The Schiavona sword by Del Tin may not be the most widely available Renaissance sword, and it is definitely not one of the cheapest. However, there can be little argument that it is quite a work of art by an artisan well known for producing very high quality replicas - and this review we take a close up, hands on look at what spending some additional money will get you...
Review by Larry Lim, Singapore
Schiavona is a basket-hilted, double-edged broad sword popular in Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries. This unique sword got its name from the fact that it was used by the Venetian Doge (duke) guards who are mostly Dalmatians Slavs - Croats (Schiavoni). It is classified as a broad sword because its blade was relatively wider than its contemporary, the rapier.
The schiavona became popular among the armies who traded with Italy during the 17th century and also became the weapon of choice for many heavy cavalry.
There aren't many Schiavona replicas existing in the market, and the replica that caught my eyes was the one made by Del Tin Armi Antiche.
The ordering process was somewhat slow in the beginning, having to wait quite a fair bit in-between our email correspondences but placing order was easy as Mr Del Tin do not require any down payment; I'm also very impressed with Mr Del Tin's promptness in delivering the finished sword as he had promised..
Some Stats of the DT Schiavona
The Schiavona is superbly made and solidly fitted. Nothing rattles even when shook vigorously.
The finishing on both the sword and the custom-made leather scabbard are also very well-done! The blade's coated with a thin layer of oil and shipped within the leather scabbard. It remains pristine and rust-free even having endured the shipping ordeal of over 2 weeks.
One caution, however, is that the scabbard is loose and I soon made the unfortunate mistake of dropping it, chap down, on my wooden floor. The pointed metal chap is now slightly 'flattened'. Ouch. *Heart pain*
Del Tin makes only unsharpened blades for export but the tip of the blade is pointed, unlike those of Lutel's. The double-edged blade sports a rather shallow fuller running to 1/3 of the blade's length, both sides. The blade has little profile taper, if at all, but possessed a good distal taper.
The blade is very nicely crafted and is virtually perfect - free of pits and spots on surface! Its look is further enhanced by the satin-finished done on the surface.
The grip of the Schiavona leather covered over wood core. It is ribbed to provide a firm grip. Even with my relatively small hand, it is still comfortable to me.
Apart from the unique guard, the cat-head shape pommel is another feature that distinguished a Schiavona, which the Mr DelTin has faithfully reproduced in this replica. This is cast in brass (I only guess this) with a large circular emboss in the centre, surrounded by smaller ones. A very nice touch to the otherwise plain-looking pommel, I would say. It was said that the cat-shape was favoured because cat possess stealth and agility, much favoured by the guards.
There are primarily 2 variants of Schiavona according to the design of the guard - Type 1 and Type 2 in the market, and the DT Schiavona belongs to the former; need to mention is the basket-hilt incorporates a thumb ring as well as guard thereby giving the wielder a choice to do the 'fingering' or use the thumb ring for weapon control.
The leather scabbard is ordered separately. The body of the scabbard is folded from a piece of hard leather length-wise and glued together in a manner almost conspicuous to any unsuspecting stares.
The throat is reinforced by additional leather piece and the chape is crowned with a patterned metal piece for added strength.
There are diagonal imprints along the entire scabbard and its truly a work of art in its own right. The scabbard matches the sword very well and gave the pair a natural rustic appearance without being too gaudy.
One setback about the scabbard, though, is that it's kind of loose fitting, and I learnt a painful lesson of accidentally holding the Schiavona blade down without holding the scabbard and it crashed straight down to the wooden flooring, thereby chipping the wooden floor board and 'flattening' the otherwise nice tip of the chape!
I hope this review of the Schiavona Sword has been helpful. To return to Renaissance Swords from Del Tin Schiavona Review, click here