Sword Handle GRIP WRAP
done the ancient Chinese way
ow to wrap a sword handle with cord is one of the rare and disappearing arts of ancient Chinese weaponry. A young man named, Peter Dekker, is among those reviving the process. There are plenty of people using quick and easy methods with cheaper materials, but if good enough isn't really good enough for the grip wrap on your sword hilt, this is the man to see.
On his grip wrapping tutorial, Peter says:
As the medium between your hand and the sword, a decent (tight) grip wrap is of great importance for the control on the weapon. Badly done grip wraps on edged weapons I bought and sold had annoyed me into studying and learning the technique so I could rewrap them myself.
Take a look at these beautiful wraps by clicking on the images to resize them. There are notes below the gallery explaining each one.
It is good to use the most authentic materials you can find in your grip wraps. The one Peter likes to use is hand woven by a Beijingnese collector especially to be used on antique swords and sabers.
Picture 1 shows a close up of the hilt of Peter's own cutting sabre. The sword has been enhanced by lacquering the fullers red (as on some Qing examples) and adding a Qing-style lanyard and black grip wrap with high grade handwoven cotton cord.
Picture 2 is of a traditional wrap he did on an antique dadao. Peter has artificially aged the wrap so that it does not look out of place on the genuine old sword.
Picture 3 shows what I think is a really beautiful wrap. It combines a lanyard and a grip wrap on a reproduction saber. The sword handle wrap is tied over a vermillion background, and with a separate hemp loop for extra contrast. Those loops look good but they are not easy to do. You have to judge the length of the grip almost to perfection if you don't want to have to unwrap and redo the whole thing.
Picture 4 shows an elaborate double diamond sword hilt wrap. This took Peter quite some time to figure out, and since he has only seen one example of this style on an antique, it is possible he is the only one using this difficult wrap since the fall of the Qing. Of course ... that's the one I'd be wanting if he was doing one of mine... There is another, even nicer example below.
I'd have to say this is my favourite of all the sword handle wraps I've seen so far. The blue and green cord blends beautifully with the antique sword. It is further enhanced by the artificial aging. Peter used dirt that fell from the hilt of a boxer era niuweidao when he removed it, for the aging process.
And one more ... everything about this sword is reproduction except the antique blade inside. This is what you can do when you only have a blade. It has reproduction fittings and a fresh grip wrap, making it a whole sword again.