A sword collecting guide for decorative sword replicas, wall hanger, and antique ceremonial sword
It is said that no two swords are the same. Indeed this is true, since they often have specific uses.
There is a sword for the infantrymen, which is quite different from those used by the mounted cavalrymen.
There is an officer sword, a trench combat sword, a close quarter combat sword. There is a sword for cleaving steel armors such as like the knight sword, another for ambush attacks such as rapier, and still another for murderous missions like daggers.
What is an ornamental sword?
While all of the swords mentioned above are used in the battle, ornamental swords on the other hand are not. Most of them are made of cheap aluminum alloy or stainless steel. Lavish ones are made of gold, silver, and other precious metals. Structurally, they are weaker compared to the complex folded carbon steel process used for making samurai sword.
The purpose of ornamental swords in the past is purely religious. The dagger of Wiccan religion has been for several hundred years used for stabbing a mound of earth as a ceremony of thanksgiving. The Jewish high priests are slaying sacrificial lambs in the temple using swords for important Judaic celebrations. Ornamental swords used for this purpose are called ceremonial swords.
Other swords are used to signify rank, position, or status. This is most obvious in military, where a soldier is given a sword as recognition for heroic military service and promotion to a higher rank. Ornamental swords used for this purpose are called dress swords.
Still others do not have any purpose other than being decorative. Decorative swords are highly stylized and steeply ornate swords. They are gilded, wrought with excessive number of precious stones.
Most of antique ornamental swords used for this purpose have been gifts between states, royal families, and feudal lords as symbol of allegiance, diplomacy, or goodwill. Others are passed on as heirlooms, such as the sword of Tippu Sultan.
Wallhanger Ornamental sword
Wall hangers are ornamental swords that are intended for home decoration or interior designing. They can be as extravagant as decorative sword or as cheap as those found in thrift stores. Often they are decorative replica swords in the likes of King Arthur’s Excalibur, or they can be original like a personally designed dark fantasy sword. Most of the wallhangers are decorative sword replicas. They bear resemblance to popular swords that we know for a long time, such as the Japanese sword.
Ornamental swords and Real swords
Real swords are those that have been made specifically for cutting human flesh. Ornamental swords on the other hand serve all other purposes, which are mostly for decoration. They do not have the quality to withstand the strain of sword fighting. They are also extraordinarily shiny; in fact the cheapest of them is actually made from plastic.
While the comparison is pretty clear at first glance, one is actually confused with the other. This is so especially with the recent preference for wall-hangers that are also real swords. Some states or countries have regulated the sales and use of real sword wall hangers because of the danger they pose. Check the policies of your locality regarding this matter before buying.
Ornamental swords and beaters
Beaters are real swords that are made even sturdier. They are thicker and can take on wider range or targets without failure. They are used for cutting and striking on straws, woods, and water-filled plastics. In short, they are primarily for practicing. Beaters are also displayed as ornamental sword nowadays for their bulky look. Again, check local regulations before buying them.
Ornamental swords and battle ready swords
Beaters and real swords are collectively called as battle ready swords. Battle ready swords are flesh-cutters, and can be subject to regulations in some states or countries. Using them as ornamental sword must be dealt with caution.
Antique ornamental swords collecting
Collecting antique ornamental swords is both an exciting and challenging hobby. Most of the artifacts are hard to find since they are not manufactured in the same way as battle ready swords. Ornamental swords are few and if there are any, also expensive. So it takes a bit of research skill to locate the gems from any auction and sale of antique collectibles.
All efforts will be worth it if a perfect ornamental sword is found, purchased, and stored for collection.
Why buy ornamental sword?
Ornamental swords are great conversation pieces. A Turkish scimitar or a Philippine kris adds an exotic look to a room, so it can really be a good start to talk about with people who are dropping by. It also takes the functionality of the room to a whole new level.
Decorative sword replicas for ornamental swords are also great for interior designing. They add an element of historicism, fantasy, and magic. A pirate cutlass or an antique Arab sword can enhance the way space appears.
Sword fittings and mountings for swords like katana can give out an oriental look. A room can also be made into homage of the Middle Ages, when medieval swords like Knights Templar sword or Masonic sword is added.