How to Display Swords: Instructions, Tools, and Tips
What’s in this article?
Swords are bladed weapons with a history of more than 4000 years. Evolving through the rise and fall of civilizations and technological advancements, they are now more than mere instruments of war. Today, swords are displayed in various environments but there is an etiquette one needs to follow.
In this article, we explore the reasons for sword display, how to do it properly, and the items required to do so.
Why Display Swords?
If you have a sword collection that is hidden away, there are many reasons to have them on display, just as one would with a painting. Showcasing swords as art not only allows one to appreciate them for their beauty, but also to pique an interest and ignite a conversation in the history and culture of each piece. For some, sword collecting is an important way to pay tribute to the martial arts they practice.
6 Sword Display Tools
When it comes to displaying swords, there are specific items and tools that are required depending if the blades are displayed vertically, horizontally, in a traditional style, or under glass.
1. Wall Sword Rack
A sword rack is one of the most popular ways to display swords as they do not take as much space and can hold multiple swords. This is mainly because sword racks can be mounted on the wall and have different tier levels. Wall sword racks can be made of wood or steel. They can also be safely mounted on furniture or in front of a fireplace where they can be easily appreciated.
2. Sword Hanger
A sword hanger is mounted on the wall or a strong surface to display swords at various angles. One of the simplest and cheapest methods to display a sword, sword hangers are usually made of metal. It is great as it requires very little maintenance and allows swords to be displayed vertically. It allows the swords on display to be easily accessible as well. For aesthetic purposes, sword hangers can be mounted in a pattern one prefers.
3. Sword Stand
Sword stands are placed on a hard surface to “hold” the sword. Often a favorite of sword enthusiasts that want to display their swords in a traditional way (horizontally), these stands are available in single, double, or more levels. It is usually made of wood and can be used to display different swords from other cultures.
4. Sword Holder
A sword holder is another option to display swords in a vertical position. This is for aesthetic purposes as it represents the blade as if it is resting in a sideways position, placed beside an armor piece. Sword holders can be placed on the ground or wall, and can be made from wood or metal. While they make great for aesthetics in a room, the oil applied on the blade for maintenance will gradually drip down, a reason why some collectors avoid them.
5. Sword Case
A sword case is the safest way to display a sword, allowing it to be unsheathed while remaining protected from dust and rust. Great for antique blades, sword cases can be made of wood or metal while featuring glass sides to allow its viewers to appreciate its details. Depending on one’s preferences, sword cases can hold a single or multiple blades.
Swords should be sheathed in scabbards when they are not in use, especially during long-term storage or display. Since carbon steel blades are prone to rusting, they should be kept in their scabbards while stainless steel swords can be displayed unsheathed, but will require proper maintenance to keep it in its optimal condition.
Swords Display Tips
There are some crucial factors to consider when displaying swords
- Start by choosing a display tool depending on one’s preferences. For example, a sword hanger might work better for a Claymore that hangs down, while a sword rack may be better for average sized swords (39 inch / 1 m).
- Consider the space and how much room is available to display the swords without being bumped into and causing accidents.
- Make sure the sword display is mounted securely.
- Keep the display area away from direct sunlight and areas with high humidity.
- Keep the swords sheathed when the blades are not displayed.
- Regularly oil and clean the dust off your swords.
The swords are displayed as they were once traditionally carried. For example, a Japanese Katana is displayed with the edge pointing up, while a Chinese Dao has their edge down as it historically had suspension fittings on its scabbards, the same as European swords.
In regards to where and how the swords are displayed, it all comes down to personal preferences. Some cultures like the Japanese have the handle on the left side while on display, an indicator of peaceful times. Some also have their blades pointing to the door so as to repel negative energy.