"A Turkish sword or saber"

Among Ximenez's swords, a single Turkish saber, "the blade decorated with gold plates, and a belt with silver, gilded buckles" comprised the only truly foreign object. The term "Turkish," when applied to a sword in the early modern period, typically implied that the blade had a sweeping curve and a curved cruciform handle. The notary's description of the sword as "decorated with gold plates" remains somewhat elusive, but this may refer to gilded decoration, like that present on a blade in the Türckische Cammer of Dresden, dated 1617-18. Large areas of gilding, paired with incised decorative sections, may have been perceived as gold plates. The Dresden saber makes a particularly fruitful comparison to Ximenez's sword because of its status as spolia; the work was presented as a gift from the Grand Dukes of Tuscany to the Electors of Saxony, who fashioned themselves as good Catholic rulers, protecting Europe from the Turks.

Sean Nelson, Max Planck Institute, Florence


Schuckelt, Holger. Türckische Cammer: Orientalische Pracht in der Rüstkammer Dresden. Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2010. 76-77.

Saber, 1617-1618, Türckische Cammer, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden. Image: © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen.