Large southern Chinese saber
Overall length

91.7 cm

Blade length

71.8 cm

Blade thickness

Base 6 mm
At 12 cm 4.5 mm
Middle 4.5 mm
Near tip 3.5 mm

Blade width

Base 36 mm
At 12 cm 38 mm
Middle 36 mm
Near tip 20 mm

Weight without scabbard

806 grams

Point of balance

18.5 cm from guard

Origin

Southern China, probably Canton
(Guangdong)

Materials

Iron, steel, brass, wood, silk, ray-skin, green pigment

Dating

Second half 19th century

Interested?
Anything similar for sale?

Contact me

Description

A large Chinese officer's saber or pèidāo (佩刀) from southern China of a somewhat unusual style, probably a privately commissioned piece.

Blade

It is built around a beautifully forged blade, in full polish by Philip Tom, revealing a burl grain pattern on the forge folded layers that flank its inserted high-carbon steel edge plate. The edge, in turn, was heat treated, showing subtle cloudy effects of the crystallization of the carbon. The blade has no grooves, so the forge folded patterns can be enjoyed to the fullest. The work is very tightly forged.

The blade is long and starts fairly wide, reaching its greatest width at some 12 cm from the guard and then gradually narrowing and with a tip that sweeps up gently, reminding much more of the profiles seen on Ming sabers on artwork than the typical Qing style. It also has a subtle back bevel at the tip to further lighten this section for improved handling. These design elements are all hallmarks of southern Chinese work.

Hilt

The hilt retains its original dark blue silk wrap which is now a dark greenish hue due to its age. The cast brass hilt mounts are decorated with archaic designs of kui dragons which were inspired by old bronzes collected by the Qing upper class. Such mounts were probably made in Guangzhou in the second half of the 19th century, as various antique sabers with similar mounts come with provenance from that area.

Scabbard

It comes with its original wooden scabbard with emerald green ray-skin covering, and a complete set of cast brass mounts with kui dragon decor that matches the hilt mounts.

Use and handling

The smart geometry with a subtle back bevel and tapering tip section lend this saber a much more lively and responsive feel than the bare numbers would suggest. Due to the size and where the balance is, this is probably a cavalry saber but it's nimble enough to serve well in regular infantry use as well.

Condition

Some losses to the wrap, what is there is fairly stable but not good enough for rigorous training with this piece. Minor play in the guard. Losses to the ray-skin at the scabbard and a missing sliver of wood at the top of the scabbard. Handle is fairly tight. Blade in near-excellent condition, almost entirely free of pitting. It retains its original contours and has no nicks.

Conclusion

A nice and large Southern Chinese saber, probably a privately commissioned piece for a mounted officer. It is built around a very nicely forged blade that shows off nice tight burl pattern.

Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber
Large southern Chinese saber

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me

With wootz handle with fine pierced pommel dome.

€3500,-

A large Kachin style square-ended dha in Shan style mountings.

€1500,-

Presented by the local Dai nobility to a British customs officer in 1936.

€3200,-

A fine Chinese straightsword blade, of typical Qing form with a rather wide profile.

€4500,-

Chiseled with a rare type of decor on the base, and with two Islamic inscriptions.

€6500,-

A rather well-made example of its type.

€1500,-
ARTICLE
A saber glossary in Manchu
An overview of Manchu saber terminology.
Read the article
ARTICLE
Spears of the Qing dynasty
In this article I highlight a number of spears used by the Qing dyn...
Read the article
ARTICLE
Jianruiying (2); weapons and equipment
The Jianruiying was an elite division of the Qing dynasty military ...
Read the article
ARTICLE
Jianruiying (1); introduction
The Jianruiying were a small elite unit of specially selected Manch...
Read the article