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Nathan M Wuorio




Location: Maine.
Joined: 17 Mar 2008
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Sun 05 Oct, 2008 10:55 pm    Post subject: Leather Finger Loops on Sabres         Reply with quote

Hi all,
I was recently browsing through Ebay's antique sword listings and I came across two different sabres, one a swiss 1869 cavalry sabre, and the other a Japanese WWII military sabre. Each of them had something I'd never seen before: a leather finger loop inside the guard. I'm guessing it was for better handling rather then protection. Was this common among sabres? When was the finger loop first used? I have seen many antique sabres and own a few and I don't recall ever seeing this before.

Some pics below. Hopefully they show.



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The Japanese sabre.

Nathan.
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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 715

PostPosted: Mon 06 Oct, 2008 5:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Nathan,

i'm a student of classical sabre fencing ( late XIXth century italian school) and add a leather loop inside the guard,
like the one in your pictures, is quite common in my fencing accademy. I cant't tell you if the practice was
common in the past but the handling is much improved if you put the first two fingers inside the loop.

Gabriel
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Mon 06 Oct, 2008 6:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I cannot comment on the handling, but the leather loop appears in the mid-19th century on German military swords. Iíll see if I can dig up any more photos for you.

A word of caution on the sword you have pictured; it appears to be a modern Chinese replica/fake.

All the best,
Jonathan
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Konstantin Tsvetkov




PostPosted: Mon 06 Oct, 2008 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is one: German (Prussian) 1914 curassier sword.


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Last edited by Konstantin Tsvetkov on Tue 07 Oct, 2008 8:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Nathan M Wuorio




Location: Maine.
Joined: 17 Mar 2008
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Mon 06 Oct, 2008 3:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for your input! It just seemed odd because I have never seen something like it before. Also, I wasn't planning on purchasing this item, just curious. I'll have to look closer at the other swords that I may find in the future, to make sure they're not fakes. That German Curassier Sabre looks really nice, I wish I had it. I would love to see those photos Jonathan, if it's not too much trouble.
Any other information would be greatly valued!

Nathan.
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 1,039

PostPosted: Mon 06 Oct, 2008 6:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

FWIW, here is an antique Japanese saber of the same type, also with the leather loop.

Personally, I see these loops as a cheaper re-invention of the thumb and finger rings you see on earlier swords with more complex hilts. I can tell you, those really do improve one's grip substantially.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 715

PostPosted: Tue 07 Oct, 2008 12:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's right, basically the leather loop has the same function of a thunb ring,
and as a thumb ring it provide for a secure and less tiring grip when you perform
sabre "mulinelli" motions. if you have ever handled a sabre you can notice the difference.

gabriele
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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Posts: 1,265

PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct, 2008 9:00 am    Post subject: Leather Finger Loops on Sabres         Reply with quote

Here is a Swiss Cavalry Officer's Sword, 1899 Pattern.
Note the leather finger loop within the guard.



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