A sash is a large and usually colorful ribbon or band of material worn around the body, draping from one shoulder to the opposing hip, or else running around the waist. The sash around the waist may be worn in daily attire, but the sash from shoulder to hip is worn on ceremonial occasions only. Ceremonial sashes are also found in a V-shaped format, draping from both shoulders to the stomach like a large necklace.

A painting of Captain Kidd with a red sash around his waist

Military useEdit

 
Elaborately embroidered sash from 1635 to 1642

In the mid- and late-16th century waist and shoulder sashes came up as mark of (high) military rank or to show personal affection to a political party or nation. During the Thirty Years' War the distinctive sash colour of the House of Habsburg was red while their French opponents wore white or blue sashes and the Swedish voted for blue sashes.

Since then sashes have been part of formal military attire (compare the sword-belt known as a baldric, and the cummerbund). Thus several other modern armies retain waist-sashes for wear by officers in ceremonial uniforms. These include the armies of Norway (crimson sashes), Sweden (yellow and blue), Greece (light blue and white), the Netherlands (orange), Portugal (crimson) and Spain (red and gold for generals, light blue for general staff and crimson for infantry officers).[1] The Spanish Regulares (infantry descended from colonial regiments formerly recruited in Spanish Morocco) retain their historic waist-sashes for all ranks in colours that vary according to the unit.[2]

 
The sashes of the French Foreign Legion are blue.

Sashes are a distinctive feature of some regiments of the modern French Army for parade dress. They are worn around the waist in the old Algerian or zouave style ("ceinture de laine"). Traditionally these sashes were more than 4 m (13 ft) in length and 40 cm (16 in) in width. In the historic French Army of Africa, sashes were worn around the waist in either blue for European or red for indigenous troops.[3]

The modern British Army retains a scarlet sash for wear in certain orders of dress by sergeants and above serving in infantry regiments, over the right shoulder to the left hip. A similar crimson silk net sash is worn around the waist by officers of the Foot Guards in scarlet full dress and officers of line infantry in dark blue "Number 1" dress. The same practice is followed in some Commonwealth armies.

The present-day armies of India and Pakistan both make extensive use of waist-sashes for ceremonial wear. The colours vary widely according to regiment or branch and match those of the turbans where worn. Typically two or more colours are incorporated in the sash, in vertical stripes. One end hangs loose at the side and may have an ornamental fringe. The practice of wearing distinctive regimental sashes or cummerbunds goes back to the late nineteenth century.[4]

Cross-belts resembling sashes are worn by Drum Majors in the Dutch, British and some Commonwealth armies. These carry scrolls bearing the names of battle honours.

In the United States Army sashes were worn by sergeants and officers from the early days on. In 1821 the red sashes (crimson for officers) were limited to first sergeants and above. In 1872 the sashes were abolished by all ranks but generals who continued to wear their buff silk sashes in full dress until 1917. Waist sashes (in combination with a sabre) in the old style are still worn by the officers and senior NCOs of the Commander-in-Chief's Guard of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) as well by the West Point Band drum major along with the West Point cadet officers.[5][6] The drum major of the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps also still wears a waist sash, but no sidearms.

At the time of the American Civil War (1861–65) generals of the regular US Army wore silk sashes in buff. Officers were authorized silk sashes in crimson (medical officers: emerald) while red woolen sashes were entitled to senior non-commissioned officers (Army Regulations of 1861). In the Confederate Army sashes were worn by all sergeant ranks and officers. The colour indicated the corps or status of the wearer. For example: yellow for cavalry, burgundy for infantry, black for chaplains, red for sergeants, green or blue for medics, and grey or cream for general officers.

Until 1914 waist-sashes in distinctive national colours were worn as a peace-time mark of rank by officers of the Imperial German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian armies, amongst others. Japanese officers continued the practice in full dress uniform until 1940.[7]

Modern civilian and cultural useEdit

 
Prince Louis, Duke of Nemours wearing a red sash (Legion of Honour) together with his ceremonial military uniform. Date 1840s.
 
