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Old 14th February 2020, 02:46 AM   #1
josh stout
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 395
Default Chinese cutlass

I was inspired by the recent post of what is probably not a Chinese cutlass to go looking for one that is definitely Chinese. It is interesting to note the clear Western influence on the guard, but distinct difference. I am not sure what the little projection is for on Western style guards, but this one could be quite effective at catching a blade.
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Old 15th February 2020, 02:24 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 625

Thanks for sharing this one Josh, and good to see you on the forum. You can call this a Eurasian hybrid concept but entirely made in a Chinese workshop, not a composite of hilt and blade of separate origins.

The blade fuller, which stops a good deal short of the front of the guard, on a forte which lacks a ricasso is a variation on a theme seen over and over on Ming and Qingf saber blades, regardless of profile or length.

Last year a customer sent me a late Qing or revolution / warlord era saber with unit markings for cleaning and repair. A somewhat longer blade than yours, fullered in a manner common for the previous two centuries, with a guard that echoed the design of yours, except that the dorsal prong extended a couple inches further forward, and the knucklebow was a partial one and did not join the pommel -- analogous to the L shaped knuckleguards on some Polish hussar sabers ca 1600. The dorsal prong or arm would certainly be handy for locking an opponent's blade. Altogether an atypical form of hilt in the context of Chinese sabers, but examination of the separated components during the course of repair indicated that guard and blade tang mated perfectly and the accumulated rust and patina on surfaces showed that the hilt had been together for a long time. In retrospect, I regret not taking a picture of it.

I like the way that the corrosion on the pommel and tang mushroom are undisturbed on your example.
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Old 16th February 2020, 09:54 PM   #3
josh stout
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Philip- As always, thanks for your informative reply.

I am posting another with a very similar profile, but without the European influenced handle. The blade of the second example is slightly shorter and more curved, and the raised back edge is less noticeable, but the overall look is quite similar. In particular, I aligned them so you can see that from the usable portion of the handle to the tip is almost exactly the same length.

These are weighted so that they are comfortable to use with one hand, but a second hand can fit. The knuckle bow looks stretched and odd because we are not used to thinking of one on a two handed saber. Despite the slightly shorter grip shielded by the knuckle bow, for added power, I can fit three fingers of my left hand comfortably behind my right hand. Dadao can have a balance that allows them to be used one handed, but the blade is much heavier, and it is clear they are primarily two handed weapons. These are more dedicated one handed sabers, with the option for a second hand.
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