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Old 6th April 2019, 07:35 PM   #1
cornelistromp
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Default Dutch smallsword with japanese influence

At the beginning of the 18th century there was a lively trade between the Netherlands, China and Japan.
A good example are the small sword hilts made of antimony gold and copper , suassa metal, the so called Shakudo mounted hilts.
These were probably produced in Tonkin China ( Tonkin under japanese influence) and exported to the Netherlands where they were assembled into complete swords by the Dutch swordsmiths.
The Asian influence also entered into the Dutch production of small sword hilts.
an example is the smallsword of this thread, not Shakuda, where the asian influence is clearly visible.
The nuckleguard is in the shape of a serpent tail, winding with scales, the guillon ending in the monster's head.
The holes in the knuckleguard could have been used to decorate colored yarns.
there are images of asian looking? masks on the pommel and on the Shells.

I have some more examples of small sword with Asian influence that I will post here later.

best,
Jasper
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Old 8th April 2019, 01:20 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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A really attractive and interesting small sword!
I have always been puzzled by the Aylward (1945, p.57) entries about Tonquinese swords which are supposed to be black 'shakudo' bronze. This is alloy of copper, (red copper etc) treated to nearly black. This seems to have been a Japanese process . The Dutch were the only Europeans permitted to trade in Japan from 1638+ at Dejima (near Nagasaki).

What puzzles me is that they refer to Tonquin, which is actually Viet Nam (north) and the Dutch supposedly left there in 1707, but continued in Peking.
It was said that the VOC brought Chinese artisans to the Netherlands and they produced European style hilts in what was known as "chinoserie' (=Chinese) in Amsterdam.

It seems of course this may be the 'chinoserie' style, and those apertures in the knuckleguard a very Chinese affectation for festooning with the colored yarn as noted.

While the trade noted was primarily porcelain, the other exotic goods and spices also brought such weaponry.
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Old 8th April 2019, 08:36 AM   #3
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hi Jim,

The earliest Dutch reference to shakuda is found in Rumpius; Dámboinsche rariteitenkamer, which was published in Amsterdam in 1705 and in which this material is called black suassa . Rumpius further states that is comes from Tonkin and Japan, being a sort of copper which is always black on the outside, but if rubbed it becomes copper-like.
(cf PUYPE, the Visser Collection part3, p 194.)

TONKIN Đông Kinh (東京), meaning 'Eastern Capital'. (東京 is identical in meaning and written form in Chinese characters to that of Tokyo).
so it may be the case that Rumpius intended Tokyo instead of north Vietnam!
JP Puype does not interpret this so in his publication, I will ask him next time if this can be a good possibility.


It was said that the VOC brought Chinese artisans to the Netherlands
do you know if there is any reference/source for this?

best,
Jasper

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Old 8th April 2019, 05:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
hi Jim,

The earliest Dutch reference to shakuda is found in Rumpius; Dámboinsche rariteitenkamer, which was published in Amsterdam in 1705 and in which this material is called black suassa . Rumpius further states that is comes from Tonkin and Japan, being a sort of copper which is always black on the outside, but if rubbed it becomes copper-like.
(cf PUYPE, the Visser Collection part3, p 194.)

TONKIN Đông Kinh (東京), meaning 'Eastern Capital'. (東京 is identical in meaning and written form in Chinese characters to that of Tokyo).
so it may be the case that Rumpius intended Tokyo instead of north Vietnam!
JP Puype does not interpret this so in his publication, I will ask him next time if this can be a good possibility.


It was said that the VOC brought Chinese artisans to the Netherlands
do you know if there is any reference/source for this?

best,
Jasper



Thank you so much for these references Jasper! These are so helpful and I will be able to adjust my notes accordingly. I was always puzzled by the Tonquin name used in Aylward (" The Small Sword in England", 1945, p.57) which notes that the Dutch closed their factory in Tonquin in 1707 (apparently according to Dampier, 'Voyages')
He then states they moved to Pekin.
Aylward notes that Chinese workmen were taken to Amsterdam where they made hilts which were mounted with blades usually from Solingen, just as many of the swords in these areas were.

