Accession Number: 2007.01 Region: Tyrol (Austria) Artifact Type: Hand-and-a-half hunting sword Date: about 1490-1500 Materials: Steel; brass; dark and light horn Weight: 2 lb. 7 oz. Length: O.L. 44", blade L. 36 1/2", quillon width 9 3/8"
ARMORY TREASURE This superbly decorative sword was a high-end version of a common utility weapon. Single-edged swords with knife-like hilts, descendants of the Viking Age sax, were carried by peasants to help in their chores, as well as serving for self-defense at need. This one was made for a high-ranking nobleman, and would have been an eye-catching sidearm on an aristocratic hunt. As well as its use in killing prey, the robust, knifelike blade was also helpful for clearing brush out of the hunting party’s path. The elaborate and distinctive decoration of the hilt identifies this piece as coming from the workshop of Hans Sumersperger of Hall, and very possibly made by Sumersperger himself. Sumersperger's clients included the Austrian imperial family, reflecting his outstanding talent as a bladesmith and designer. This sword is one of few surviving examples of his work.