thank you for your observations and info. It is mentioned on various sites including the official Canadian Mounties site that the pennon absorbed blood .....I personally feel that this action was one of its function.
I believe that the pennon added several advantages....
The 'fluttering' pennon would be a distraction to the 'target' ....I'm reminded of the Chinese long spear which had ribbons attached to the shaft just below the head for this purpose. Although after some 'action' I would assume that the blood soaked material would cling to the shaft and render it 'useless' in this case
A very interesting point about infection, archers used to stick their arrows into the ground to promote tetanus infection in the wounds of their targets. Often clothing fragments were forced into the wounds created by musket balls, due to poor hygiene these fragments caused 'deep' infection. This effect was known and a few realised that fresh, clean clothing at the start of battle could lessen this problem. A contaminated pennon could indeed act as a biological 'delivery device'
I still feel that absorption of blood was important, the lance, during battle, would not always be carried horizontally, in the melee with horses and men tightly 'bunched', to gain manoeuvrability the lance would have to be raised vertically thus allowing blood to run down to the handle/hand. The slippery nature of fresh blood would be a problem.
I am very lucky to have got these......they were advertised as African and the poor pictures only showed the upper bamboo shaft and the head. I immediately recognised these as British Lances ....others didn't...which was advantageous to me as few bid. It was only on collection that I even knew the lances were totally complete .....this grin
does not adequately show my face, as I was returning home after collecting them.
Kind Regards David