Ross Arms was created by Jeffrey Ross to connect with likeminded, collectors, students and scholars in the field of arms and armour research, collection, preservation and appreciation.
I started collecting twenty years ago and like many collectors started with smaller more affordable artifacts. My focus has always been on edged weapons so the collection started with bayonets and early axes as they were both affordable as well as available. The bayonet interest diminished very quickly, as it became apparent to me very early on that my greatest passion lay in the artistry of early hand forged weapons that displayed as much natural colour and patina as possible.
I have come to view the collection of antique arms as a collection of fine arts as well as weapons for the martial arts. I am captivated by the quality of workmanship in arms forged and decorated by multi generational master armourers, and decorative tradesman working in time periods when art was of great importance to human expression and personal adornment. I am attracted to their sculptural forms, their textures and colours as well as the intricate attention to detail paid by the artisans that gilded, chiselled, embossed, etched and inlaid the arms that were produced.
Like all great studies, there are multiple layers to this discipline and as such my focus is not only on the artistic value of the objects but also their place in human history, and how each item helped to shape the socio-cultural as well as political landscape in which they existed. To this end I am fascinated by the form and function of these objects as weapons and how they fit within the context of the martial arts of their respective periods.
There is nothing like a well-balanced weapon, such as a sword that was created by an armourer whose trade and livelihood was the production of weapons of war. The armourer trade, like all important trades was often passed down through multiple generations in a family. Masters taught apprentices and guilds were formed to protect the craft. In an era where both the skill of the warrior as well as the skill of the armourer could determine life and death on a battlefield, exceptional weapons were created for us to admire now as much as they were then.
I have been very fortunate in my education thus far. I have been introduced to world class collectors and scholars in this field of study and as a result I have had the opportunity to see, handle and study authentic arms of multiple eras and cultures worldwide. I believe that for the sake of the artifacts and for the sake of the collector/students that will act as their custodians as they pass down through time, it is very important that we share our knowledge in an effort to preserve these important works of art and history. It will also assist other collectors in avoiding the pitfalls associated with the overly altered and outright fakery that exists in areas where significant money is involved in the trade of these interesting artifacts.