A very good example of an original C.1600 Spanish or Italian Main Gauche Dagger. The name of these daggers translates from the French as “left hand” and it is a tern used by collectors of a parrying dagger that appeared in Spain and Spanish-held parts of the Low Countries and Italy. This weapon is most easily recognized by the curved, usually triangular knuckle guard extending over the hilt, the wide end of which attached to the guard while the narrow point is attached to the pommel. The crossguard is normally very long, much longer than those found on other daggers and they normally terminate with globular, knob-like finials. Blades are very distinctive, with some long and narrow, double-edged but some are also single-edged and wider. The blade sometimes has a cut out ricasso that enabled the user to catch the sword blade of an opponent. This example is quite unusual in that it features a large, stylised human face to the knuckleguard. It looks to be a soldier wearing a typical military helmet of the period. The guard is also pierced and with chiselled decoration. There are two inwardly-curving quillons that emanate from a crossguard below the knuckelguard. The grip is bound with steel twistwire and the faceted pommel is large and globular, with a pronounced tang button. The blade is plain and double-edged with a number of rounded and lozenge-shaped grooves – these could be the remains of the armourer’s marks, now worn down. Overall condition of the main gauche is very good for its great age and everything is tight and firm. A very nice piece that would display well. Blade length is 13.5 inches (19 inches overall.
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