The appeal of the armorer's craft

In an article for The Guardian, James Fenton looks at the armorer's craft and its continuing appeal to museum visitors.

From the article:

"Many a parent must have spent a Saturday or two looking at arms and armour, after exhausting the dinosaurs. But there are other reasons for taking an interest in armets and arquebuses, basinets, brandistocks, brigandines, burgonets, gardbraces, glaives and so forth. A pleasure in words alone might be one. I see, for instance, that to describe correctly the elements of the hilt of a rapier, from the blade to the button (the end point of the pommel), you must know and identify the side ring, the ricasso, the quillon block, the forward and the rear quillon, the grip and the knuckle guard.

To take such pleasure in an exact technical description may not be to everybody's taste. To take a pleasure in ancient metalwork is not eccentric. Metalwork is a fundamental category of material culture, like cloth or ceramics. And these arms could not have a more powerful message for us. I kill, they say, and I protect: I am designed for death, and I am designed for life."