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Sword: O.88-1879

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Maker: Unknown




The steel blade is straight and double edged, flaring towards the point which is slightly cusped. A medial ridge runs the full length, and neither edge is sharp, as each has been flattened to produce a dumb-bell like section. The hilt comprises a figure-8 guard, angled across the centre, with pierced wings and short, heavy blade-shaped reinforces secured by two rivets, the lower ones with petalled washers, and bordered by double incised lines and short sections of incised waves. Round the junction of the wings and reinforces is a band of copper alloy. The thin grip swells to a central moulding, and the pommel is missing. The hilt is covered with black paint, the blade polished bright and pitted from earlier corrosion


History note: Probably from the Tanjore armoury, broken up in 1860 (see documentation Elgood 2004)

Legal notes

Given by Robert Taylor, MA

Measurements and weight

Blade Length: 77.3 cm
Overall Length: 85.2 cm
Weight: 1230 g

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1879) by Taylor, Robert, MA


16th Century
Circa 1500 CE - 1600 CE


As far as the cataloguer knows this blade is unique. Whether it was intended for actual use, as a thrusting sword combined with a bludgeon, or whether it was intended purely for decoration, is unknown. Taylor had a similar comment to the cataloguer’s, ‘Broadsword with hammer-turned edge. I have seen no other specimen.’

This unusual sword has a long blade which flares out towards the point. Strangely the edge of the blade has been rolled over to blunt it. Whether it was a practice sword or made for decoration is unclear. Robert Talyor, who collected the sword, stated, ‘ Broadsword, with hammer turned edge. I have seen no other specimen’. Since then two other examples have come to light.

Components of the work

Blade composed of steel

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: 88
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Tag

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: O.88-1879
Primary reference Number: 158403
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 12 May 2021 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Sword" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-20 17:04:03

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{{cite web|url= |title=Sword |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-20 17:04:03|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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