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State Partisan for an Officer of the Guard of the Sleeve of King Louis XIV of France

Artist/maker unknown, French

Made in France, Europe

c. 1670-1680

Original wooden shaft covered with velvet; brass nails; brass cap at bottom of shaft; pierced, chased, blued, silvered, and gilded iron alloy; probably original tassel of textile threads

Length: 7 feet 4 3/8 inches (224.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 247, Arms and Armor, second floor (Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Galleries)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Bequest of Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch, 1977

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This state partisan was made for an officer of the Garde de la Manche (Guard of the Sleeve) of King Louis XIV France (reigned 1643 to 1715).

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    This elegant polearm, of a type known as a partisan, was probably carried by an officer in the Guards of the Sleeve, one of the elite bodyguard units of Louis XIV of France. Such polearms, which were made in a series with matching, elaborately decorated heads, were traditionally carried by the ceremonial guards of European monarchs, the upper echelon of the nobility, and the highest-ranking churchmen. This example is decorated with personal symbols of Louis XIV rather than the heraldic insignia usually found on these weapons. A prominent feature is the radiant head of Apollo, god of the sun, a favorite emblem of Louis XIV, the Sun King; it is surrounded by his motto. Below is the figure of Hercules--long associated with the French monarchy--before a column, representing the king's military power. The design of the partisan has been attributed to the influential court ornament designer Jean Berain, who was also responsible for the decoration of royal firearms. Donald J. LaRocca, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 135.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.

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