A German Gilt-Iron Left-Hand Dagger, c. 1610-20

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3959 1

Item ref: 3959

  • Germany
  • Iron, gold, wood
  • 35.5 x 7 cm


Private collection, Europe

The evidence of contemporary German and Dutch portraiture shows daggers of this type, together with their matching rapiers, carried as an essential part of the early 17th century costume of men of rank and privilege. The term left-hand dagger is used to differentiate the type of dagger used tactically in the left hand, in conjunction with a rapier held in the right, and most frequently for parrying the blade of the opponent’s rapier or for delivering a close-quarters thrust.

With iron hilt retaining some of its original gilding, formed of a pair of quillons progressively flattened in section towards the tips, a matching small ring-guard between, and stopper-shaped pommel rising to a prominent button over the blade tang. Fitted with moulded wooden grip bound with patterned copper wire and “Turks’ heads”. The blade of flattened diamond section tapering to a narrow point, and formed with a rectangular ricasso recessed centrally on both sides.