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Old 11th October 2006, 10:07 PM   #1
Bill M
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Default Moro shield

Just arrived 20" diameter. I think it is old and rare, but how old? How rare?

Comments?
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Old 11th October 2006, 10:46 PM   #2
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Nice shield.
What makes you think it's Moro?
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Old 12th October 2006, 08:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kino
Nice shield.
What makes you think it's Moro?


Kino,

I am not an expert in this particular variety of shield. However three experts I know all agreed that it was an "early, rare, Moro shield." I trust these men implicitly.

Kino, you know at least one of them well and have already talked with him about this. Actually you know some other really neat people well also.

I do not like to spread around names without their permission though I am happy to share the knowledge as long as they have not asked me to keep it myself. I believe that knowledge is free and belongs to everyone, but I have to keep my word.

I felt that I needed to move quickly to acquire it and do not have the detail information about why they felt it is a "rare, early Moro shield," but they have advised me well in the past and I trust that this is so.

As I have mentioned in the past, I correspond with a lot of experts who help me build my collection. Personally I am more of a generalist than a detail guy.

I often find something that gives me a feeling to acquire, run it by a few good people in that field and then if I and they have good feeling about the price, I acquire it.

In holding this piece I have a very good feeling of quality and age. Could I be wrong? Sure. But I have been traveling, meeting museum curators and collectors and handling a lot of good pieces, trying to develop my "eye."

I like to study a culture in depth, as much as I can from home -- I am putting my affairs in order to be able to travel and actually see some of these places and meet friends I am developing all over the world.

This has been my dream since I began collecting a few years ago. I am close to achieving this goal.

The people on this Forum have been a great help and I look forward to meeting you in Belgium, Philippines, Borneo, Beijing, Paris, UK, New Zealand and other places.

I post items both to share he beauty of these various cultures and also to find out more about them myself. This is why I ask for “comments.”

Guys, to me it is not so much the weapons and trappings that interest me as it is the people.

And I intend for the pieces I have collected to one day return to their homelands. I feel that this is proper and right. I constantly seek out guardians that will take over their care when I am gone.

Now don’t start lining up now! I have a few years left.

All in all we are merely temporary custodians of these objects. They were here a long time before any of us were born and with proper custodial care they will be here a long time after we are gone.

So again I ask for comments.

And I hope that I have answered your question, Kino about why I think it is a Moro shield.
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Old 12th October 2006, 09:11 PM   #4
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Bill take a look at this shield?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Handmade-Africa...1QQcmdZViewItem


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Old 12th October 2006, 11:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOUIEBLADES
Bill take a look at this shield?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Handmade-Africa...1QQcmdZViewItem


Lew


very similar. Wish I had seen it on eBay before it closed.
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Old 15th October 2006, 07:29 AM   #6
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Hi Bill do you have the book shields from Prestel
take a look on page 132 pic 66
not an moro shield experts not always on the right side


What make some one an expert Bill ???

regards Ben
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Old 15th October 2006, 08:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dajak
What make some one an expert Bill ???

regards Ben


Hi Ben,

To me an expert is someone who has studied a subject in depth and over a period of time, and is regarded as having knowledge by others in their field.

There are many people who call themselves "expert" who have only studied a subject a short time, but really have no depth of knowledge because they jump from one obsession to another without really ever paying the price to actually learn.

People who call themselves "expert" are usually not experts. They try to take bitter joy in deriding others to cover their lack of knowedge. They Sometimes even hide behind other people because they know direct and open communication will show their personal ignorance and insecurities.

True experts never really feel a need to brag as they are comfortable in their understanding.

I admit that I am no expert except in real estate investing. I have been doing this for 41 years. But even so, I still hire experts to advise me in specific matters like constantly changing tax laws, international banking, demographics and other business matters.

I enjoy learning and appreciate collecting ethnographic objects. Sure, I will buy some things that are not authentic. So what? I consider these things learning experiences, I would rather make mistakes and learn than just try to build myself up by running other people down.

I like my little shield and thank you for your comments and reference material. I will buy the book you recommend and study it.

Maybe the shield is Moro, maybe it is something else. I know that three men, well regarded in this field think that it is Moro. I really don't know. What I do know is that I like it and that is good enough for me.

