This wonderful weapon is from the Severance Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. It is illustrated in the catalog (1948), illustration 26, second from the left. Copy of the catalog accompanies this item. Its form and function reflect the atmosphere which spawned it. Italy, particularly Venice, was the interface with the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman warriors fought mounted, relying on speed and agility largely foregoing body protection (armor) in exchange. Their swords were deadly but they carried axes and hammers which could penetrate the vulnerable and unprotected areas of their adversaries, which comprised all but the head, protected by the helmet, and torso, protected by the cuirass. And so, the hammer and axe, virtually abandoned in Western Europe, carried on in the east from Poland to Italy. By extension of training and availability, the axe and hammer were used universally in Eastern Europe. This example is clearly made to effectively attack an armored opponent, which in its context, is an Italian. The thick back spike is capable of breaching all but the thickest of armor, and the triple hammer face is designed to impart impact like the lance coronel. Such a blow would be ineffective on any element, but the helmeted head where, especially if delivered in a series of blows could dislodge the brain, or at least, cause disorientation and defenselessness. 24 ¼” length. On its original wood haft with cloth covering partially remaining.