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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery

Boar Spear

ca. 1580 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This spear is more a display piece than a funtional weapon. Its elaborate decoration gives an indication of the importance of hunting to the 16th century nobility.

Boar hunting remained a popular pastime in much of Europe for centuries. The last part of the hunt usually involved approaching the cornered boar on foot through dense undergrowth. Boar-hunting was regarded as an extreme test of courage and skill. More functional boar spears had cross-bars behind the blade which kept the hunter beyond the reach of sharp tusks by preventing the spear penetrating too deeply.

Decorative spears like this were deemed worthy of a place in a rustkammer (armoury) alongside ceremonial halberds and pikes.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Etched steel blade, carbed wooden shaft
Brief Description
Boar spear with long wooden shaft carved with overlapping leaf pattern, the section near the blade covered in green cloth fixed with brass studs, the blade etched on both sides with strapwork enclosing a shield with an eagle with its wings displayed, probably Nuremburg, southern Germany ca. 1580
Physical Description
Boar spear with long wooden shaft carved with overlapping leaf pattern, the section near the blade covered in green cloth fixed with brass studs, the blade etched on both sides with strapwork enclosing a shield with an eagle with its wings displayed.
Dimensions
  • Whole length: 188cm
  • Blade length: 32.0cm
  • Blade width: 8.2cm
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Marks and Inscriptions
Maker's mark: double-barred cross (Unidentified)
Object history
The Museum bought this boar spear for £10 in 1952 from Mr Stanislas Meyer using funds from the Major Victor Farquharson Bequest in 1927. It provenance before this is unknown.
Historical context
Boar hunting remained a popular pastime in much of Europe for centuries. The last part of the hunt usually involved approaching the cornered boar on foot through dense undergrowth. Boar-hunting was regarded as an extreme test of courage and skill. More functional boar spears had cross-bars behind the blade which kept the hunter beyond the reach of sharp tusks by preventing the spear penetrating too deeply. Decorative spears like this were deemed worthy of a place in a rustkammer (armoury) alongside ceremonial halberds and pikes.
Summary
This spear is more a display piece than a funtional weapon. Its elaborate decoration gives an indication of the importance of hunting to the 16th century nobility.



Boar hunting remained a popular pastime in much of Europe for centuries. The last part of the hunt usually involved approaching the cornered boar on foot through dense undergrowth. Boar-hunting was regarded as an extreme test of courage and skill. More functional boar spears had cross-bars behind the blade which kept the hunter beyond the reach of sharp tusks by preventing the spear penetrating too deeply.



Decorative spears like this were deemed worthy of a place in a rustkammer (armoury) alongside ceremonial halberds and pikes.
Bibliographic References
  • Blackmore, Howard L., Hunting Weapons, Barrie and Jenkins Ltd, London 1971, Ch. 3
  • Patterson, Angus, Fashion and Armour in Renaissance Europe: Proud Lookes and Brave Attire, V&A Publishing, London, 2009, ISBN 9781851775811, p. 92, ill.
Collection
Accession Number
M.30-1952

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record createdApril 23, 2004
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