I apologize for letting this conversation stray into more personal and social issues. These really are more appropriate to other forums. I think that we are here in this forum to discuss ethnographic weapons.

I will try to limit myself to this and offer to discuss other issues in private emails. If you all like, I will just post pictures of acquisitions and ask for comments.

Very truly yours,
Bill Marsh
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Old 15th October 2006, 09:17 AM   #8
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Hi Bill I am collecting more than 30 years
have a lot off books that I am study
see a lot off weapons did visit a lot off museums
but that does not make me an expert.
But someone that can recognise weapons even it is an mandau an pakayun
or an moro kris or an dajak shield .
And that is where the forum is for if you not sure you can ask the forum members.
And not to get upsett if it is something different about what you think about
it is .
Even I make mistakes in buying weapons.

The book from the USA National museum Bulletin 137 from1926 may also be fine to get .

Regards, Ben

Last edited by Dajak : 15th October 2006 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 15th October 2006, 10:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dajak
Hi Bill I am collecting more than 30 years
have a lot off books that I am study
see a lot off weapons did visit a lot off museums
but that does not make me an expert.
But someone that can recognise weapons even it is an mandau an pakayun
or an moro kris or an dajak shield .
And that is where the forum is for if you not sure you can ask the forum members.
And not to get upsett if it is something different about what you think about
it is .
Even I make mistakes in buying weapons.

Regards, Ben



Ben,

I appreciate your calm comments and you are right about this Forum! This is why I always ask for comments.

As I said, it is fine with me if I post a piece and someone says it is something else. It may be! This is one of the ways I learn. I like learning. Making mistakes and learning from them is one of the ways we learn!

Comments from Forum members may be right and they may be wrong. The books may be right and they may be wrong. Even curators of Museums may be right and they may be wrong. The fun is in the interchange. Getting to know people. Talking openly and freely --- AND respecting other peoples' viewpoints.

I am offended when other people's viewpoints are not respected.

But on experts. For example I know a woman who grew up in Burkina Faso. She was well educated in the artifacts, the religions, the politics, the art, the history of Burkina Faso. She, to me is an expert in pieces from BF. She has multiple degrees and a well-known depth of knowledge about Burkina Faso. She is the Curator of African Art at a well-known Museum.

I saw a marvelous crocodile mask from Burkina Faso. I really liked it though it was very expensive. She looked at it for me and said it was one of the finest examples of their art she had seen. She said that the price was good. I bought it. It is about five feet long.

I showed her another Burkina Faso mask from another dealer. He wanted about 1/20th the cost of the crocodile mask. She looked at it and said it was recent, but a fair represntation of how this type of mask should look.

My first criteria is that I like something. If it is an expensive piece, I have people who know the field look at it and then decide if I want to commit the money.

This is how I use experts. And I check out the "experts" before I consider them worth trusting. Through my busiiness contacts I can check credentials on almost anyone.

One of the great frustrations in email communication is that it is easy to misunderstand the other person. The majority of our human interpersonal communications is body language, tonality and tempo. The actual words make up less than 10% of our communication and that 10% is all we have here in emails. Well maybe capital letters and smilies!

Add to the above, there are a lot of people here from other countries for whom English is not their usual language of communication. I greatly respect these people for coming here and sharing. I would not even try to go to one of their Forums and try to post in their language.

The key word to me is "respect."

While I love the pieces we collect on this Forum, well most of them, the important thing to me is the people here. through this Forum I am developing relationships all over the world.

Yourself for example. You have been collecting 30 years! This is marvelous! I will make it a priority to come visit you someday. I also greatly value your respectful manner.

I have seen some of your pieces and, personally, I would consider you an expert, Ben. You really know your area. You have some great pieces! You have spent the time to learn. That is obvious even to a neophyte like me! If I had a chance to buy a pakayun, I might ask your opinion.

I will send you a private email to discuss another issue.

