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Old 25th April 2023, 07:13 PM   #1
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Default Taiwan Paiwan Formasa sword/dagger

Hello All,

At first sight, the pictured sword looks like a typical tourist Paiwan sword.

After close inspection, the quality is quite decent. Too much effort for just a tourist piece.
- hilt is sturdy and looks peened with washers
- blade is hardened and even looks folded
- even the scabbard is sturdy and well made

Could any of you bring me back to reality and tell me this was made for tourists?

Thank you.

Kind regards,
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Old 25th April 2023, 07:42 PM   #2
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I might venture to comment that the blade may be older than the dress.
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Old 26th April 2023, 01:40 PM   #3
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Looks nice but it also doesn't look like the ones that most people would like to call collectable.

I have a tjakit similar to this ( the sheet was certainly carved isn almost alike way) I liked it , the blade was nice.

Most would call it a tourist piece, I would call it a modernly made, not particularly refined, piece. I don't think that this is a " collectable" going with the normal way people look at this here and elsewhere.


see this thread

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15838
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Old 26th April 2023, 04:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
I might venture to comment that the blade may be older than the dress.
I agree with Rick. The blade is clearly laminated. Recent items are monosteel. The scabbard is not nearly as old. The knife is not a tourist piece.
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Old 27th April 2023, 11:07 AM   #5
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Yes, the blade is laminated and therefore old, unfortunately cleaned very roughly, probably by machine. Worth polishing. She also seems to have the usual cross cut.
Very interesting catch!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 27th April 2023, 12:47 PM   #6
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I don't recall seeing an example of that blade profile on an old Formosa knife/sword. Presumably of Southern or lowland origin with the straight blade, but without the angular tip seen on most Rukai and Paiwan examples.
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Old 27th April 2023, 07:01 PM   #7
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Thank you for all the comments.

Glad to read I'm not seeing things.

@milandro: interesting thread. There are similarities and also differences.
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Old 27th April 2023, 08:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
I don't recall seeing an example of that blade profile on an old Formosa knife/sword. Presumably of Southern or lowland origin with the straight blade, but without the angular tip seen on most Rukai and Paiwan examples.
Good points Jeff. Perhaps this is not so much a traditional weapon as a knife for domestic chores. I like it, and I think Detlef's suggestion about polishing it is a good idea. A light etch might bring out an interesting pattern also.

It's also possible the blade profile has been modified. The pinned bamboo hilt is atypical for Taiwan native production. It reminds me of a couple of Japanese WWII-era modified knives and swords I have from Indonesia. The Japanese occupiers adapted local blades to their own purpose and in the process sometimes modified the blades as well.
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Old 27th April 2023, 09:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
I don't recall seeing an example of that blade profile on an old Formosa knife/sword.
Have a look here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ghlight=paiwan
Paiwan and Rukai blades have a slightly concave/convex blade profile.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 28th April 2023, 04:59 PM   #10
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Polishing or/and very light etching are good ideas.
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Old 1st May 2023, 06:17 PM   #11
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Default Taiwan knife

Looks very suspect to my wandering eye, the leather washers and aluminium rivets look very wrong for the region considering other more native ethno pieces I have seen are set with resin and no hilt rivets or pins, I suspect it is one of the tourists types that lost its hilt and got a replacement at some stage by a non Asian restorer but one with some skills in knife making maybe ?, it certainly looks a better job than the original tourist type hilts, for me whoever did it did the blade a favor.
A friend has one in its original form, if I remember correctly the hilt was dark wood with a small ring ferrule in thin sheet type brass, possibly had lizards carved on it to. Snody
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Old 2nd May 2023, 10:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maj-Biffy Snodgrass View Post
Looks very suspect to my wandering eye, the leather washers and aluminium rivets look very wrong for the region ...
I believe the consensus is the blade is legit, the hilt a replacement. and the scabbard a modern Paiwan item. The present hilt looks like it might have been done in the original culture with the bamboo scales, but the rivets and washers are not traditional of course.
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Old 20th May 2023, 11:50 PM   #13
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Default scales ??

