French Leather Backswording Guard
French Leather Backswording Guard

French Leather Backswording Guard

1700 to 1900 France

Offered by Finch & Co

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An Unusual French Leather Backswording Guard the interior marked with a Red Napoleonic ‘N’
Late 18th Century

Size: 15cm dia. (max) 12cm high – 6 ins dia. (max) 4¾ ins high
Provenance: Ex English Private collection

A backsword is a single-edged metal sword, but as steel was very expensive, and could be lethal, provincial contests were often fought with a stout stick. Backswording was used as practice for either fencing or swordsmanship. A straight ash or oak ‘cudgel’ was placed through and held in a protective leather guard by the hand. To win a game one had to score a ‘blood’, which was to produce a one-inch long trickle of blood from a point above your opponents’ eyeline. Contestants were constantly looking for an opening to get under their opponents guard and then when they did, striking hard to make their mark.
Medium
Leather
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