Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
The Sword Knot.
I always wondered about sword knots...?
The sword knot or sword strap, sometimes called a tassel, is a lanyard—usually of leather but sometimes of woven gold or silver bullion, or more often metallic lace—looped around the hand to prevent the sword being lost if it is dropped. Although they have a practical function, sword knots often had a decorative design. For example, the British Army generally adopted a white leather strap with a large acorn knot made out of gold wire for infantry officers at the end of the 19th century; such acorn forms of tassels were said to be 'boxed', which was the way of securing the fringe of the tassel along its bottom line such that the strands could not separate and become entangled or lost. Many sword knots were also made of silk with a fine, ornamental alloy gold or silver metal wire woven into it in a specified pattern.
The art and history of tassels are known by its French name, passementerie, or Posamenten as it was called in German. The military output of the artisans called passementiers (ornamental braid, lace, cord, or trimmings makers) is evident in catalogs of various military uniform and regalia makers of centuries past. The broader art form of passementerie, with its divisions of Decor, Clergy and Nobility, Upholstery, Coaches and Livery, and Military, is covered in a few books on that subject, none of which are in English.
Indian swords had the tassel attached through an eyelet at the end of the pommel.
Chinese swords, both jian and dao, often have lanyards or tassels attached. As with Western sword knots, these serve both decorative and practical functions, and the manipulation of the tassel is a part of some jian performances. The way I read it with Jian it emphasizes the flow of the sword practise ..like water flowing or ~ When a tassel is handled correctly it is like the water dragon dancing around the mountain (sword).
Germany 19th century: Various colours and tassels of sword knots.
1. German cavalry officers' Stichdegen (dress sword) with sword knot, or
Troddel. When worn, the sword knot is wrapped around the sword guard, or sometimes looped though a slot in the guard.
2. Various different colours of German Sword tassels.
3. Tulvar showing the loop on the apex of the pommel through which a sword knot could be tied.
4. British Officers Infantry Sword and knot; 1845 to 1950.