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Old 5th July 2017, 12:37 AM   #7
Philip's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 479
Default officer portrait -- wear and deployment of saber

Thanks for sharing this image!

An interesting aside is the position of the saber in its scabbard, hung so that its hilt faces the rear, to avoid getting tangled with the bow in its case, which faces forward. This is typical Manchu practice.

It actually makes for an efficient draw of the blade, since the soldier would have to rotate the lower part of the scabbard rearward with the left hand, and his right will be grasping the hilt for an EDGE UP draw. With the saber fully out, he can cut in any direction as opposed to an edge-down draw, which requires an additional twist of the wrist to deploy the weapon's edge against an opponent. It is for this very reason that many Eastern swords are worn edge-up in a sash (katana, yataghan), or slung on a belt in such way to permit this kind of draw (the shashka is a prime example). If you have a sheathed kilij or shamshir without is suspension cords, try rigging up your own suspension and you will find that these sabers tend to hang in a peculiar angle with the edge up and slightly outward from the side of the body. Factoring in the deep curve of many of these, it makes for a very ergonomic draw!
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