Antique Chinese spearhead
Overall length

44.9 cm

Blade length

28 cm

Blade thickness

Base 8 mm

Widest 6 mm

5 cm from tip 4 mm

Blade width

Base 38 mm

Widest part 35.5

Weight

523 grams

Materials

Iron, steel, brass.

Origin

Qing dynasty, China.

Dating

19th century.

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Introduction

The spear is called qiāng () 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.

 

This example

A classic example of a Chinese spear, probably Qing military.

It features a blade of elegant form with a waisted profile leading up to a 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 pretty good condition for one of these. The blade with only some superficial rust and patina, it is in a state good enough to be sent to Philip Tom for a polish. I expect a layered steel construction will expose itself.

 

Antique Chinese spearhead
Antique Chinese spearhead
Antique Chinese spearhead
Antique Chinese spearhead
Antique Chinese spearhead
Antique Chinese spearhead
Antique Chinese spearhead

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Of classic shape, with a leaf-shaped blade on a socket, connected by a cast bronze base.

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