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Old 8th January 2023, 06:10 PM   #1
Martin Lubojacky
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Default Opinions on the Chinese Dao

I recently purchased this sword. The total length in the scabbard is 95 cm, the length of the blade is 73 cm. The blade is different from the heavy blades of classic "Boxer Rebellion sabers"- it is considerably lighter, the whole sword is surprisingly nicely balanced. The blade is solid, absolutely straight (not bent), slightly flexible, and rings beautifully when tapped. Unfortunately, it is damaged by corrosion.
The sword in the pictures is already after basic mechanical cleaning.
According to the seller, the sword is from 1900, but I believe it could be older. On the other hand, I have a little doubt - whether it is not a fake - because the rust was suspiciously compact and same everywhere. All fittings are made of approx. 2 mm thick iron sheet. The scabbard is in good condition and covered with what looks like brushed leather. The handle is made o wood. I welcome any opinion. Thanks, Martin
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Old 8th January 2023, 08:05 PM   #2
Ren Ren
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In my opinion this is an excellent Chinese sword from the 1850s-60s.
Perhaps the wood parts and leather have been replaced. If you have the opportunity to take a close photograph of the leather, especially the stitching, then this would help determine the authenticity.

I noticed traces of engraving on the ricasso. It would be good to pay attention to them.

Last edited by Ren Ren; 8th January 2023 at 08:08 PM. Reason: Addition
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Old 8th January 2023, 09:51 PM   #3
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It certainly looks like a quality blade - congrats, Martin!
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Old 9th January 2023, 06:27 PM   #4
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Ren ren and Kai, Thank you for your opinions. Enclosed pls find detail of the sheath covering. It looks like brushed leather, which was glued on.
Best,
Martin
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Old 9th January 2023, 06:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Lubojacky View Post
Ren ren and Kai, Thank you for your opinions. Enclosed pls find detail of the sheath covering. It looks like brushed leather, which was glued on.
Best,
Martin
I am 98% sure that the leather was changed to artificially aged.

But this does not apply to metal parts. They are very good!
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Old 9th January 2023, 11:06 PM   #6
Jim McDougall
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This is a remarkable Manchu saber, and as often the case, categorically seems 'liuyedao' but has that slight oxtail 'peak' near distal section of blade. The unusually austere suspension bar and mounts, as well as scabbard rings and throat are outstanding, and adds to the very 'solid' character of this sword.

The slight cant of the grip, the huanshou, seem to align with possible 'minority' character possibly Yunnan and it is tempting to note the similarity of the pommel to Tibetan so called 'ke tri' (trilobe) adding to that suggestion.

My exposure to Chinese swords is limited, but I wanted to add what I could, and as always, hope to prompt corrections or other observations that might add to what I think is well noted period of mid 19th c.

I agree that this is a high quality blade, and likely remounted in the Manchu period in 19th c. as it seems many were. I have an earlier 'willow leaf' blade which was remounted in these type mounts mid 19th c. as well so it seems quite a regular action.

The 'Boxer' period attribution is simply commonly assumed as this was a remarkably 'international' event in which many Chinese arms and souvenirs were brought out, which included items of much earlier periods.
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Old 10th January 2023, 10:17 PM   #7
Martin Lubojacky
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Thank you all once again for your insightful observations!(Dao is a relatively new field for me ...)
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Old 12th January 2023, 02:17 AM   #8
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Just to state the obvious: The scabbard seems to have experienced a complete makeover: The wooden parts inside seem to be very recent from the pic.

Assuming that the original scabbard was possibly broken or beyond restoration, it is good to have a functional scabbard again...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 18th January 2023, 05:10 AM   #9
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Default An interesting composite

This piece is a bit of a mishmosh.
1. The best thing about it is the blade, despite its rough condition. It is easily 18th cent. in style, and the apparent quality is commensurate.
2. Wood grip is new, and the pommel doesn't match the hilt. The rule of thumb on Chinese hilts is that the cross section of the ferrule matches that of the pommel -- oval to oval, angular and angular.
3. It's already pointed out that the scabbard wood looks replaced.

4. Regarding the scabbard furniture, the suspension bar looks like a clumsy replacement. Maybe working-life or perhaps later.
The most interesting components are the throat and chape. The style is associated with western China, specifically Xinjiang (formerly called East Turkestan in historical geographical literature). Rectangular cross-section, they are broad sleeves edged by raised grooved bands.

This is a fascinating study piece.
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Old 24th January 2023, 05:06 AM   #10
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Lovely blade and pommel
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Old 27th January 2023, 08:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidFriedman View Post
Lovely blade and pommel
hello David, I have tried to reach you via PM

Replacement parts , I think, are a consequence of time passing.

Last edited by milandro; 27th January 2023 at 08:30 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 27th January 2023, 05:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milandro View Post
hello David, I have tried to reach you via PM

Replacement parts , I think, are a consequence of time passing.
Well noted Milandro, weapons, especially in ethnographic or remote/rural spheres are commonly refurbished with replacement components to regain or maintain serviceability. Often parts that are similar or workable are used, and while falling out of the 'normal' character of types or forms, functionality is key.

Ersatz weaponry, that is to be used in cases of dramatic events, or actions, people involved tend to use whatever is available of course without thought of propriety. In China of course, there were so many situational instances like this it would be hard to say which one, or numerous ones, might apply to a certain weapon.
This it acquires its own inherently historic character from its often composite components, becoming even more dynamic IMO.
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