is a medieval poniard or dagger made for one purpose — to give the coup de grace
or killing stroke. It was a beautiful, deadly instrument with a graphic mission; its very shape and cut graphically manifest its age and those who used it.
Weapons throughout history chronicle ages, styles, and approaches to life and death; for artists, a weapons archive is a pictorial arsenal of powerful imagery. Here is such an arsenal: over 1,400 copyright-free illustrations of weapons and armor epitomizing the warlike times and peoples of this planet.
Twenty-two categories of offensive and defensive arms and armor include battle-axes, bows and arrows, cannons, catapults, clubs, daggers, handguns, machine guns, powder horns, rifles, spears, swords, tanks, suits of armor, helmets, shields, and other means of combat. These copyright-free black-and-white illustrations (with a few half-tones) have been culled from almost 50 separate sources, ranging from books of ancient armor to scarce foreign periodicals and engravings. Along with the arms themselves are those who wield them — soldiers, warriors, knights, horsemen, hunters, jousters, duelists, arms manufacturers, aborigines, centurions, dragoons, musketeers, samurai, crusaders, in full period regalia. One plate identifies all the parts of a 17th-century suit of armor — visor, gorget, tassets, epauliere, cuisse, chain mail, gauntlet, etc.; many show details of intricate Renaissance and modern carving on pommels, blades, rifle butts, and boomerangs. Some remarkable devices include the Chinese Tartar 2-handed sword, Malay creese, Tormentum, Maxim gun, 16th-century Italian cross-bow, Soviet tank from World War II, Indian damascened cuirass, bamboo lance, halberd, and the scimitar.
Unusual strokes may be visually delivered by such instruments as the Patagonian bola, a cane sword, the Zarabatana native blow gun, and the infamous "holy water sprinkler."
Artists and designers will not find these rare emblems of warfare gathered together elsewhere in such a clearly printed format, so quickly accessible; historians of art, industry, and war as well as weapons fanciers will marvel at all the picturesque means here depicted of giving the coup de grace.
Reprint of the Hart Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 1978 edition.