Language: Mandarin Chinese
Source: Antique object

Description

Sēn Shèng (森盛) appears on the handlebar of a Chinese téngpái (藤牌) or rattan shield. It is done in calligraphy using a brush and black ink.

Sen Sheng

 

"泰康路森盛造"

(Tàikāng lù sēn shèng zào)

or

"Made by Sēn Shèng of Tàikāng Street"

Explanation

Sēn Shèng (森盛) could be a personal name but is probably the name of a business. Today, there is a furniture company in China by that name.

Tàikāng Street is situated in Huángpǔ district (黄浦區), the old part of Shanghai. It was traditionally a market street, nowadays the area is focused on contemporary art.

The shield

The shield is a typical Chinese téngpái, made entirely of rattan with the addition of a wooden handlebar. The face of the shield is painted with a tiger face, as is common on Chinese rattan shields. The face on this example looks particularly life-like, much more so than on any other shield I know of.

The profile of this shield is rather pointy, which is something associated mostly with earlier shields. Such a shape is observed from the Ming to early Qing, after that the shields tend to become more flattened. By the 19th century, all shields depicted in art and early photography are mildly dome-shaped. Judging from the shape, this shield is probably from the 17th or 18th century.

Chinese rattan shield tengpai

The Sēn Shèng shield. From my personal collection.

Conclusion

Maker's marks on Chinese arms and armor are incredibly rare. As far as I know, this is the only signed Chinese rattan shield known in the world.

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