I am not sure of sources beyond this, but I think an either Polish or Russian source had noted the popularity of Chinese (chinoserie) style in the 18th c and Chinese artisans working in shops (perhaps Lvov?) creating some of the 'Oriental' styling on East European swords. I think of the 'Pandour' labeled hangers with very 'jian' type guards.
Bashford Dean regarded many of these type swords in his 1929 "European Hunting and Court Swords" as 'French'.....perhaps due to the colonial and trade activity in what became French Indo China in the 18th c.
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Old 9th April 2019, 11:11 AM   #5
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two similar 18thC smallswords made from black fire-gilt metal, Suassa ?
the grip pommel quilllon block and pas dáne are out of one piece, this requires a very high level of craftsmanship!
the lines are clear and sharp, really works of art.

one with the blade marked by the Amsterdam swordsman Jean Hossee, the other with Japanese ? characters.
The decoration of insects, leaves and Japanese? workers with the characteristic hats.
these hilts are probably made in asia and mounted in Asia or Holland.
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Old 10th April 2019, 12:09 AM   #6
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Thank you Jasper for sharing these two examples which show fascinating comparison.
Aylward (1945. p.57) he describes 'Tonquinese' made in the Far East for the VOC between 1710 and 1750 but claims this could not be correct as Dampier (from "Dampiers Voyages", Mansfield, 1906) in noting all the manufacturers at Tonquin, there is no mention of swords being made there. He notes further that the VOC withdrew their factory there in 1707.

Here he suggests that the work went to Peking, and that afterwards, "..the company brought over some Chinese workmen to Europe, who produced in Amsterdam 'hilts of similar character' which were fitted with blades made in Holland and Solingen".

This seems contradictory as if no swords were made in Asia, then what hilts of 'similar character' were made by the Chinese workmen in Amsterdam?

Also, you have noted that Tonquin (whose location is not specified in Aylward) was actually/probably Tokyo. The shakudo (black bronze) described is, if I presume correctly, a Japanese alloyed metal and process...not Chinese.

The so called Nanban trade into Japan by Europeans (from 1543) ended with the seclusion of Japan with the exception of the VOC who were permitted to maintain an enclave in Dejima (off Nagasaki) from 1638 +

Here I think I found something (an article which I had stuffed in the pages of Aylward):
"Smallswords in Japan?" by Dr.Peter Bleed (Man at Arms" Vol.34, #4. Aug. 2012) notes that through the Nanban (Southern Barbarian trade as derisively termed) which influenced Japanese artisans and artists.
In this article the author notes the reference from Aylward about bringing Chinese artisans to Holland, however "...recent scholars examining swords of this type agree they were made by Japanese craftsmen".

With this it is also noted that conversely, motifs, styles of Europe in these smallswords influenced what are known as 'nanban' tsuba, and that most of the motifs borrow from Chinese influences but in degree some of the European. Most of these examples date second quarter 18th c.
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Old 10th April 2019, 06:07 PM   #7
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Just a remark - Tonquin cannot be Tokyo or vice versa for the swords in question, as Tokyo was called Edo until 1868, when the capital was moved.
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Old 10th April 2019, 08:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav
Just a remark - Tonquin cannot be Tokyo or vice versa for the swords in question, as Tokyo was called Edo until 1868, when the capital was moved.



Ahah!!
Thank you Gustav!! I had noticed the material referring to the Edo period,but did not notice this. So we are back to. ….why in this period in the 18th c. were these type hilts called Tonquinese? The only Tonquin I have ever found was North Viet Nam (Tonkin...well known from that War)…..with South Viet Nam Cochin China.
On the sword Jasper showed, the 'Japanese' hat noted looks to me very SE Asian, i.e. Thai, Burmese, Viet Namese?
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Old 12th April 2019, 04:39 PM   #9
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a mid 17thc hanger/smallsword with a chain between the guillon and the pommel cap and a paternoster carved on the blade which are both typical characteristics of Dutch 17thC smallswords.

note the carved ends of the guillons in the shape of the head of a Samurai and the demon mask carved on the loopguard


re: Asian Hat of post 5.
Luyken, Caspar and Engelbrecht
Boucquet. Portret Kangxi, keizer van China.
1698. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
see attachement of emperor of china.(Dutch art)


best
jasper
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Old 12th April 2019, 06:32 PM   #10
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Another breathtaking example Jasper, and as you note, the familiar Samurai hair style is seen......the illustration of the Chinese man also shows the hat similar as previously discussed.
More evidence of the stylistic exchanges between China and the Japan/Dutch trade alliance in Dejima (near Nagasaki). In Peter Bleed's article he notes the profound influence of Dutch (European) artistic style in the work in their famed tsuba (disc guards) on their swords. The Dutch in kind, adopted clearly Oriental motif in their hilts.

An aside, there were profoundly represented hilt styles produced in Sri Lanka for the Dutch, who also adopted their motif and kastane style in some hangers, and I believe a good number in ivory.
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Old 12th April 2019, 07:35 PM   #11
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Dutch Visions of Asia and Empire in the Seventeenth century


http://www1.umassd.edu/euro/2015papers/neumann.pdf


very interesting pdf
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