Peter Dekker

I am a researcher and trader in antique arms and armor, based in the city of Haarlem, the Netherlands. I am the sole proprietor of Mandarin Mansion. More about Mandarin Mansion.

I work closely with Philip Tom, a friend and respected colleague in this field. He is a professional restorer of antique arms and armor from all over the world. More about Philip Tom.

Over the years I have built a reputation as a thorough researcher which enabled me to advise some of the world's top experts, dealers, collectors, and institutions. I have worked with the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Royal Armories in Leeds, the British Museum, the Pitt-Rivers in Oxford, the Klingenmuseum in Solingen, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and many others.


A passion for antique arms

Antique arms are a wonderful field of study that provides many angles to explore. There is the functional design element, often incorporating the most advanced technology a culture had access to. In terms of craftsmanship, no other field of collecting includes work in all materials combined: textiles, wood, leather, pigments, metals, etc. It's where the jeweler, the embroiderer, the woodworker, and the blacksmith came together to create a single item. Antique arms can reflect the refined aesthetics and ornamentation preferred by the elites that could afford them.


Antique arms researcher Peter Dekker in his natural surroundings


Areas of focus

I have a strong foundation in the arms of China and surrounding areas like the Himalayas, India, and Southeast Asia. Interest spread to India, the Islamic world, and Japan. Among some of my personal interests are the Manchu military of the Qing dynasty, Sinhalese arms, early Japanese swords, and cross-cultural items that are the products of Asian maritime trade.


Antique arms sold by Peter Dekker of Mandarin Mansion


How I work

I do not merely want to buy and sell with some profit on top, without adding anything of value. I aim to earn my margin by exercising great care in selecting, photographing, researching, and presenting my items.

I value my reputation as a researcher and am keenly aware of the fact that this reputation is on the line with every article I produce. As such, I err on the careful side of dating and attributing my items. You will not find sales pitches or excessive superlatives on these pages. All items are described to the best of my present knowledge.

Another way in which I hope to contribute to the community is through "the Glossary", a growing online resource for arms and armor related terminology to which I add and expand articles on a regular basis.

Contact me if you are looking for anything specific, I might have it or may be able to find it for you. What is on my site is usually only a fraction of what I have or have access to, and some of my best pieces have sold before I was able to list them on my site.


Pleased to meet you!


-Peter Dekker


Contact me