Rare Italian Targa Fencing shield Marozzo circa 1530

An extremely rare Italian fencing shield 'Targa' dating to the first half of the 16th Century. These small rectangular shields were illustrated in early Italian sword fighting treatises notably the manual by Achille Marozzo Opera nova dell’Arte delle armi written in 1536. Survivals of these bucklers are extremely rare and exist only in a handful of Museums worldwide. This example shows the typical construction, hide over a shaped wood base, strapped and rivetted with iron, the horn grip with two thumbpads to the iron above. The front retaining an original iron hook, the purpose of which is disputed, possibly a lantern hook although the thumbpads to the hilt suggest that this is not the case as it would then be upside down, alternatively a sword blade catcher. Surviving in fair condition, the wood wormed and fragile, edge losses, the hide stiffened and with losses.