With a sigh you sink down on the bank of the Ebro. It is late in the day, and shadows are settling in the green-velvet folds of the hills across the water. The air is sweet with fermenting reeds, seasoned with dust from the packed dirt road. Before you the river is wide and unwavering, its glassy green surface broken only by the occasional writhing carp.
This is where you come to consider the truth of the “true art”, once the clamour and clash of blades is over. You replay each bout in your mind, drawing across the floor, toying over the geometries of your play.
The fight must rise from reason, you remind yourself. It does not do to act out of passion or pride on the piste. Not in front of your master, at least – poised and pursed-lipped, the first to notice when a skillful dance gives way to irrational danger.
A susurrus of undergrowth rouses you from recollection, and you turn with a start to see the rangy form of your fencing partner emerge from the dry brush, a sword over each shoulder. In his right hand is his own weapon, slender and satin-polished. The other is yours, all spiralling steel wire and swelling black bars, which only minutes ago you threw onto the floor in frustration.
This the young man holds out to you with a smile crinkling the corners of his eyes, a silent invitation. In a moment you quell the shame the arises at the memory of your outburst, and accept the proffered sword. With a curt bow, the other falls into measure – and the dance begins again.
This stately, steely beauty is based on a 16th Century antique original found by our client. Its tangle of terminating bars provide ample hand coverage, while a broad blade and wide quillons offer options in the bind.
Named after the Greek word from which we take the term Iberian, the sword is balanced to work well for earlier forms of Iberian fencing. As such its broad blade and central balance lean more toward the feel of a sidesword than a later rapier.
Creating this effect called for careful work, as the original sword was furnished with a much narrower blade. After some experimenting with hollow pommels, as the original surely has, Chris settled on a slimmer solid pommel to create the right aesthetic alongside a nimble rotation in the hand.
A similar bespoke rapier would come to £1250 plus postage.
The hand-forged and heat-treated guard and pommel are blackened to a matte finish. The pommel takes a faceted scent-stopper shape, while the complex guard features swollen terminals to the round section bars. The oval-sectioned oak grip is carved into a fluted spiral and wrapped in braided steel wire, finished to top and bottom with Turk’s head knots.
Seen an original you’d love to replicate? Get in touch to discuss your vision.