Brescia mid-17th century. 7 3/4” length with 4 5/8” triangular blade. From a well-known group, including a near identical example in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, illustrated, Peterson pl.61. Banded square section ricasso with olive form medial. The grip chiseled in deep relief spiral foliate spiral. The pommel as an opened mouth toothy dolphin. Square quillon with comical eyes and nose to the front and back and supporting two smaller, fully modeled dolphin heads. Excellent with the original black finish to the hilt well preserved. The figures on these stilettos have been described variously, including as dogs, but there can be no mistake when comparing them to ancient Roman mosaics and sculpture where dolphins are often depicted as toothy and menacing. Seafarers, Romans well understood the bond between dolphins and sailors and many tales of dolphin rescues and assistance are recorded. The variety is the bottlenose dolphin and in this instance, as typically Roman, the snout is exaggerated. Preserve with its original blued finish.