Winner of a beauty pageant wearing two sashes
 
President of Republic of Suriname wearing a ceremonial V-style sash

With the genesis of complex systems of military and civilian awards during the 18th century in most European countries, sashes became a distinguishing part of decorations and are mostly worn along with medals or orders. Today most of the European royal families wear sashes as a part of their royal (and/or military) regalia. Some orders such as the Légion d'honneur include sashes as part of the seniormost grades' insignia. Likewise, Italian military officers wear light blue sashes over the right shoulder on ceremonial occasions.

In Latin America and some countries of Africa, a special presidential sash indicates a president's authority. In France and Italy, sashes, featuring the national flag tricolours and worn on the right shoulder, are used by public authorities and local officials, such as legislators, in public ceremonial events.

In the United States, the sash has picked up a more ceremonial and less practical purpose. Sashes are used at higher education commencement ceremonies, by high school homecoming parade nominees, in beauty pageants, as well as by corporations to acknowledge high achievement.

In Canada, hand-woven sashes (called ceintures fléchées and sometimes "L'Assomption sash" after a town in which they were mass-produced) were derived from Iroquoiuan carrying belts sometime in the 18th century. As a powerful multi-use tool this sash found use in the fur trade which brought it into the North West. In this period the weave got tighter and size expanded, with some examples more than four metres in length. Coloured thread was widely used. Today it is considered to be primarily a symbol of the 1837 Lower Canada Rebellion Patriotes and the Métis peoples.

In Ireland, especially Northern Ireland, the sash is a symbol of the Orange Order. Orange Order sashes were originally of the ceremonial shoulder-to-hip variety as worn by the British military. Over the 20th century, the sash has been mostly replaced by V-shaped collarettes, which are still generally referred to as sashes. The item is celebrated in the song 'The Sash my Father Wore'.

Sashes are also worn by Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Beauty Pageant Participants. Badges are sewn onto the sash, to indicate achievements of the Scout.

Sashes are part of the diplomatic uniform of many countries.

Many modern schools of Chinese martial arts use sashes of various colors to denote rank as a reflection of the Japanese ranking system using belts.

The Japanese equivalent of a sash, obi, serves to hold a kimono or yukata together.

Honorific ordersEdit

Sashes are indicative of holding the class of Grand Cross or Grand Cordon in a chivalric order or an order of merit. The sash is usually worn from the right shoulder to the left hip. A few orders do the contrary, according to their traditional statute.

 
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge wearing Garter Riband and Star
 
Knight of the Garter in the 1720s with Garter sash

Orders with the sash worn on the left shoulderEdit

Europe :

Asia :

Malaysia :

  Federation of Malaysia
Decorations Post-nominal Grade Ribbon Sources
The Most Exalted and Most Illustrious Royal Family Order of Malaysia
Darjah Kerabat Diraja Malaysia
DKM Recipient   [12]
The Most Exalted Order of the Crown of the Realm
Darjah Utama Seri Mahkota Negara
DMN Recipient   [12]
  Sultanate of Kedah
The Most Illustrious Royal Family Order of Kedah
Darjah Kerabat Yang Amat Mulia Kedah
DK Member   [citation needed]
  Sultanate of Kelantan
The Most Esteemed Royal Family Order (Kelantan) (Al-Yunusi Star)
Darjah Kerabat Yang Amat di-Hormati (Bintang al-Yunusi)
DK Recipient   [citation needed]
  Sultanate of Negeri Sembilan
The Most Illustrious Royal Family Order of Negeri Sembilan
Darjah Kerabat Neegri Sembilan Yang Amat di-Mulia
DKNS Member   [citation needed]
The Order of Negeri Sembilan - Darjah Negeri Sembilan
Darjah Tertinggi Negeri Sembilan DTNS Paramount   [citation needed]
Darjah Mulia Negeri Sembilan DMNS Illustrious  
  Sultanate of Pahang
The Most Illustrious Royal Family Order of Pahang
Darjah Kerabat Yang Maha Mulia Utama Kerabat di-Raja Pahang
DKP Member (Ahli)   [citation needed]
The Most Esteemed Family Order of the Crown of Indra of Pahang
Darjah Kerabat Sri Indra Mahkota Pahang Yang Amat di-Hormati
DK I Member 1st class  
  Sultanate of Perak
The Most Esteemed Royal Family Order of Perak
Darjah Kerabat di-Raja Yang Amat di-Hormati
DK Member (Ahli)  
(before 2001)
 
