Monday, June 04, 2012

Der Fechtkampf

Sword fighting manual from the 16th century


16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat Knights 2



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat Knights 1



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat Knights 7



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat Knights 6



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat Knights 5



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat Knights 4



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat Knights 3



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat training 2



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat training 3



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat training 6



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat training 1



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat training 5



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat training 4



16th century sword fight manuscript drawing - Combat training 7



This fencing manuscript, made from paper*, was produced in the early 1500s in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg. There is next to no online commentary and the work consists of about 140 pages, featuring ink and watercolour/ink-wash illustrations.

Combatant swordsmen, in armour, make up only about twenty pages, with the balance of generally unsophisticated sketches showing duelling individuals in ordinary clothes. Perhaps they were soldiers in training, or for-hire, without the necessary funds to buy armour. It must have been an enormously expensive protective garment.

There is no accompanying text, beyond occasional notes scribbled across some pages. Presumably it was intended as a training manual, perhaps even copied from (an) earlier source(s). The scenes are fairly narrow in terms of the weapons portrayed, with long swords, daggers and bucklers^ making up the vast majority, if not the entire illustrated repertoire.

*I think

The 16th century manuscript, listed simply as: 'Fechtbuch: Libr. pict. A 83' is hosted by the State Library of Berlin.

Fechtbuch = fight book
Der Fechtkampf = the sword fight

Previously: combat

5 comments :

Wood said...

Regarding the first illustration in this post : I was pretty sure you were supposed to hold your sword by the other end...

George Goodall said...

Complete plate armor was a bit rare in the 16th century. Not everybody who fought in battles had it, and those that did have it would often have to fight without it! So, various combat forms persisted. This document comes from an era when medieval hand-and-a-half sword techniques persisted and the new modern forms were coming into vogue. Some of the techniques taught in this era persist in modern sport like fencing, wrestling, and boxing! And, of course, in the martial arts. I recognize analogues of some of the diagrams in modern Aikido (which borrows extensively from sword techniques). These types of manuals are even getting new audience via the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts (ARMA). Go figure.

sydneybikeblog said...

The first series show foot combat in a tournament. Notice the wooden ring in the second picture. The swords were blunted, thus allowing them to be used like a war-hammer or halbard to beat, club, and trip the opposition. This mifght be earlier than 1500, as the armour appears to be fairly normal and not the specialised Tonnalette(sp?) armour with skirts that was used later. Either that or the models couldn't afford the most up to date armour.

peacay said...

Thanks all (& hope you're well GG: how's the thesis going???).
Two of the things that struck me about this manual are 1. the descriptive era or artistic milieu that one might use in classification (eg. Renaissance, Medieval, Baroque) differs depending on which field of art or culture one is considering. & 2. I am of the opinion that this work is copied from an earlier source, simply because it's more Medieval than it is Renaissance. I have as much or as little authority as the next person to arrive at these conclusions, so I would only bet someone else's money on my being correct.

city said...

thanks for sharing.

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