Thanking you for your consideration in these matters,

Bill
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Old 15th October 2006, 02:27 PM   #10
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This is an interesting discussion. What bothers me about it is that it seems there is some disagreement as to the origins of Bill's shield, but no one is really coming out and saying so. It would be wonderful if those forumites, "expert" or nor, who think this is something other than a Moro shield come out and say so and perhaps say why and what they think it might be. From the perspective of someone who knows nothing about this either way this skirting around the question only adds to my confusion. It does seem from the looks of your shield Bill that it is an authentic "something" If you guys don't think it's Moro, what do you think it is? Come on, Bill's not gonna bite ya.
Lew, i assume you are suggesting it might be African?
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Old 15th October 2006, 02:41 PM   #11
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It is in the book by prestel listed as Vietnamese but maybe it is African
I never see it listed as moro.
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Old 15th October 2006, 02:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dajak
It is in the book by prestel listed as Vietnamese but maybe it is African
I never see it listed as moro.


Could be Vietnamese.

I would like ot hear from some of the other people also. It sure looks and feels old. I think that any old rattan sheild is rare because rattan does not hold up that well and they were really undervalued for many years.

It is well made and in perfect condition. The seller is a very well known and prestigious dealer who got it from a collector who has been collecting things like this for over 30 years.

They called it "Moro." Whatever! It will look good hanging on my Moro armor!

Really a round rattan sheild without markings, emblematic bosses, special handles, any distinguishing marks, may be hard to place.

Any of the Moro people who want to respond?
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Old 15th October 2006, 03:13 PM   #13
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I think it is safe to say it is not African. The trouble with books of the last century, and therefore many collectors and dealers is that some things are seen and catalogued in an absolutist manner. This is very noticeable with African artifacts. When in reality there was a flux between borders, styles and some cultural influences. Many an objects form may be governed by wealth and local materials. Looking at this area of SE Asia, I would not at all be surprised if this shield form, with some local differences did not cover thousands of miles N,S,W and E.

Bill, what a fabulous glimpse at the depth of your collection. I like that adze.
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Old 15th October 2006, 03:44 PM   #14
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Well, when i look at the eBay example that Lew linked, while the form is similar the style of weaving appears to be a very different technique. Of course, this eBay example might not be African either for all i know.
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Old 15th October 2006, 07:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons
I think it is safe to say it is not African. The trouble with books of the last century, and therefore many collectors and dealers is that some things are seen and catalogued in an absolutist manner. This is very noticeable with African artifacts. When in reality there was a flux between borders, styles and some cultural influences. Many an objects form may be governed by wealth and local materials. Looking at this area of SE Asia, I would not at all be surprised if this shield form, with some local differences did not cover thousands of miles N,S,W and E.

Bill, what a fabulous glimpse at the depth of your collection. I like that adze.


Tim, Thank you for the compliment. The adz is a very special piece. It has been in a french collection for about a hundred years. Just got it a few months ago. The same curator who reccomended the crocodile mask said that I had to get the adz also.

The piece with breasts is a Theyyam body mask/ armor, used in trance rituals in Kerala / Malabar. Bet they are really busy with Goddess festivals about now!
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Old 15th October 2006, 07:48 PM   #16
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Maybe the book Basketry of the Luzon Cordillera, philippines

can help about the weaving form
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Old 15th October 2006, 10:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dajak
Maybe the book Basketry of the Luzon Cordillera, philippines

can help about the weaving form


Just ordered it from Amazon. Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dajak
Hi Bill do you have the book shields from Prestel
take a look on page 132 pic 66


can't find this book, Ben. Is that the exact title?
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Old 15th October 2006, 10:49 PM   #18
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Bill,

Appears published by 2 publishers. Here a fuller discription.


Benitez Johannot, P. and J.P. Barbier. To be published in 1998. Shields: Africa, Asia, Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific in the Barbier-Mueller Museum [working title]. Munich: Prestel Verlag.


Benitez Johannot, P. and J.P. Barbier. 1998. Shields: Africa, Asia, Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific [working title]. Genève: Musée Barbier-Mueller.

Spiral
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Old 15th October 2006, 10:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiral
Bill,

Appears published by 2 publishers. Here a fuller discription.


Benitez Johannot, P. and J.P. Barbier. To be published in 1998. Shields: Africa, Asia, Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific in the Barbier-Mueller Museum [working title]. Munich: Prestel Verlag.


Benitez Johannot, P. and J.P. Barbier. 1998. Shields: Africa, Asia, Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific [working title]. Genève: Musée Barbier-Mueller.

Spiral


Sorry, can't find it anywhere. Any links?

Bill
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Old 15th October 2006, 11:09 PM   #20
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Old 16th October 2006, 12:19 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiral




Thanks Jon,

Ordered one.

