Unusual Chinese duanjian with fine gilt mounts and a blade of non-Chinese origin.
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A classic example of a set of Chinese double shortswords, of better than average quality.
The blades with a center ridge on both sides and a secondary edge bevel. The tips are triangular, so-called "male points". Blades are left in their original finish with the faint diagonal scratches that are typically seen on these.
The hilts are built around two nice pieces of carved buffalo horn, polished to a high gloss to reveal their attractive grain. The guards are of the Tāotiè (饕餮) form with a stylized monster without a lower jaw.
Pommel and ferrule are in the kuíwén (夔紋) style decoration consisting of archaic kuī-dragon patterns. Such patterns were inspired by those seen on very early Chinese bronzes which were prized collectibles among the Chinese elite.
The ray-skin-covered scabbard is mounted with a full set of five heavy brass kuíwén style mounts. It features a large center suspension mount with a shield with a rain dragon, or chīlóng (螭龍), recognizable by its salamander-like appearance and bifurcated tail. The other suspension mount has a cartouche with the words Lóngquán (龍泉) in seal script, referring to the famous sword-making town in Zhejiang province. I believe the set is most likely made in Guangzhou (Canton), and the referral is purely symbolic.
Shortswords in this style were produced in Guangzhou (Canton) from at least the 1840s to 1880s, possibly longer. This set probably dates from around the mid 19th century.
Good condition throughout. Clean blades. No significant damage to mounts, hilts or scabbard. See photos for a complete view of the condition.
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A what? Yes exactly. An extremely rare piece, the only example I am aware of in published collections at…
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All the designs being true inlay, with almost no losses.
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