Name of Object:

Sword

Location:

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums

Date:

About hegira 6th century / AD 12th century

Type of object:

Metalwork, iron, arms, armours

Museum Inventory Number:

BC 2.76

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Iron, with brass inlay on pommel.

Dimensions:

Length 119.4 cm: comprising (pommel) 4.8 cm, (grip) 10 cm, (blade) 104 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Crusader

Provenance:

Continental / Northern Europe.

Description:

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

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.

Selected bibliography:

Coe, M. D., et al, Swords and Hilt Weapons, New York, 1989.

Nicolle, D., The Crusades, Oxford, 1988.

Citation of this web page:

Noorah Al-Gailani "Sword" in Discover Islamic Art , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;ISL;uk;Mus04;6;en&id=arms_and_armoury

Prepared by: Noorah Al-GailaniNoorah Al-Gailani

Noorah Al-Gailani is Curator for Islamic Civilisations at Glasgow Museums, Scotland. With a BA in Interior Design from the College of Fine Arts, Baghdad University and three years' experience in design and folk art preservation, she moved to the UK in 1992. On completing her MA in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London in 1994, she worked as Project Officer at the Grange Museum of Community History documenting the presence of Muslim communities in the London Borough of Brent. In 1995 she was Assistant Curator, Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage, and in 1996 became Curator for John Wesley's House and the Museum of Methodism in London. She co-authored The Islamic Year: Surahs, Stories and Celebrations (Stroud: Hawthorn Press, 2002) for non-Muslim children. Since 2003 she has been based at The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, working across the city's museums to interpret Islamic art and culture, ancient and modern, through research, exhibitions and educational activities.

Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: UK4 12