Shell guard rapier

Approaching the mid-16th century, as armour passed out of common use, it became fashionable for men to carry a sword as they went about their daily business. Gentlemen chose the rapier to accessorise their civilian dress. The rapier was first developed early in the 16th century, with its name deriving from the Spanish 'espada ropera',meaning dress sword. The particular design of these early prototypes is unknown, however, by the end of the century, the name and design of a rapier came to mean a civilian cut-and-thrust weapon that was lighter than large arming swords.   As a form of masculine adornment among more affluent and influential individuals in Early Modern Europe, rapiers also acted as status symbols, conveying the owner's wealth and social or professional rank, but in skilled hands they could also be deadly. Therefore, the blades were almost always mounted with ornate hilts of varying complexity. This rapier is decorated with gilded shell guards to protect the wielding hand and has a flamboyant blade, to demonstrate the skill of its maker. Inscribed with 'Abraham da Asquilina. Fecit.', which conveys its maker.
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Approx. 129cm long
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East Ayrshire Council
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