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Hafted weapon, sabre, cantonal service weapon 1791, Zug, fusilier / infantry

Zug infantry sabre, part of the standard equipment as set out in the cantonal regulations of 1791. The hilt has a grip cap with a riveted pommel at the top. The quillon with a flattened terminal button extends towards the grip cap and ends in the angular guard. A thumb ring has been fitted on the reverse side of the hilt. The underside of the cross-guard has a cover for the mouth of the scabbard. The hilt is made from hammered brass. The wooden grip is covered with leather and wrapped with brass wire, which shows a number of defects.

The backed blade has a fuller on both sides and a curved point. Spots of corrosion are visible on the blade. The cutting edge has been sharpened several times (the upper third of the blade is slightly concave) and some slashing marks (approx. eight) are visible.

The blade is decorated with etching. The obverse side bears a volute motif with the date “1791” above it, followed by the Zug coat of arms in an oval shield supported by a lion with a raised sword. A laurel wreath is suspended above the lion. The reverse side also bears a volute motif but with a military trophy above it, followed by a scroll with an inscription that has become illegible due to corrosion. At the very top is the letter ‘Z’ for Zug inscribed inside two crossed palm fronds.

A print by the Basel painter and uniform artist Franz Feyerabend (11/4/1756–23/3/1800) of the Zug fusilier Johann Baptist Brandenberg shows a similar sabre (see here). Entitled “Johann Baptist Brandenberg from Zug”, the print is one of a series called “Pictures of recent arrivals in Basel in 1792”. It was created in c. 1793 in the context of an auxiliary force being garrisoned in the city of Basel by the Old Swiss Confederacy from 1792 onwards. This was in reaction to French troops occupying parts of the Prince-Bishopric of Basel.

The hilt was probably produced by a local bladesmith and then fitted onto a German-made sabre blade. The decorative etchings are similar to those found on Zurich service weapons from 1770/78, which may point to a specialist etcher from Zurich.

Inventory number: 18710
Date: 1791 (Ordonnanz 1791)
Materials/techniques: Messing, geschmiedet (Gefässmaterial); Holz, mit Leder bespannt; Messingdrahtwicklung (Griff)
Size: Gesamtlänge: 72.7 cm; Klingenlänge: 58.8 cm; Klingenbreite: 3.3 cm
Connection to individuals/companies: unbekannt

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