This beautiful, very large Imperial Hunting Cutlass measures 23" long, including the scabbard. It is in excellent overall condition especially for being over 100 years old! The mounts are covered with rich deep colored gilding over a brass base. The ornate pommel features a raised oak leaf motif and a highly detailed acorn which acts as a pommel nut to retain the tang to the grip. This acorn has meticulous hand-done checkering on the cap. The pommel is wrapped with a rope style band around its circumference and the edges are decorated with raised fine lines. The ferrule also features raised lines they are quite detailed and resemble strands of pearls running around the circumference.
The cross-guard is most beautiful, having raised designs around the center which feature hounds' heads and deer hooves. There are also nicely detailed golden quillons which extend outward, one up and one down, decorated with subtle enhancements, all with splendid detail.
The clam shell is oval shaped and is also extremely ornate. This clam shell has a smooth border around it with stippling around the perimeter. There is a stag and a hunting hound portrayed on the shell on which the stag appears to be in a fight to escape the jaws of the hound. They are highly raised off the surfaces and are set against a background of a woodland clearing. This is a beautifully detailed piece.
The grip is a top grade piece of stag which curves upward and to the left. The stag was carefully hand selected for its size and beauty as there was only very slight trimming needed to secure the pommel and grip ferrule. The stag has tan colored upper grains, darkening to a deeper chocolate color in the lower areas and has a highly desirable pronounced texture.
The leather scabbard shell shows signs of wear and usage but it is still in good condition and quite supple. It has the typical embossed twin trim lines which run the length of the edges. The reverse of the scabbard is sewn up in the usual style and the stitching is still tight with no separations. The scabbard mounts are of gilded brass and match the hilt. The upper and lower fittings both have scalloped edges with the lower fitting being decorated with a multiple line type design. The upper fitting is mounted with a finely detailed acorn lug and contains a small pocket that retains the matching skinning knife. Compared to this massive Hirshfanger, the skinning knife seems quite dainty measuring 7 1/4" from the tip of the stag grip plates to the point.
The grip is decorated with a single gilded brass acorn with exceptional detailing to the oak leaves and acorn cap. A small sliver of the stag grip plate on the reverse of the skinner is missing and has been so for quite some time as the patina of the steel where the grip plate was is quite dark. The very tip of this small knife is chipped and was probably caused by being dropped, likely the reason for the missing sliver of the grip plate as well.
The long, 16 1/8" slab-sided blade remains in very good condition with some period sharpening. This piece was actually used and not just worn for dress occasions. The blade is beautifully etched, with bright nickel-plated surfaces and fine frosting to the triple etches. The etches run both vertically and horizontally. The obverse features a massive boar near the ricasso and a stag chasing two does through the forest scene. On the reverse is a regal looking stag beside the ricasso and a kneeling hunter taking aim at a running stag with a hound in hot pursuit through the forest, ending with a hummingbird and an oak leaf and acorn motif.Winding along the spine of the blade is a budding leaf design.The original red felt blade buffer is in place and intact with no rips or tears.
Over all a fine example of an Imperial Hirschfanger with signs of actual use. Beauty and function on a grand scale!