Bronze hilt modeled in high relief with a woman, partially exposed, below a memento mori (death’s head skull). At her feet are two of snakes knotted together. Reverse with a standing male below the head of a woman wearing a crown. The base as a griffin. Both quillons are modeled as snake heads. 5 5/8” double edged blade.  The persecution of witches largely ended with the English Witchcraft Act of 1735 which also made it illegal “for a person to claim that any human being had magical powers or was guilty of practising witchcraft”. The Act notwithstanding, witchcraft was practiced throughout Europe and America and widely believed in, as demonstrated by Robert Burns’ poem, Tam O’Shanter in which Nannie (called Cutty Sark by Tam) was a witch and Arthur Conan Doyle’s belief in magic. Practitioners engaged in activities from the relatively harmless, such as fortune telling, to casting spells and performing exorcises. This dagger would have been used in the more serious activities such as the latter.
Stock Number: B5140

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