Unusual Chinese duanjian with fine gilt mounts and a blade of non-Chinese origin.
Base 6 mm
At widest part 5.5 mm
5 cm from tip 3.5 mm
Base 30 mm
Widest part 37 mm
Iron, steel, brass.
Qing dynasty, China.
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The spear is called qiāng (鎗) in Mandarin, its head is a qiāng tóu (鎗头). They have been an important weapon in Chinese warfare, used by the military, village militia, and peasant rebels alike, in some places until well into the 20th century.
Chinese spearheads are incredibly hard to date because very few ever come with good provenance to date and attribute others by, and styles stayed the same for long periods of time. Spearheads are rather hard to date because because very few ever come with good provenance to date and attribute others by, and they have no unexposed areas from which to date the patina like sword tangs. Also, their design changes over the years are quite subtle with many styles overlapping as well.
Hallmarks of Chinese manufacture are a socketed construction, a slender neck, and a leaf-shaped head. There is usually a bolster on the neck, sometimes in the form of a brass or iron polyhedron or some other cast brass structure. Blades always tend to be forge folded, often with inserted edges.
For more about spears, see my article: Spears of the Qing dynasty.
A classic example of a Chinese spear, probably Qing military.
It features a blade of quite elegant form for its type, with a more strongly waisted profile and a sudden widening before tapering to a point. Mounted on a socket.
In-between socket and blade is a cast brass element featuring a tube, a polyhedron, and a triangular structure all cast in one piece of brass. It is decorated with dimples with circles around it, often found on such spearheads.
In decent condition. Blade with deep patina and some pitting, deepening near the tip. Tip is a little rounded from wear.
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A robust and heavy example, crafted with care.
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