# 5001 / Awesome Rare Pair of Pierced Steel Scissors made as a gift for Pope Pius IX. Gennaro Villani, Campobasso 1846-1854

Campobasso is a city in southern Italy, the capital of the Molise region and of the province of Campobasso.

Campobasso is renowned for the craftmanship of blades including scissors and knives, historically documented since the 14th century when the primary purpose of this process was the production of weapons. From the 16th century onwards, with the advent of the domination of Ferrante Gonzaga, the foundations were laid for Campobasso to become an important and well-known center for the production of weapons.

A noteworthy event that brought about a radical change in this art was, in 1750, the edict of Charles III of Bourbon, which forbade the production of edged weapons in the Kingdom of Naples, and therefore also in the Molise area and in Campobasso, where objects for agriculture or everyday use, such as razors and knives, began to be made. It was in this context, between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, that perforated steel was born. The credit goes to Carlo Rinaldi and Francesco Foresta who were the first to have the intuition of making their blades "elegant", working them artistically.

The Campobasso artisans distinguished themselves in various displays and exhibitions, the chronicles of the time are filled with the names of talented artisans from Molise, such as those of the Rinaldi, Villani and De Stefano families and also Michele Gravina, Scipione Santangelo

A great exponent of this form of art applied to production was Pasquale Villani who was the head of a family of skilled steel craftsmen. His sons, Gennaro and Raffaele, were able to deserve prizes and awards in various circumstances.

In 1844 Pasquale obtained a gold medal in Naples while his son Gennaro was awarded the bronze

It is precisely to Gennaro Villani that we owe the production of this awesome and unique pair of scissors made as gift for Pope Pius IX between 1846 (starting date of the pontificate) and 1854 (date of Villani's death)

The quality of workmanship of these pierced scissors is superb with extremely fine decoration. They are very light and delicate with large and flat tapering blades nicely chased on the spines. The body with the Pius IX - Mastai Ferretti coat of arms showing the papal tiara surmounted by a cross, with the keys of Saint Peter. A flower is engraved on the blades tang on both sides. The fine decoration below the oval loops bears the inscription *P IX* (Pius IX). Blades are inners stamped with the initials *GV* for Gennaro Villani

They measure 11,5 cm in length and still maintains the original rounded tip. Very nice patina with almost no rust

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