Sorry Iain but I see no scales here just a simple through tang with washer and peened end, the spacer washers on the top and bottom of the hilt could be coconut shell, or leather as i suspect, the 2 hilt pins - rivets are certainly not looking like an Asian fix as you noted, personally I see a tourist blade and scabbard with a new western made hilt, I say this because a friend has one just like it with a wooden hilt that has carved men either side which I handled recently.
Much the same as the one here shown in a previous post by Wayne. Snody.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 07:29 PM   #14
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Interesting. The discussion is still lively.

There similarities but also differences with tourists swords. A big one is lamination on the blade.

There more hints of the hilt being Asian then western.
- hilt is bamboo (Asian product)
- peening of the tang is also used in (antique) asia
- hilt pins are also not exclusive western techniques

Kind regards,
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Old 23rd May 2023, 08:54 PM   #15
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Unhappy Formosa Hill Tribe Swords

A search of the ethno forum using the title of this post will reveal a very long discussion on Taiwanese swords.
I'd like to link to it, but I'm using my Wife's i pad and can't seem to get it done (windows I'm familiar with) not so much with apple... Maybe a moderator can do it for me pls.

link:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ighlight=rukai

Last edited by Rick; 25th May 2023 at 01:56 AM. Reason: added link
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Old 24th May 2023, 06:14 AM   #16
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Here's a link for starters: www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=11828


The Philip Tom article is no longer available.
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Old 24th May 2023, 02:12 PM   #17
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Default simple observations !!

I simply meant to point out that there are no scales on the re hilt as suggested by Ian, it is done in Asian style round sectional Bamboo with rat tail tang and peened over a washer at its end sure, which is more Asian in style.
But, I have seen this on some of the tourist ones of 1960s and 70s age to, some have a washer and peened tang end, there are many of these floating the markets of the uk that were bring backs from the 60s and 70s, some very well made and can be taken for older ones, others not so well made and are obvious tourist market pieces, they often can be seen at auctions here to, even as African tribal swords as I have seen recently in one auction.

Other than the rivets, the peened tang with washer is certainly how the hilts are finished originally having had a couple of the originals myself over the years.
But it can not speak so it can not tell its origin storey or age, so all is speculation and guesswork as I see it including my own ideas on it just as it is with many other Asian ethnographic weapons that are quirky pieces that do not conform to traditional patterns, or re hilts like this one, it is what makes collecting interesting for me meeting new and unusual pieces that are not boring old run of the mill.

Also, and no offence meant at all here, Bamboo may be an Asian plant but it can be bought in most western countries very easily and in many types today, garden centres have even got Tonkin cane and solid iron bamboo these days as well as rattan in natural dried raw state, split rattan to for chair seat restoration etc.

As far as the lamination that can be seen in the blade my friends tourist one has the same, they were likely made by traditional methods even in the 60s and 70s so for me that says nothing about it being an old blade with re hilt done and then put into a tourist scabbard, which would make it a marriage of different parts perhaps possibly made to deceive.

What I personally think you have here which is only my own observation obviously is a well done re hilt on a 1960s 70s early tourist sword from the region that is one of the better ones with better blade, likely earlier than many of the lesser ones from later 70s, where it was done who knows ?? but it is not a marriage of parts, the hilt being the only newer part, the scabbard and blade being original, tourist or not.
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Old 25th May 2023, 05:51 PM   #18
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Hello Snody,

Thank you for your post. Some are the observations wich gave me doubt.

Few points are still not convincing:

- Bamboo is certainly available everywhere. However, it is growing in abundance in Asia. You need a really specific person person in the West to buy a fitting bamboo in a shop to mount it on a blade. It's way more likely for a person in Asia to look outside and pick a perfectly fitting bamboo.
- Lamination of a blade is a very intense process. The blade is als hardened. A person would not spend many hours of labour and resources to create a sword just to sell for a few bucks to tourists. It makes no sense from an economical point of view. Tourists are not paying much for souvenirs.
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Old 25th May 2023, 08:28 PM   #19
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Default Good points and duly noted.

But, I was not suggesting that the new hilt job would be done in a shop in the west, western shops stock all bamboos and it is not a hard job to do for someone who knows how and there are plenty here in UK who do including myself, you do not have to be Asian to build a simple hilt like this, being a knife maker and smith for 35 years I could do this with ease, no problem at all, I just need a picture of the original to work from.

Tourist and non tourist.

