Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Chinese Willow leaf Sabre (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14494)

katana 7th November 2011 03:54 PM

Chinese Willow leaf Sabre
 
7 Attachment(s)
Just acquired a Willow Leaf sabre ....my first 'genuine' Chinese weapon. I want to thank Josh (Stout) for his advice, greatly appreciated :) .

Blade spine has distal taper 8mm at forte 1mm at tip
Blade width 42mm at forte to around 40mm near the tip.

Damaged and loose guard, the hilt/pommel is also slightly loose (a light peening would tighten it again ...but not enough to secure the guard ...leaves a gap of a few mm's )

All fittings iron/steel. Scabbard also appears to be original, wood core with a textured leather/rayskin with iron /steel fittings.

Ideas as to age, restoration advice and other comments greatly received, thank you

Kind Regards David

BerberDagger 7th November 2011 05:18 PM

a nice boxer period dao . In my opinion in not necessary any restoration.

koto 8th November 2011 07:03 AM

nice late Qing dynasty dao. Nice as it is. And can consider polish to see the forging grain or insert steel if you like. But can be seeing nothing as modern steel was poular and fashionable in that period. :D

katana 9th November 2011 01:44 PM

Thankyou BerberDagger and Koto for your opinions ....appreciated :) .

Could you tell me how you know the approx. age of this sword ? is it the general design ? materials or overall condition ?

I wasn't thinking of a major restoration, just a mild improvement. I will probably (carefully) re-peen the tang to take up the looseness, and gently straighten the guard. I may etch the blade to see if there is anything 'interesting'.


Kind Regards David

Neil 10th November 2011 02:56 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Hello Katana,
I have attached a photo below of a similar sword I have owned in the past. I thought you would enjoy seeing the period silk grip wrap and wrist lanyard on this piece. This is a common wrapping and lanyard treatment for this type of sword.

In regards to restoration I can tell you what I would do if it were in my collection. I would give all the metal portions of the sword and scabbard a good going over with a brass brush or brass wool to remove the easily accessed active red rust. Then I would rub these same area down with gun oil to help stabilize all the existing oxidation. For a similar separated guard I have I mixed shaved charcoal with epoxy and clamped it after light application and clean up. I was happy with the results, the charcoal keeps it looking antiquated in the seam. I would also take a slightly damp sponge and wipe down the scabbard where the ray skin covering is securely attached. Take it for what you will, that is what I would do if it were in my hands.

The age of Chinese swords can be a tricky question. Unfortunately there is little good evidence available to confidently nail down dates of many Chinese weapons. Although in this swords case it is widely spoken and accepted to be a late Qing army soldiers sword. Of coarse someone just saying it is only step one in the verification process. In my experience with these swords in particular I have seen more than one go up for sale as "bring back souvenirs" by European soldiers evolved in the Boxer Uprising of 1898-1901. I like this kind of secondary information to feel good about dating a piece to a specific era. It is certainly not an exact manufacture date, but I think it is in the ball park. I hope this information is useful.

katana 10th November 2011 05:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil
Hello Katana,
I have attached a photo below of a similar sword I have owned in the past. I thought you would enjoy seeing the period silk grip wrap and wrist lanyard on this piece. This is a common wrapping and lanyard treatment for this type of sword.

In regards to restoration I can tell you what I would do if it were in my collection. I would give all the metal portions of the sword and scabbard a good going over with a brass brush or brass wool to remove the easily accessed active red rust. Then I would rub these same area down with gun oil to help stabilize all the existing oxidation. For a similar separated guard I have I mixed shaved charcoal with epoxy and clamped it after light application and clean up. I was happy with the results, the charcoal keeps it looking antiquated in the seam. I would also take a slightly damp sponge and wipe down the scabbard where the ray skin covering is securely attached. Take it for what you will, that is what I would do if it were in my hands.

