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Old 13th January 2018, 08:02 PM   #1
Kmaddock
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Default Chinese Jian sword, is it authentic?

Hi
I just purchased the attached Chinese Jian sword.

I think it is original, nicely pitted and aged blade 44 cm long, shows evidence of lamination and delamination in spots.

Scabard has lots of evidence of lacquer that has come off, handle split all the way through. A few severe bashes and nicks on the blade.

Brass is smooth from rubbing where it should be and rough where there has not been much rubbing.

Has a nice weight and would work well as a weapon, good balance overall.

Hole drilled through the handle

The collection I got it from was assembled 30 years or so ago.
Is anyone any way familiar with these swords and what they are like.
Any idea of age would be appreciated.

Cheers

Ken
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Old 14th January 2018, 04:40 AM   #2
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Looks authentic to me. These are fairly common, as far as antique jian go. These are usually late 19th century, and the ones in the West usually went there as tourist souvenirs.

They vary enormously in quality, with some having superb sanmei blades, and others having - judging by really deep nicks in them, probably from children or adult children playing with them - unhardened blades. Ones with angular tips rather than rounded tips are more likely to have low quality blades.

Mine are in the attached photo. From left to right: 385g and sanmei, 310g with re-made scabbard, 435g with plain mounts, 365g and looking very tourist-souvenir, both sword and scabbard.
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Old 14th January 2018, 07:27 PM   #3
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HiTimo
Thanks for info, outside my collecting area but I taught it looked interesting.
As the blade is made of laminated steel I would have taught it would then by default be of good quality.
I might try an etch to see what lies beneath.
Regards
Ken
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Old 15th January 2018, 01:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Nieminen
Looks authentic to me. These are fairly common, as far as antique jian go. These are usually late 19th century, and the ones in the West usually went there as tourist souvenirs.

They vary enormously in quality, with some having superb sanmei blades, and others having - judging by really deep nicks in them, probably from children or adult children playing with them - unhardened blades. Ones with angular tips rather than rounded tips are more likely to have low quality blades.

Mine are in the attached photo. From left to right: 385g and sanmei, 310g with re-made scabbard, 435g with plain mounts, 365g and looking very tourist-souvenir, both sword and scabbard.


By and large, these wee indeed decorative, mostly made for the curio trade. But once in awhile you get a rather nice much older blade in these rather late fittings (the style of the FITTINGS can be dated as early as the late 18th cent. from a provenanced example in the Skokloster, Stockholm.) But most examples seen on the market are more likely mid-19th, into early 20th. If you do find an older blade, it could date from the 18th or even a couple centuries earlier. As with Indian swords, the practice of remounting older blades in current style was fairly widespread in China.

It is likely that much older blades fitted-up in this style of mounts (which appear to have been widely produced) may have had a talismanic purpose, as it was the custom to hang a jian over a baby's cradle as spiritual protection (the Manchus preferred a small saber with a money-pouch for the purpose). Families which had no sword or couldn't afford one typically used a faux jian made from copper coins attached to an iron rod.
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Old 15th January 2018, 07:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Nieminen
judging by really deep nicks in them, probably from children or adult children playing with them .


These blades has been used for show fights in front of a paying audience in streets on markets and so on.

Roland
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Old 15th January 2018, 08:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
These blades has been used for show fights in front of a paying audience in streets on markets and so on.

Roland


Judging from photos taken at the close of the 19th cent. until the 1930s, these short jian were not typically part of these street mountebanks' and brawlers' kit. Most often seen in these images are niuweidao (ox-tail sabers), hudiedao (butterfly knives), spears, tridents with washer-like jingles on the shaft, and hook swords. Very powerful bows, of the type used in the military examinations, are sometimes seen in these pictures, used by street athletes demonstrating their prowess by drawing them in various ways, including with their teeth!
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Old 18th January 2018, 04:38 PM   #7
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"Jian" in this length is generally considered as "文房剑",which could roughly translate into "swords of the study room" and serve as playable art crafts,talismanic item,and perhaps(in those cases the sword would have a shorter blade)cutting paper and e.t.c.,which also means as products,these swords mainly targerts rich people,so perhaps not a purely weapon design.
Back to the sword itself,I'm not familiar with this type to judge its age,but it actually has a very good set of fitting.In these days,It's not even easy to find a decent reproduce of it.
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Old 18th January 2018, 08:06 PM   #8
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You have given me a whole new area to research there, thank you for this. Also explains these nice but not very functional Jian that turn up from time to time.
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Old 19th January 2018, 08:52 AM   #9
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Thanks all for the information
I will try and etch the sword to see if i can bring up the lamination better
regards
Ken
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Old 19th January 2018, 02:31 PM   #10
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Try and get the attention of Gavin Nugent at swordsandantiqueweapons.com, this is an area he excels at.
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Old 19th January 2018, 02:54 PM   #11
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Hi,

I just looked at his web site and the header has the following message

"Please know, that due to ill health, all sales and website trading are currently suspended, It is unknown as to when, or if at all, trading will continue."

Bit upset at this as I have dealt with and spoken with Gavin and he was always very gentlemanly to deal with.


Gavin if you read this I wish you well,

regards,

Ken
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Old 19th January 2018, 11:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmaddock
Hi,

I just looked at his web site and the header has the following message

"Please know, that due to ill health, all sales and website trading are currently suspended, It is unknown as to when, or if at all, trading will continue."

Bit upset at this as I have dealt with and spoken with Gavin and he was always very gentlemanly to deal with.


Gavin if you read this I wish you well,

regards,

Ken

Ken, i have been in touch with Gavin. He is recovering and says he may or may not be in business again by the end of 2018. He appreciates people's concern but has specifically asked that people not attempt to contact him as he has had a flood of emails and finds it all a bit stressful. Thanks!
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Old 20th January 2018, 08:25 AM   #13
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Hi David,
No problem at all, thanks for the heads up.
Ken
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Old 20th January 2018, 09:03 PM   #14
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Have a look here for information on Jian. I have found them very helpful and informative in the past.

https://forum.grtc.org/viewforum.ph...44930a017c7832e
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