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'Cutting-edge History' at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden of the Netherlands

The exhibition Cutting-edge History revolves around one of the best-known weapons in world history: the sword. All the exceptional swords in the collection of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden will be on display together, in combination with loans from other collections, until 2 October 2016. Nearly two hundred in number, they come from several continents, and their origins range from prehistory to the twentieth century. These marvellous, murderous weapons tell their own stories.

'Cutting-edge History' at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden of the Netherlands
Swords from the exhibition 'Cutting-edge History' 
[Credit: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden]
More than just weapons

The National Museum of Antiquities has the largest archaeological sword collection in the country. Loans from the Netherlands and abroad enrich the exhibition and bring the story up to the twentieth century. The exhibition shows how swords were made and what ritual and symbolic meanings they had. Because they come from different countries, they show a clear variety of forms, materials, and decorations. A few especially noteworthy swords are in the spotlight, such as the prehistoric sword of the Chieftain of Oss and a gilded sword from Dorestad.

'Cutting-edge History' at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden of the Netherlands
Collection of swords, on display in 'Cutting-edge History' 
[Credit: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden]
Swords with personalities

Swords are so much more than just weapons. For centuries, they have symbolized power, justice, and the art of war. They often have a special status and are seen as having personalities of their own. Swords still have a hold on the imagination, as do the people who wore them: warriors, knights, and soldiers.

Source: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden [July 13, 2016]

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