This is a good example of the rapier as it served in Spain and its colonies in the early 18th century. It is a type equally suitable for civilian or military use. In the latter case, it would have served an officer. The base of the knuckle bow is pierced in the shape of a heart, probably a double entendre. The thick iron guard both balances the long blade and serves as protection against the broadsword. Its form likely evolved in response to empirical evidence of attacks on the cup hilt. The central half of the hemisphere has been strengthened to near double thickness and the balance eliminated. The blade bears a makers mark of Christ on the cross, the mark of Pedro Hernandez, on the ricasso. See the Wallace Collection #A586 for the mark on another rapier. The deep fullers are spuriously marked IN SOLINGEN. 38" length blade.