DescriptionAn old Chinese conical helmet of a ty
32 mm diameter
31.5 mm high
(40 mm with base)
25 mm diameter
23 mm high
(27.5 mm with base)
Length 17.1 cm
Taper 9.5 - 9 mm
7.2 cm from hilt
China, Ming or Qing dynasty
From a German source
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Maces with garlic-shaped heads appear in Chinese military treatises since the mid 11th century. Their military use seems to have waned by the late Ming, but they remained in limited military service and civilian use well into the Qing dynasty.
They are listed during the Song dynasty as suàntóu (蒜頭), simply "garlic head", and in the Ming as suàntóu gūduǒ (蒜頭骨朵), literally "garlic head mace".
Garlic maces in Chinese sources.
Left: Wǔbèizhì of 1621.
Right: Wǔjīng Zǒngyào of 1040-1044.
A typical example of an antique Chinese garlic mace. It consists of an iron rod of round cross-section, with a cast brass head with eight "cloves". The hilt consists of a brass polyhedron with 14 facets, a form also described as a truncated cube. The pommel mimics the mace head and differs primarily in size.
Dating is difficult with these, as styles seem to have changed little. Most collectors attribute them to the Ming dynasty but I believe their use did continue into the Qing but they did become far less common.
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As worn by Southern Chinese military and militiamen.
Probably of Southern origin, with a straight blade and flaring tip.
In the style of northern work of the 16th and 17th centuries
Chinese work for the Japanese market.
Canton work for the Japanese market, with 28 metal balls in separate compartments.