A number of different edged weapons were used in hunting, and some were designed for use with a specific type of animal. For example, boars and bears, which are both large and dangerous, were hunted with specially designed thrusting spears and swords.
These weapons had crossbars which stopped the blade from penetrating too deeply, which might make it difficult to pull out. Equally importantly, this did not allow the wounded animal to slide up the blade and gore the hunter.
Once the animal had been killed the carcass would be butchered in preparation for the banquet that often followed such a grand social occasion. Some hunting swords had saw-back blades with which to dismember the kill. Special sets, known as trousses included various choppers, bodkins, knives and forks, designed to be used for both the preparing and eating of the game.
Spears and swords for the chase could be heavily decorated, and displayed both the owners rank and wealth. Hunting hangers, which were shorter swords with a straight or slightly curved single-edged and pointed blade (used for game such as deer) often had hilts made of precious materials such as ivory, cast bronze, semi-precious stone, or even porcelain.
The blades themselves were often etched and gilded. Indeed, some hangers are nothing less than masterpieces of decorative art.
The cast and chased silver hilt is in the form of a lion being attacked by hounds.
Dates from 1670 | Object number: IX.849
A hunting sword with a hilt from Italy and the blade from England.
Dates from 1700 | Object number: IX.977
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