A scabbard for a sharp sword, dated to 1330s

A scabbard for a sharp sword, dating to 1330s
A scabbard for a sharp sword, dating to 1330s

The customer wanted "Some ornate scabbard for my sharp sword corresponding with its datation, and let it be a little posh, red and with golden plated fittings."

Considering the amount of ornate pieces from Leiden, I wanted (and want) to make some more of them. So I reached again for the trefoils from this well known and fundus. We picked one of the most complicated ones (Driel Murray 1990, Nr. 35) and I adjusted it a little (made one less trefoil in the upper part) in order to fit better to our purposes. This special piece did not have holes left by hanging system, which also fitted our concept of metal fittings.

The ornate leather is stretched over a wooden core on a layer of textile. We left out the parchment layer this time in order to save money on things that are not that visible, but hopefully compensated for that on the visible parts. The scabbard is completely sewn at the back side, so no shortcuts there :)

The design of the metal fittings was a little bit more complicated. In the whole Leiden fundus is only one metal piece in context with 137 leather fragments of scabbards. As all of the leather pieces were discarded from a scabbard making workshop and the metal (and wooden) parts were mostly recycled on new pieces. So we had to search for inspiration somewhere else. We set the datation to 1330, and after a quick search in Records of the Medieval Sword (Oakeshott 1991) we chose quite simple design used on the scabbard from Cologne (St. Georges sword and scabbard) BUT! :D after reading the article I discovered, that the book shows only the back part of mentioned sword. It was mentioned in the text.... No problem, I will search it on the internet, Cologne keeps a lot of their medieval pieces available online... No problem... BUT! :D The front piece definitelly does not look like the back.... :D :D (check it out... it is quite cool actually... ) As this small hickup would blow up our budget to the realm of prices of not that old used cars... (Even if we did not use the gold sheets and silver golden plated sheets as in the original piece... ) we had to change the plan a little. We kept in mind the back part of named scabbard, but chose to decorate it as other contemporary piece from Verona (Oakeshott 1991, str. 71 Sword from The tomb of Can Grande della Scala), which uses dots and engraved lines in shape of small leaves and has wider eylets which seemed more pretty to us. Even though the fittings are a fusion of two original pieces I hope that it is in contact with early 14th century fashion. The fittings are made according to my design by my skilled husband and my sister, who both do these things in their free time now, but they have kind of a sympathy for my silly ideas :)

The fittings are made out of brass sheet metal soldered together and than golden plated.

The last piece of the set was a rainguaard, again following the excavated pieces from Leiden. This form of rainguaard is not commonly used in early 14th century art, but it is present in archaeological sites of this datation (Driel Murray 2017).

The whole project took quite some time, as the pieces were coming slowly together, but I think it was worth it :)