(after 2001)
[citation needed]
The Most Esteemed Perak Family Order of Sultan Azlan Shah
Darjah Kerabat Sultan Azlan Shah Perak Yang Amat di-Hormati
DKSA Superior class   [citation needed]
The Most Esteemed Azlanii Royal Family Order
Darjah Yang Teramat Mulia Darjah Kerabat Azlanii
DKA I Member First Class   [citation needed]
  Sultanate of Perlis
The Most Esteemed Royal Family Order of Perlis
Darjah Kerabat di-Raja Perlis Yang Amat Amat di-Hormati
DKP Recipient   [citation needed]
The M. Est. Perlis Family Order of the Gallant Prince Syed Putra Jamalullail
Darjah Kerabat Perlis Baginda Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail Yang Amat Amat di-Hormati
DK Recipient   [citation needed]
  Sultanate of Selangor
The Most Esteemed Royal Family Order of Selangor - Darjah Kerabat Selangor Yang Amat di-Hormati
Darjah Kerabat Selangor Pertama DK I First Class   [citation needed]
Darjah Kerabat Selangor Kedua DK II Second Class   [13]
  Sultanate of Terengganu
The Most Exalted Supreme Royal Family Order of Terengganu (10/03/1981)
Darjah Utama Kerabat di-Raja Terengganu Yang Amat di-Hormati
DKT Member (Ahli)   [citation needed]
The Most Distinguished Family Order of Terengganu (19/06/1962)
Darjah Kebesaran Kerabat Terengganu Yang Amat Mulia
DK I Member 1st class
Ahli Yang Pertama
  [citation needed]

Classified examples of current orders' sashesEdit

Colours classified in
the order of the rainbow :
White Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet Black
                 
