Partisan Carried by the Bodyguard of Louis XIV (1638–1715, reigned from 1643)
Dated: circa 1678–1709
Sword cutler: inscription probably refers to Bonaventure Ravoisie (French, Paris, recorded 1678–1709)
Culture: French, Paris
Medium: steel, gold, wood, textile
Measurements: overall length 94 1/8 inches (239 cm); length of head 22 9/16 inches (57.3 cm); width of head 6 ½ inches (16.5 cm)
Inscription: decoration on this partisan features a sunburst surmounted by Louis XIV’s motto, NEC PLURIBUS IMPAR (Not equaled by many); inscribed along the curved lower edge on both sides of the blade: RAVOISIE FOVRBISSEVR DV ROY A PARIS
Provenance: Ex coll.: de Dino
This partisan, along with two like it also in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection (acc. nos. 14.25.454, 04.3.64), are thought to have been carried by the Gardes de la Manche (literally, “guards of the sleeve,” indicating their close proximity to the king), an elite unit of the bodyguard of Louis XIV.
This example (along with 04.3.64) bears the king’ motto and sunburst above the crowned arms of France and Navarre, which are encircled by the collars of the royal orders of the Holy Spirit and Saint Michael. It is inscribed RAVOISIE FOVRBISSEVR DV ROY A PARIS, probably referring to Bonaventure Ravoisie, a royal cutler recorded between 1678 and 1709.
The other partisan (14.25.454) is from a small group designed by Jean Bérain the Elder (1637–1711) for the marriage of Louis’s niece Marie-Louise d'rléans to Carlos II of Spain in 1679. The decoration features a sunburst surmounted by the king’s motto, ‘NEC PLURIBUS IMPAR’ (’not equalled by many’). Beneath, the sun god Apollo is being crowned with laurel by the winged figure of Fame. The sunburst and Apollo were favourite symbols of Louis XIV, the self-styled Sun King.
So I met GRRM today and my question for him was “What would Robb Stark have named his sword?“ The response was, after some thought, “something wolfy. Like wolf’s something, tooth or claw.” This means two things Robb Stark is a nerd who would name his sword, and I will now be referring to his sword as “Something Wolfy”
Buzzfeed recently released a post that featured this incredibly beautiful gallery of reimagined Disney posters. While some of these movies are among the list of my favorite films of all time, and others featured here are films that I am not a huge fan of, I think we can all agree that ALL of these pieces are impressive. Enjoy.
In 1662 Louis XIV chose the image of the sun in splendour as his emblem, an act which sparked his transformation into the Sun King. The sun image was prominently featured on countless works during Louis’ reign, and this partizan for the royal bodyguards is no exception. Above the sun, the partizan also carries Louis’ motto “nec pluribus impar”, which translates as “not equalled by many”, or less literally but perhaps more comprehensibly, “equalled by no one”.