Silver Mongolian trousse
This item has been sold.
Overall length

Sheathed 29.6 cm

Knife 25.6 cm

Blade length

13.8 cm

Blade thickness

Base 3.5 mm

Blade width

Base 14.7 mm

Weight

Set 290 grams

Knife 102 grams

Materials

Iron, steel, silver, bone, wood

Origin

Mongolia or Northern China

Provenance

From a Hong Kong private collection

Sold

Interested?
Anything similar for sale?

Contact me

"Every man has a silver-handled knife, silver-handled chopsticks, both fitting into a heavy silver case, a silver flint case, knobs for his keys, saddle, bridle, and backstrap ornaments of silver. Many people have food basins gold- or silver-lined. Silversmiths take 40 per cent of the silver for their work. They do not have any designs except those which they carry in their heads. 

The craftsman goes to the encampment where he is desired to work. Each member of the family who has a lump of silver and wants an article made talks with him about the design he or she would like. One wants antelopes in a grove of birches in relief on the bottom of his food bowl. Another desires the eight emblems of sacrifice in a circle round the wood. Another would like coral and jade set in the pattern of a flower on the two sides of his snuff bottle. A young girl wants a dragon twisted into a bracelet. A man would like the twelve animals of the zodiac on his knife sheath so that he can keep track more easily of the name of the year.

When the silversmith knows what is wanted, he gets out his crucible for melting the metal and the tools for shaping it. The lump of pure gold or pure silver is handed over to him and he goes to work. 

The Mongol silversmith does beautiful, solid work, equal to any metal work that I have seen in any other place in the world." 

From: Frans August Larson; Larson Duke of Mongolia. Boston, Little, Brown, and Company. Page 66.

 

Description

A Mongolian trousse set with very finely crafted silver mounts, wooden scabbard, and bone chopsticks.

The knife has a single fullered, laminated blade with stylized scrollwork of iron forged into the blade in a contrasting color of iron. The hilt has a silver pommel with a bird on one side and a deer on the other.

Mongolian knife

Mongolian knife

Mongolian knifeMongolian knife

 

The chopsticks are tipped with silver caps and worked in repousse with designs of flowers and vines.

Chopstick caps

 

The scabbard endpiece is decorated with a dragon on the front, emerging from a wavy sea and chasing a flaming jewel. To the left and right of the dragon are the eight accouterments of the Eight Immortals of folk Daoism. At the very bottom is a meandering line referred to as "rolling thunder". On the back is a strip with the same pattern, extremely finely executed, ending with a bat which symbolizes luck.

 

Chape

 

At the top of the scabbard is a mount with Lao Zi, the mythical founder of Taoism and acclaimed author of the Dao De Jing. The sides of this fitting depict several Chinese scholar's objects.

 

Lao Zi

 

Dating & attribution

What this trousse lacks in age, it makes up for in quality and condition. It probably dates from the first decades of the 20th century, and the wealth of Chinese symbolism suggests it was probably made for a Khalka Mongol, the most Chinese-influenced among the Mongol tribes. 

The Khalkas were close allies to the Qing dynasty and served in the Mongolian Eight Banners until the Qing fell in 1911. The Mongols claimed independence from China's new rulers in 1921.

 

Conclusion

A beautiful Mongolian trousse set, complete and in excellent condition. The silver mounts represent some of the finest work done in Mongolia at the time.

 

Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse
Fine Mongolian silver trousse

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me
Currently available:

20th century military khukurī with many different tools in its back pocket.

€650,-

Unusual example with hilts carved in lionesque heads.

€850,-

The thick and heavy blade is marked with a script that has yet to be identified.

€600,-

Simple piece with a beautiful blade profile.

€650,-

With gold koftgari decorated hilt.

€3500,-

The hilt with remains of silver plating.

€3800,-