Hello! I have a question about this sword based on one that I recently acquired.
Almost every example of the Iranian type of this sabre appears to have a metal scabbard, with the ring for suspending the scabbard on the same side as the back of the blade (when sheathed, the ring of the hand guard and the ring of the scabbard are on the same side).
Comparatively, the Russian versions appear to have leather scabbards but the ring on the scabbard is on the same side as the front edge of the blade.
The sword I have appears to be the Persian version (Farsi numerals on the blade and hilt). However, the scabbard is leather, and the orientation of the scabbard ring is on the same side as the front edge of the blade (like the Russian versions, but higher up on the scabbard). However, unlike the Russian versions of the scabbard, where both sides of the leather appear smooth, this scabbard as stitching on one of the sides. It looks like these examples:
In the first link you can see that the scabbard ring is on the same side as the front edge of the blade. On the second one, it isn't entirely clear, but it kind of looks like the opposite orientation. So my question really is, what side should the ring of the scabbard be on?
My understanding is that the Russians wore it edge up, which would mean the scabbard ring would be facing up. However, if my sword were to be worn that way (as I have seen in some historical photos) the scabbard side with the stitching would be facing out. The stitching doesn't seem like the type of fancy stitching you would want to display, but rather the functional stitching holding the leather together. It isn't too hard to take the metal piece with the ring off the scabbard and switch it around, but I just wanted to make sure I was keeping the sword accurate.
Could anyone share some insight on this? Is this a Persian sword meant to be worn in the Russian style, or a Persian sword that should be worn edge down, but at some point someone switched the orientation of the scabbard ring?
does not seem razor sharp, but I haven't tried cutting anything. it looks thought as if it were meant to be sharp, compared to a blade that has been deliberately dulled or made with a false edge. The blade seems pretty flexible without staying bent.
Thanks for your insight Edelweiss. That makes a lot of sense. I looked at a few pictures of saddle-mounted swords, and that sort of set up would appear to work with this sword.
I guess what threw me off originally was seeing how the russian 1881 was worn on people, with the hand guard facing back. If this sword was worn that way on the left side of the body, that stitched side of the leather would be facing out.
Any idea why this version of the Persian sword would have a different scabbard compared to the others? Could it be a cavalry rather than dragoon version?
Are there any markings on the scabbard? It's possible they weren't an original pair. If they are an original pair, my guess would be it was for an officer, and the standard troopers got the metal scabbards.
I thought about the possibility of it not being an original pair. There are no numerals/markings on the scabbard like in the other Persian sabers.
However, based on my online internet image research (the two links in my original post), there are at least two other examples out there of a Persian-marked sword in this type of leather scabbard, so it doesn't appear to be a unique pairing.
The orientation of the scabbard ring on this one is the opposite of mine...so maybe mine is actually the wrong way on? It isn't too difficult to slide it off, so it is possible that it fell off and got put back on the wrong way.
The Russian wooden scabbards have an interesting adjustable suspension system for use on both foot and horseback, which makes sense considering the 1881 pattern was strongly influenced by the Cossack shashka (that's why it's worn edge up) and designed with dragoons, or "mounted infantry", foremost in mind.
In addition to the ring, there's also a flat loop cast into the back of the brass throat and a corresponding hook on the suspension strap, about two thirds of the way up its length:
You can either let the sword hang at the full length of the strap by the ring alone, which gives a lot of leeway for controlling it with your hand (and, perhaps even more importantly, looks rakishly cool!) or lift it up and hang it by the hook, making it hug your body much more closely, higher up and in a near vertical position. Adjusting it is a matter of seconds, so you genuinely get the best of both worlds.
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