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Boar spear

  • Place of origin:

    Nuremburg (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1580 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Etched steel blade, carbed wooden shaft

  • Museum number:

    M.30-1952

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery, case 10

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.

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.

Place of Origin

Nuremburg (probably, made)

Date

ca. 1580 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Etched steel blade, carbed wooden shaft

Marks and inscriptions

Maker's mark: double-barred cross
Unidentified

Dimensions

Length: 188 cm whole, Length: 32.0 cm blade, Width: 8.2 cm blade

Object history note

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 note

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.

Descriptive line

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

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

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.

Materials

Steel; Cloth; Wood

Techniques

Forging; Etching; Carving

Categories

Arms & Armour; Sport; Tools & Equipment; Ceremonial objects

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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