An officer's sabre






Early 19th century


Forging, casting, carving, bluing, etching, engraving, gilding


Steel, brass, wood, leather


Overall length 924 mm; blade length 785 mm

The curved single-edged blade is made of plain steel with two fullers and a a poorly expressed yelman. In the upper part, the blade is decorated on both sides with gilded and engraved vignettes on a blued background. On the base of the blade, on the right side, "Coulaux frères" ("Coulaux Brothers") is inscribed with a needle, on the left side is "Manufacture Nationale du Klingenthal" ("National manufacture in Klingenthal"). The hilt consists of a grip and a guard. The slightly curved flattened grip is carved of ebony with oblique grooves. The pommel is a gilded brass cap with an widened top. The gilded brass guard is formed by a figured knuckle-bow, which at right angles passes into a cross-guard with two rain-guards decorated with relief curls. The end of the down-turned quillon is formed as a lion's head. In the middle part of the cross-guard, in rectangular frames, there is a relief antique helmet, sword, trumpet, and a banner on the right side, and there is a relief antique helmet, three banners, and a spear on the left side. A knot of black cord with a silver tassel is tied on the hilt. The scabbard is made of brown leather. The gilded brass scabbard mounts consists of a locket with an oval thumb stud and a long chape with a shoe.

COMMENT. The presented item is a French staff officer's sabre of the 1st Vendémiaire AN XII model. The sabre blade was made at the famous weapons manufactory in Klingenthal no later than 1806. The brothers Jacques and Julien Coulaux ran the manufactory from 1801, and it was often called national until 1806. The scabbard was made later, probably to individual order instead of the lost one. According to the Regulations of the 1st Vendémiaire AN XII (September 24, 1803), the staff officer sabres had a metal scabbard, which could be brass or steel with a brass mounts (see Blondieau, C. Sabres Français 1680-1814. – Paris, 2002.  – P. 281). Perhaps the knot is also not original and is taken from another sabre. Nevertheless, this rather rare sabre, like all examples of French edged weapons of the Napoleonic era, has a special historical and cultural value.