German Hunting Short Sword
(circa mid-1800s)

This late-19th century German hunting sword has a brass "clamshell" guard, quillons with deer's hoof finials, ribbed ferrule and horn grip. The blade is etched (and partially gold filled) with floral designs and a hunting scene. Swords like this were used by "gentlemen" for personal protection and for delivering the finishing touches to wounded game in lieu of wasting ammunition.

By the time of the American Revolution, many such swords had been slenderized and refined for wear by gentleman as informal town swords. Such swords were too light for use in combat, but a great many served as symbols of rank for both land and naval officers, and were carried by numerous people who could not afford heavier military patterns.