Warmest regards,
Bill
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Old 16th October 2006, 07:27 AM   #22
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Rattan Shield of Bill Marsh ........> I have one comment Bill says its in perfect condition.

I beg to differ ... I looked at the pics and see that brass wire is holding one of the handles of the shield together.Seems to me the other side is bound with rattan(original).In my book this is NOT perfect condtion since it has a repair to the shield .. You see the wire on the front of the shield as well.

Please check out the other thread Authentic MORO SHIELD to see a Classic Moro shield .... What I would call perfect condition considering its age ... A very fine example of a MORO shield..............

Cy
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Old 16th October 2006, 07:59 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclura99
Rattan Shield of Bill Marsh ........> I have one comment Bill says its in perfect condition.

I beg to differ ... I looked at the pics and see that brass wire is holding one of the handles of the shield together.Seems to me the other side is bound with rattan(original).In my book this is NOT perfect condtion since it has a repair to the shield .. You see the wire on the front of the shield as well.

Please check out the other thread Authentic MORO SHIELD to see a Classic Moro shield .... What I would call perfect condition considering its age ... A very fine example of a MORO shield..............

Cy



Chris,

I meant the shield itself is in perfect condition. No cuts, tears, damaged or loose rattan. Sure one of the handles has been re-wired on, but the rattan is untouched.

But thank you for your kind observation.

Please keep your pictures of authentic pieces coming. I, for one, enjoy looking at them!
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Old 16th October 2006, 04:41 PM   #24
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I'm of the opinion that this shield is likely Chinese. I've seen maybe a dozen Chinese shields over the years, and this one fits the general size, shape, composition, and weaving. The handles are a little odd, but it isn't anything that sends up a red flag to me.

Having said that, Ben is correct, the Barbier-Mueller book does identify a similar shield as Vietnamese. Also, a line drawing of a very similar shield shows up in Huard and Durand's book, VIET NAM CIVILIZATION AND CULTURE (the English translation of, CONNAISSANCE DU VIETNAM). That the Vietnamese and Chinese use similar (or identical) rattan shields is hardly surprising. The materials are readily available in that part of the world, and the resulting product is light and able to withstand a sword blow. Shields are not my area of expertise, but I would guess that, without specific provenance, it is impossible to tell the difference between Chinese and Vietnamese rattan shields (unless the shield is painted with the telltale tiger face, which is a Chinese affectation). All things being equal, I would say Chinese is the best guess because, statistically, I would expect more of these shields to be made in China.

Having said all that, I am not discounting the possibility of a Moro origin. Again, rattan is rattan, and any culture capable of making a rattan basket is certainly capable of making a rattan shield. The problem is, I have never seen a rattan shield attributed to any of the Moro peoples. The only Moro shields I've seen have been the round, wooden ones of various sizes.

Bill, do you have any photographic evidence that the Moros used rattan shields? Or, possibly, cite a written example? I have a passing curiousity about these things, and I'd appreciate any information you can provide.

Thanks,
Nick
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Old 17th October 2006, 08:23 AM   #25
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I have a shield book and a book on basketry of the Luzon on the way. I am hoping that these will provide more information. Will let you know when they arrive.

Thanks Ben for your help!

I am researching two areas, the basketry pattern as possibly being Luzon and the shape of the handles. These look like handles on many other Moro shields.

There is not a lot else to go on. I suspect it is a Moro "economy" shield. Unusual in that it seems quite old. Rare in that not a lot of rattan shields have survived intact.

Still curious about the hole in the center. Could this have once held some kind of boss? Or wooden plug?

Any other ideas? Certainly could be another culture!
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Old 18th October 2006, 01:45 AM   #26
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Hi it is a Vietnamese shield and more rare than the Moro shields.
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Old 19th October 2006, 09:33 PM   #27
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Hello Zelmoxis,

You sound very certain that this is Vietnamese and not Chinese. Do you know how to tell the two apart? Are you using a source other than the Barbier-Mueller book or the Huard and Durand book?

Honestly, up until now, I had thought the two shield designs to be identical. But, if you can distinguish them by weaving pattern or some other way, I REALLY want to know. I collect Vietnamese arms myself, and such information would be invaluable to me.

