The crowd presses about you, constricting as the lace collar about your neck. You feel like gasping for breath, a fish out of water, pulled along by the relentless tide of humanity. Dizzied and drifting, you reach across your hip for the hilt at your side, and slide your fingers between the dark ribbon bars.
Perhaps you imagine it, but the action gives you ease – as if something of the guard’s silk-like flow feeds into your motion; something of its unyielding steel gives you strength. Slipping an index finger along the fullered ricasso, you breathe deeper and remember your training.
Find ease, your instructor told you, in the echoey halls of your home. Let the moves flow – don’t force yourself into each shape, but rather find yourself in the transitions. And above all, don’t forget to hear the music.
You brush your fingertips against the treble-like swirl of the protective guard and sigh. Yes, even here, amidst the shouts of sellers and baying of hounds, the clatter of cart wheels on cobbles, there is music. All that is left is to dance to it.
Inspired by everyday carrying swords of the Renaissance era, this stunning sidesword comprises a complex yet neat guard of ribbonwork bars and a broad blade. The combination offers the wielder confidence, both in its quick cut and strong ward.
The balance and grip length work together to allow control and comfort in a variety of grips, from one finger wrapped around the ricasso to an extended handshake grip to a loose hammer grip. It is short enough to make a believable “town sword”, yet able to contend with longer weapons of the same era.
The sword is named Adagio, firstly for the treble clef-like flow of its guard, and secondly for the true meaning of the composite word in Italian: at ease. Given that the sword emulates an everyday weapon rather than a martial one, and encourages a certain ease of action in fencing, it seemed a perfect fit.
A similar bespoke sidesword would come to £1400 plus postage.
The hand-forged and heat-treated guard and pommel are blackened to a matte finish. The guard is formed from curling ribbon-style bars, decorated with hand-filed detailing to emphasise the flow. The spherical pommel is carved into segments, mimicking the ribbonwork on the guard. The oak grip is wrapped first with linen thread, and then with oxblood-red kidskin. The blade features a deep fuller, inscribed with the phrase “Balefire me fecit” – a traditional maker’s mark.
Inspired by swirling ribbon-work? Get in touch to discuss your vision.