You are taking tourist in the wrong context, tourist knives swords etc have been made since the pre Victorian period in countries all around the globe wherever early tourists went, many early tourist knives came in different qualities depending on the smith, some were very well made by traditional methods some not.
Also just because a blade shows a few cold shuts along its length it does not actually mean it is a laminated blade, those cold shut's are often seen on mono steel blades to, many kukris from Nepal have such, they are also hand made by traditional methods and many for tourism for many years now, and especially tribal blades from Asia both old and newer, a simple water quench to make a cutting edge hard is no problem to do for any smith with the skills to do it, as the makers of these were smiths then it is likely they would make a real blade, no reason not to make it with a real live cutting edge back then.
Also tourist knives and swords in the 60s and 70s and even 80s in native regions were not made as they are today in factories with rubbish steel blades, many were hand made in styles that were like the old ones and by traditional methods, some as I already stated were far better than others,
Yes they were bought by tourists to take home as trophies as was common practice for westerners for at least 150 years maybe more, but these 60s and 70s pieces likely were used by the native peoples to for general use as well and for festivals etc, I am not poo poo'ing your sword, I am simply saying that many are real with real blades, but from the early tourist times of the 60s and 70s.

Today there is a revival of these knives in the country of origin, you can still buy an exact copy which is made by traditional methods if you know where to look on line but they are not cheap, proving that some of the makers kept the old skills and passed them down through families.

Again I mean no offence at all by my remarks I have made here, I am just speaking from experience of having seen many of these early tourist types in the uk, which truly is a country still filled with heaps of old weaponry due to our warring colonial past.

Last edited by Maj-Biffy Snodgrass; 25th May 2023 at 08:29 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 25th May 2023, 10:25 PM   #20
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Yes, the scabbard is what we usually see by these tourist swords, no doubt.
The simple bamboo handle could have been attached elsewhere. The tang is complete through the handle and peened and extra secured two times! For what so much work when not for use?
The blade seems certainly laminated and has a different profile as the blades from the tourist ones, they are flat and from lower quality and the handle is just put-on, I never would try to swing such a piece!
I for my part guess that it's an antique blade which has lost it's handle and scabbard and gets reused as a working tool with a self-made handle and a replacement scabbard. Just my two cents.

Regards,
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Old 25th May 2023, 10:31 PM   #21
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I personally would polish the blade and give it an etch.
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Old 26th May 2023, 01:24 PM   #22
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Default agreed Detlef and a very very good idea.

I also would suggest a polish and etch , by hand with the right materials and etchant, I'll bet the the outcome will show cold shuts and no lamination but I could be wrong, only one way to find out & that is elbow work and time, do not do it with any modern polishing tool or grinder, if you want good results then polishing by hand with graded polishing papers and WATER not oil is the way to do the job, and the water does not need to be special water, tap, or other will do the job. regards snody
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Old 26th May 2023, 01:34 PM   #23
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Default hilt and peened tang.

One more little and valid observation, the hilt of your knife is shorter than the original early tourist ones that I showed here in attached the pic with identical blade and scabbard, although your scabbard is minus its top curving carved section, so any re hilt with slightly shorter hilt would allow for a washer and peening over of the end of the tang, just an observation but a valid one for sure.
And one question, what are the spacer washers on the top and bottom ends of the hilt made from ??, can you tell which material has been used. regards Snody.
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Old 26th May 2023, 05:47 PM   #24
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@Snody

The hilt looks shorter indeed. However, no conclusion can be made if we were to compare length of the hilt alone.

-the tang length of the tourist sword is not visible. It's not surprising if it's really short. It could be too short to peen on a usable hilt.
-the hilts of authentic swords were also short.

The brown spacers are leather. Below are 2 more perfectly fitting brass spacers.
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Old 26th May 2023, 06:55 PM   #25
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It doesn't look like cast steel. Only cast steel can have cold shut.

It still really looks like forging errors as a result of laminating a blade.

I will post close ups and similar examples later.
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Old 26th May 2023, 07:27 PM   #26
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First one is the close up of the Taiwan blade. All others are close ups of antiques.
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Old 27th May 2023, 09:56 PM   #27
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Apologies. I thought I posted a reply.

The tang of the tourist knife is not visible. It is also possible that this tang is too short to peen on a usable hilt. It's not surprising for tourist quality. You only need to glue the tang on the hilt.

The brown spacers are leather. Below are 2 more brass spacers.

Also, cold shuts look different if I were to compare with online examples.
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