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The use of a shield in conjunction with another weapon is an ancient concept, one utilized all over the world in many different time periods. Shields came in many shapes and sizes dependent on both function and fashion. Large square defenses made sense for the shield walls of ancient Rome, while small bucklers made sense to be hung on the belt of 15th century archers as a backup defense. Shields were carried for use by both soldiers and civilians alike. In modern times, the practice of western martial arts has caused many to research the historical methods of shield usage. Hard evidence of the use of larger shields of the mid to late medieval period is scarce, but there are many detailed treatises on the use of the sword and buckler (a small shield held in the fist). In fact, the oldest known fencing treatise is specifically focused on the use of the sword and buckler. This treatise is anonymous, and known only by its museum name of Royal Armouries MS I.33, or I.33 (one thirty-three) for short. This manual, along with many other treatises seen up through the Renaissance, depict detailed stances and techniques revealing the sophisticated yet graceful fighting methods of this combination. It is evident that the buckler held a strong place within the martial heritage of Europe from which modern martial artists can draw.
The buckler is not an exact replica of a particular piece, but is based on a style of buckler commonly seen from the 13th century onwards. It is a very light shield and does not feel flimsy. Quite the opposite in fact; it feels quite reassuring in hand, as the domed face of the shield add quite a bit of structural integrity without adding extra mass or weight. These have been used against steel blunts, and the only damage seen were a few superficial scuffs. The particular shape was not the only style of buckler in the Middle Ages. There are many with flat faces, or with a round center boss but with a convex rim. but this particular shape was the most common.
The buckler is comfortable to hold. There is ample space in the boss for the hand to fit without a problem. The grip itself is a sheet of steel sandwiched between curved wood. The general shape of the buckler is very well formed. The buckler was spun to shape, a process where the buckler is ground while rotating at a very high speed. This process allows the shields to be mass produced with less time and effort involved, which helps keep the price down. The drawback to this non-historical method is that it leaves the face "too perfect" for a true replica - someone involved in living history or reenactment who has a high demand for historical accuracy should take note of this, but it is the only fault we could find. The rivets holding the grip down are nicely domed with no sharp spots, and the rim is rolled back so that there are no dangerous edges. For martial arts purposes this is important to help ensure safety. The rear of the buckler is painted a flat black, which is a period solution for preventing rust.
Width: 30.3cm (excluding curvature)
Thickness: 14 gauge
Weight: 1.2 kg