The age of Chinese swords can be a tricky question. Unfortunately there is little good evidence available to confidently nail down dates of many Chinese weapons. Although in this swords case it is widely spoken and accepted to be a late Qing army soldiers sword. Of coarse someone just saying it is only step one in the verification process. In my experience with these swords in particular I have seen more than one go up for sale as "bring back souvenirs" by European soldiers evolved in the Boxer Uprising of 1898-1901. I like this kind of secondary information to feel good about dating a piece to a specific era. It is certainly not an exact manufacture date, but I think it is in the ball park. I hope this information is useful.



Hi Neil,
thank you very much indeed, excellent information :) Now you have given me another 'head-ache' ;) .....whether to re-wrap the hilt.

All the best
David

Jim McDougall 10th November 2011 10:34 PM

Hi David,
Congratulations on acquisition of a latter Qing peidao, a general classification for the Chinese sabres. The Boxer Rebellion attribution is typically a well placed attribution as a great number of Chinese weapons returned with the forces of the eight power foreign legations there during these complicated events.
These patinated old weapons are fascinating, and I think restoration simply detracts from thier character personally. Obviously active corrosion should be checked, but taking the dark patination off will only reveal austere metal. The remnants of the japanning on the iron remains, indicating its intent for campaign use, and it seems wrong to remove that.

I am by no means well versed in Chinese weapons, but I feel that some context for this weapon is what you're looking for as well as I wanted to provide same for others interested in this field of study in arms. I have spent some time going through old notes and articles, much of which derive from years ago with Philip Tom and Scott Rodell, as well as from things I have learned from Gav more recently .

It is important to note that of 'Boxer Rebellion' swords, the most commonly seen are the 'oxtails' (referring to the blade). These 'neu wei dao' are actually civilian martial artist weapons. Yours corresponds to the 'liuyedao' or 'willow leaf' form blade. The mounts, scabbard and hilt are with latter Qing (end of 19th c.) traditional form known as 'yuan' or rounded. Earlier forms are 'fangshi' or 'squared'.

As I mentioned, the Boxer Rebellion and its period were turbulent in China and the forces of Empress Dowager Cixi were torn between ousting the foreign 'demons' and there were factions more moderate toward them.
The Empress, while wanting to assist the 'Boxers' in forcing out the foreigners also tried to carry forward diplomatic measures. Expectedly there were clashes between Imperial forces in these split factions.

This peidao seems, by its rather austere mounts in traditional form as well as the appearance of the liuyedao shape blade in the nature of the metal, could very well be an ersatz weapon used by the Imperial army or its auxiliaries. As noted, this is not a Boxer weapon. It is quite possible that it may be among weapons for the Kansu forces which were brought in from Gansu to assist as conditions escalated.
The character of the mounts in the simple hunshou (disc guard) and tiliang (suspension bar) as well as the scabbard chape seem to support this rather business like character as would have been found in supplying forces in such times.

My thoughts, and I would invite those who collect and study these Chinese weapons to add thier comments or of course corrections. I think these weapons deserve to have thier stories told, and that others will share that goal as well.

Nice going David! :)

All best regards,
Jim

katana 13th November 2011 04:20 PM

Hi Jim :) ,
thank you very much for the added information, very much appreciated :cool: . The Boxer rebellion is indeed a very complicated era of Chinese history :eek: .

I suspect that the prolific manufacture of 'fake' Chinese weaponary has had an adverse effect on the collecting community ....my main concern when acquiring this sword was it's authenticity. I agree, it would be very interesting to see other examples and further information posted on this thread.

All the best

Kind Regards
David

Atlantia 13th November 2011 07:27 PM

Sup David,
Remember the one I've got?
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=chinese

katana 14th November 2011 06:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
Sup David,
Remember the one I've got?
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=chinese



Hi Gene :) ,
thanks for the link to your post, nice example. The links to SFI no longer work though, was interested in the wrapping technique. Do you have a link that works, thanks mate ;) .

All the best
David


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