What makes a rebenque different from most other whips is that it is something like a cross-over between a strap with a handle, a slapper and a whip, and made of rawhide, not leather. A typical rebenque has a wooden handle, about 30 to 50 cm (0.98 to 1.6 feet) long, which is wrapped in rawhide. It has a single thong made of a 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 inches) wide rawhide strap, which is a little longer than the handle. The strap can be double, sewn at the edges, and could have the point unsown, for making a slapper.
The handle is topped by a knob, which can be embellished with gold and silver, and has a wrist strap.
The rebenque was used for horse control, similar to a riding crop. The rebenque was used also for fighting, as a weapon by itself, when the fight did not merit a knife, or with the strap rolled on his left hand and the handle hanging, as a secondary weapon to the knife in his right hand. It was also used for domestic corporal punishments, and for quasi-judicial corporal punishments (which were outlawed in Argentina, at least in the books, from 1813 on, but the country was very large, sparsely populated and not totally under government control, not unlike the American West). A couple of lashes with the rebenque on the bare legs were widely used as a punishment for children, even in the urban areas.
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