WHITE
  ( )
Order of the Dannebrog
  ( )
Order of Grimaldi
  ( )
Order of Vytautas the Great
  /   ( )
Order of Isabella the Catholic
  ( )
Order of Liberty
RED
  ( )
Order of the Golden Fleece
  ( )
Order of Christ
  ( )
Order of the Legion of Honour
  ( )
Order of the Lion of Finland
  ( )
Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
  ( )
Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria
  ( )
Order of Saint-Charles
  ( )
Order of May
  ( )
Order of the White Lion
  ( )
Order of the Crown of Tonga
  ( )
Royal Order of Pouono
  ( )
Order of St. Olav
  ( )
Royal Order of King Sobhuza II
  ( )
Military Order of Swaziland
  ( )
Royal Order of Cambodia
  ( )
Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  /   ( )
Order of Logohu
  ( )
Order of the White Elephant
  ( )
Order of the Golden Heart
  ( )
Order of the Burning Spear
  ( )
Order of the Chrysanthemum
  /   ( )
Order of Merit of the Principality of Liechtenstein
  ( )
Order of the Star of Romania
  ( )
Order of Saint Gregory the Great
  ( )
Order of the Golden Spur
OTHER SHADES OF RED : CRIMSON / PINK
  ( )
Order of the Bath
  ( )
Order of the Crown
  ( )
Order of the White Star
  ( )
Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation
  ( )
Order of Chula Chom Klao
ORANGE
  ( )
Order of the Phoenix
  ( )
Order of the House of Orange
  ( )
Order for Loyalty and Merit
  ( )
Order of the Dragon King
  ( )
National Order of Merit
  ( )
Order of the Precious Crown
  ( )
Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas
  ( )
Order of Orange-Nassau
  ( )
Order of the Crown
  ( )
Order of the Phoenix
YELLOW / GOLD / YELLOW-ORANGE
  ( )
Order of the Aztec Eagle
  ( )
Order of the Royal House of Chakri
  ( )
Royal Order of the Great She-Elephant
  ( )
Medal of Victory of the Thunder Dragon
  ( )
Order of Moniseraphon
  ( )
Royal Household Order of Tonga
  ( )
Order of the Rajamitrabhorn
  ( )
National Order of Mali
  ( )
Order of Merit
  ( )
Royal Household Order of Swaziland
  ( - )
Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau
  ( )
Order of Beneficence
  ( )
Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II
  ( )
Order of the Golden Heart
  ( )
Order of Public Instruction
GREEN
  ( )
Order of the Thistle
  ( )
Order of Aviz
  ( )
Order of the Condor of the Andes
  ( )
Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
  ( )
Order of the Lion
  ( )
Order of the Crown
  ( )
Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
  ( )
Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary
  ( )
Order of the Direkgunabhorn
  ( )
Order of the Star of Jordan
BLUE
  ( )
Royal Norwegian Order of Merit
  ( )
Order of the White Rose of Finland
  ( )
Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana
  ( )
Order of the Tower and Sword
  ( )
Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
  ( )
Ordre national du Mérite
  ( )
Order of the Merit of Chile
  ( )
Order of the Garter
  ( )
Order of the Holy Spirit
  ( )
Order of the White Eagle
  ( )
Royal Order of the Seraphim
  ( )
Order of Queen Salote Tupou III
  ( )
Order of the Elephant
  ( )
Order of the Southern Cross
  ( )
Most Dignified Order of Moshoeshoe
  ( )
Order of Rio Branco
  ( )
Order of the Redeemer
  ( )
Order of the Liberator General San Martín
  /   ( )
Order of Civil Merit
  /   ( )
Order of Charles III
  ( )
Order of Faithful Service
  ( - )
Order of the African Star
  ( )
Order of the Falcon
  ( )
Royal Victorian Order
  /   ( )
Order of the Crown of Thailand
  /   ( )
Order of the Defender of the Realm
  /   ( )
Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Malaysia
  ( )
Order of St Michael and St George
  ( )
Order of the White Double Cross
  ( )
Order of Pius IX
  ( )
Order of Adolphe of Nassau
  ( )
Order of Honour
  ( )
Order of the Netherlands Lion
  ( )
Order of the Three Stars
  ( )
Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise
  ( )
Order of the Polar Star
  ( )
Order of Leopold II
  ( )
Order of the Crown of the Realm
  ( )
Order of the Nile
VIOLET - PURPLE
  ( )
Order of Saint James of the Sword
  ( )
Order of Leopold
  ( )
Order of the Sun
  ( )
Order of al-Hussein bin Ali
  ( )
Order of Queen Maria Luisa
  ( )
Order of Independence
  ( )
Order of Vasco Núñez de Balboa
  ( - )
Royal Order of the Lion
  ( )
Order of Culture
  ( )
Legion of Merit
BLACK
  ( )
Order of the Holy Sepulchre
  ( )
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
  ( )
Order of Rama
  ( )
Order of Merit
  ( )
Order of Saint Sylvester
TRICOLOR / MORE COMPLEX
  ( )
Order of the Star of Melanesia
  ( )
Order of Prince Henry
  ( )
Star of the Solomon Islands
  ( )
Order of the Crown
  ( )
Royal Order of Bhutan
  ( )
Supreme Order of the Renaissance
  ( )
Grand Order of King Tomislav
  ( )
Grand Order of Queen Jelena
  ( )
Order of Liberty
  ( )
Most Courteous Order of Lesotho

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Rinaldo D'Ami, "World Uniforms in Colour - the European Nations", ISBN 0-85059-031-0
  2. ^ José Bueno, Ejército Español, Uniformes Contemporáneos",ISBN 84-7140-186-X
  3. ^ André Jouineau, "The French Army in 1914", pages 45-63, ISBN 978-2-352-50104-6
  4. ^ John Gaylor, "Sons of John Company - the Indian and Pakistan Armies", ISBN 0-946771-98-7
  5. ^ Fredrick Todd, "Cadet Gray: A pictorial history of life at West Point as seen through its uniforms", Sterling Publishing 1955, p. 40
  6. ^ West Point Band
  7. ^ Ritta Nakanishi, "Japanese Military Uniforms 1930-1945, 1991 Dai Nippon Kaiga
  8. ^ Royal Cabinet Website Archived 2008-04-24 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Royal Cabinet Website
  10. ^ Royal Cabinet Website, Order of the White Elephant Archived 2005-09-24 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Royal Cabinet Website, Order of the Crown of Thailand Archived 2007-07-17 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b General visual table of decorations
  13. ^ Selangor Official Website, DK II

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit

  •   Media related to Sashes at Wikimedia Commons