Just to give you an idea of my problem, I'm attaching a line drawing from the Chinese military manual, LIEN PING SHIH CHI, written and illustrated in 1571 (and reproduced in Osprey Military's, MEN-AT-ARMS SERIES, LATE IMPERIAL CHINESE ARMIES, 1520-1840). As you can see, it looks just like Bill's shield, or for that matter, any other large, round rattan shield.

Anyway, I hope you can help.
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Old 20th October 2006, 05:37 AM   #28
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Sorry I'm a bit late to the discussion, but when LouieBlades posted a link to an eBay sale, I checked it and the shield did ring a bell. I'm convinced that the rattan shield that sold on eBay was not African as described, but a Chinese buckler called a "tengpai", in use until well into the 19th cent. The shape, manner of weaving, and the attachments for grasping attached to the concave back-side are typical. Most people would expect to see the painted "tiger face" motif that would immediately tip them off that it is Chinese, but I have encountered variations which include Chinese characters done with a brush in black paint, and others which (like this one) are perfectly plain. In the 1990s I had the chance to examine two plain ones in a large collection of Chinese arms in London; from their provenance, they were definitely not of African or Philippine origin.

Practically every tengpai I have seen has a smooth, shallow domed profile, although my colleague, Scott Rodell, has seen a conical example as depicted in the woodblock illustration that Nick Wardigo has so kindly posted. Some tengpai have round metal bosses in the center (similar in concept to those seen on Ottoman shields).

What strikes me as different about Bill's example which is the subject of this thread are:
1. The little "nipple" in the center
2. The pair of identical wood handgrips, in lieu of the usual single handgrip plus a wicker arm-loop.
These features merit further study and investigation. All in all, it's an interesting piece, and thanks to Bill for sharing it with us.
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Old 21st October 2006, 04:18 PM   #29
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I also wanted to mention that the Koreans used similar shields. I'm posting drawings from the recent translation of the Muye Dobo Tongji, the Korean military manual originally commissioned in 1790 by King Jungjo. Six of the fighting systems, including shield fighting, were based on an older Korean manual, the Muye Jebo, published shortly after 1598. This, in turn, was based upon a Ming (Chinese) military manual (I believe the same one that the drawing above comes from; the author's name is similar ["Ch'i Chi-kuang" in the Osprey book; "Chuk Kye-kwang" in the Muye Dobo Tongji]).

My point is, rattan shield-fighting was prevalent in China, Vietnam, and Korea as early as the 16th century (probably much earlier), still widely used in 1790 (at least enough to warrant prominent mention in a Korean military manual), and existed at least until the end of the nineteenth century. There was clearly a sharing of shield-fighting techniques across borders, and I would expect also a sharing of shield-making techniques, if not the shields themselves.

In short, unless someone can describe variations in weaving techniques (and in the absence of distinctive decorative motifs, like the Chinese tiger face), I am increasingly of the opinion that it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to distinguish the rattan shields from China, Vietnam, Korea, and possibly other Asian countries.
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Old 22nd October 2006, 06:44 PM   #30
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Default shield and saber fighting -- China and neighbors

Thanks, Nick, for the illustrations from the Muye Dobo Tongji. Interesting to see the saber shown next to the shield. This set of illustrations parallels the entry in the Chinese compendium of court regalia and military equipment regulations, HUANGCHAO LIQI TUSHI of 1759. In the hilt weapons chapter there are two entries with woodcuts, one of the shield used by the Tengpai (rattan shield) Division [pages 21a,b], and one of the saber (piandao) issued to same unit [pp 23a,b]. The shield has the same conical center profile as the one in the 1790 Korean book cited in the first sentence above, the only significant difference appears to be that the Chinese one has Mr. Tiger snarling at you from the front side.

Note also the saber. In the Korean manual, it is depicted with a strongly curved blade, not the norm for the usual Korean sabers we encounter on the antiques market or in martial arts videos today. In the HCLQTS, the "piandao" is also deeply curved, more so than the liuyedao or yanmaodao that are commonly encountered. Also note the name, "piandao" means "slicing saber" , implying that it is mainly meant for the drawcut.

We see parallels in India and the Near East, with both the strongly-curved sabers in use there (talwar, shamshir, kilij, etc) and the almost universal coupling of saber AND shield in their martial arts techniques.
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