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French Napoleonic Hussarís Sabretache, 19th C (Second Empire)
The sabretache is one of the most distinctive parts of the 19th C hussarís dress. Worn from the belt and often highly decorative, it was used to carry orders and dispatches because the tight fitting uniform of the hussar generally had no pockets. While they can trace their origin back to the 10th C Hungarian horseman's flat leather bag called a tarsoly, they did not become popular until the end of the 18th C. They were generally discarded by the end of the 19th C, though some regiments continued their use for ceremonial purposes. This example has a black leather pouch attached to a board with leather on the reverse and the outside covered in green wool, bordered by two sewn 3/4" wide yellow bands. The edge has a sewn dyed black border. In the center are mounted an embossed gilt brass French Second Empire Eagle, surmounted by a separate crown. The sabretache is supported by three leather belt loops with adjustable brass buckles. Condition is generally very good, with some fading and stains to the textiles. There is one tiny moth hole (about 2 x 3 mm) in the green wool near the top border and the edge shows wear and has lost about half of its black dye. Hanging straps are complete and show cracking and some dye loss. Minor wear to gilding. Cover dimensions: 12 3/4" long by 10 3/4" wide. An attractive part of the hussar uniform which rarely survives.
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