions, on the other hand. New masters use the same technique and the same artistic methods as their famous predecessors did by creating images one can see in the edged weapon art of the past.

The artistry of edged weapons decoration

This collection shall show their masterpieces of art, so various in shape, selected material, style and artistic manner. It is a master’s talent, creative approach, and, undoubtedly, a highest level of craftsmanship that is what the armorers really share. In spite of the fact that such objects range is quite wide, they cannot be called mass market products; each object being the unique piece of art created for real connoisseurs of art. This kind of creative activity did not arise without reason – it is fed not only by the artist’s talent itself, but also by a thorough understanding of old masters heritage.

The artistry of edged weapons decoration

Mikhail Piotrovsky

General director of the state Hermitage Museum

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