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Ear Dagger ~ historical blade by Hanford Miller

Discussion in 'The Gallery' started by HTMD, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. HTMD

    HTMD Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 15, 2002
    Hanford loves to tackle these incredibly challenging historical blades that nobody else wants to make these days.

    I was glad to photograph this one before it ships out to its new owner. In addition to being a challenge to make, it is a challenge to photograph because of all those curving reflective surfaces and the overall complexity of the handle/pommel.

    Kudos to Hanford and congratulations to the new owner!

    Last edited: Aug 8, 2008
  2. Mark Williams

    Mark Williams Moderator

    Nov 28, 2000
    Awesome work on both accounts !!!
  3. sweet


    Nov 11, 1999
    Absolutely stunning:eek::thumbup:
  4. someone give me a history lesson...the ear Dagger? what was the purpose? and where in History did they play a role? A stunning knife and as a amateur (very) knife photographer this is a great shot..


  5. PhilL


    Oct 1, 1999
    Excellent work all aound.

    Since Ren asked I won't have to, I am interested where this idea came from.
  6. HTMD

    HTMD Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 15, 2002
    Thanks, guys!

    Here's some info about this dagger style: From A Collectors Guide to Swords, Daggers & Cutlasses ...

    "In the 14th century an interesting version of the rondel appeared. This was the eared dagger, which shares its heritage with the blade known to the Turks as the yataghan and to the Cossacks as the shashqa. The pommel of eared daggers was split in two to allow the thumb to be hooked over the pommel to impart greater force to the stabbing blow. Curiously, despite its (odd) appearance, the eared dagger became widely associated with royalty and was also a favorite weapon of assassins in Italy during the 15th and 16th centuries."

    This blade is alternately known as an "ear dagger." I've seen it both ways.

    The rondel dagger is similar except the two (typically wood) disks are placed flat against the handle forming a guard in front and a pommel in back. Both were derived from the ballock dagger which can be traced back to about 1050 AD or earlier.

    Swords had been getting shorter and shorter untli they became what we would call daggers or dirks. The word then was actually "durk" but by error it has become dirk for us. The trend toward shorter blades was driven in part by the fact that there were an abundance of old swords lying about with broken or worn out tips - so they were easily cut down to fashion a shorter blade. And also, the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745 led to the passing of "disarming acts" designed to outlaw dirks. Like prohibitons of any kind, these acts had exactly the opposite effect, causing a proliferation of 'concealable' dirks and daggers.

    All of this refers to essentially European and Mediterranean type blades but daggers of all types were made by every culture on the planet. These ballock, rondel and ear daggers are incredibly scarce. Like the cinquedeas, almost all of them live in museums these days, except for some that reside in old European private collections.

    Here's a 15th century rondel dagger:
  7. HTMD

    HTMD Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 15, 2002
    Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa in 1502, same time period during which the ear dagger was popular in Italy, as well as Spain and France.

  8. Keith Montgomery

    Keith Montgomery

    May 9, 2000
    Outstanding workmanship.

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