Vorpal Sword

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The Vorpal Sword was made for the Masters of Fire exhibition in Macao 2007. At the time I was particularly fascinated by large but compact and wide bladed long swords, such as the XVIIIc swords of the Alexandria group.

The intention was to make a sword that clearly belonged to the European tradition, but at the same time incorporated something slightly out of scale and fantastic.
I have always loved the poem Jabberwocky from Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. While nonsensical, it still sums up the important themes in the myth of the vanquishing of the Monster, about the Young Hero facing the threats of the unknown and overcoming them, the Old King/Father being revived by the triumph of the Prince/Son. It is complete in its set of symbols but manage to convey the familiar story in a fresh way by almost hiding its telling in the tulgey wood of whimsical words.

I find the Vorpal Sword to be the perfect theme for Sword-out-of-time projects. The theme allows for swords made to convey a sense of adventure and epic legends with perhaps a hint of them belonging to a time period, only to give the imagination something to feed on.

 

Jabberwocky

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

‘Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!’

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood a while in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

‘And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Lewis Carroll

Photos by PointSeven