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Old 10th December 2020, 10:22 PM   #31
Philip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
here is an image from Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weaponry (frankly i don't know much about this source) that makes mention of Chinese cloisonné daggers and makes the claim that they were created for sale to the West.
The style of the motifs themselves, the color scheme, and the workmanship of the cloisonnée are indeed consistent with that medium as seen on any number of curio articles produced in China during the period cited. I've lost count of all the ashtrays I've seen at estate sales with exactly the same patterns, the underside below the foot-rim done up with the plain lumpy turquoise enamel seen on other articles from the twilight of the Qing and early Republic.

The usefulness of these daggers as letter openers and little else is something I can back up with observation -- in my career in restoration I have encountered a few with detached blades, revealing a matchstick-sized tang held in the metal or jade hilt with a bit of resin adhesive. Exactly like the vast majority of (much pricier) jade and crystal hilted Mughal daggers that collectors seem to go gaga over -- blingy but feckless.
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Old 10th December 2020, 10:40 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt

And by the way, I can't remember this shape of knives in China And you?
Hello, Mahratt!

Let's say that the overall shape of these knives can be described as "Chinese-ish" . Or as I like to say, "close but no cigar". Let's see:

1. The blade shape resembles the exaggerated version of the tip of many Chinese sabers of the late Imperial period. At first hurried glance I wondered if these might be recycled tips of broken or discarded sabers (in an earlier post I mentioned seeing these silver decorative weapons with re-used (generally shortened) Chinese or Japanese blades. But the curve on these is too abrupt to have come offan actual saber. Furthermore the fuller seems to end before the guard, whereas a saber tip would have the channel continuing further back along its original length.

2. The flattened discoid guard does have stylistic antecedents in the tsuba-like guards typical of Chinese (and also most Korean and Vietnamese) sabers, and even some double edged swords.

3. Downward-curving grips are also a feature of Chinese saber hilts, coming into vogue from the late 18th cent. onwards but traceable to a few depictions in Ming/Qing transition period art, some surviving examples, and even to the handles of bronze Ordos-basin finds from the classical bronze age.

But looked at in toto, these knives are best regarded as a fanciful interpretation of these early forms, plus decorative motifs from Inner Asia, to create such a delightful mishmosh. Sort of what Madama Butterfly and Turandot are to Kabuki and Peking opera, respectively.
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Old 10th December 2020, 10:46 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
So i'm trying to understand just what opinion you are most offended by here. Is it the insistence that your daggers are more likely early 20th century than late 19th century or is it the idea that these were most probably made for export to Western collectors?
This is not exactly the same style as your daggers, but here is an image from Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weaponry (frankly i don't know much about this source) that makes mention of Chinese cloisonné daggers and makes the claim that they were created for sale to the West.
I think that these daggers are probably made for the western market is a consence here. Maybe some of them are official presents, but that is speculative.

And I don't debate because of one or two decades. The actual theme of the discussion is: Are these daggers new souvenirs (maybe 70s) or are they old (early 20th, maybe late 19th century). I think my daggers are old.
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Old 10th December 2020, 11:08 PM   #34
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Default postwar production

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzoadler
After the Japanese invasion the circumstances in China donīt let me believe, that they still made such pieces.

Regards
The production seemed to have continued, at a respectable quality level, after WW II and even post-Mao. On two trips to China during the 1970s, I was taken to artisanal "factories" where various high-end decorative art objects were crafted, and both daggers and full-length swords of similar type were being made. Once I was shown a jade hilt in process, intended to go on a custom-ordered repro of a gilt Qianlong era dagger. This sort of stuff was at that time offered at retail only in exclusive gift shops in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, which were off limits to the local yokels (who couldn't afford the prices anyway), and which were geared towards overseas visitors, which at that time were mostly embassy folks, businessmen, academics, and high-end tourists.
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Old 11th December 2020, 05:45 AM   #35
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[QUOTE=Philip]Hello, Mahratt!

But looked at in toto, these knives are best regarded as a fanciful interpretation of these early forms, plus decorative motifs from Inner Asia, to create such a delightful mishmosh. Sort of what Madama Butterfly and

Bravo. Very precise wording.

Last edited by Rick; 12th December 2020 at 04:04 AM.
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Old 11th December 2020, 05:49 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzoadler
I think that these daggers are probably made for the western market is a consence here. Maybe some of them are official presents, but that is speculative.

And I don't debate because of one or two decades. The actual theme of the discussion is: Are these daggers new souvenirs (maybe 70s) or are they old (early 20th, maybe late 19th century). I think my daggers are old.
Are you okay if your daggers are 1950s souvenirs? I think this is the most accurate date for them.
But you can believe they were made in the late 19th century. If you like it better
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Old 11th December 2020, 07:23 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Are you okay if your daggers are 1950s souvenirs? I think this is the most accurate date for them.
But you can believe they were made in the late 19th century. If you like it better
I really donīt know why do you think it is necessary to discuss in that presumptuous tone. You are the only one here who didnīt contribute anything constructive until now. Your only goal seems to mock this theme but if I tell you a question you donīt react.
I personally said that this two daggers and all other showed pieces probably were made in a sereotypical style for Eurpoeans. So that is no new determination of Philip.
Also believe is not interesting for me. The theme was a realsistic time space were this or similar daggers were produced. I made comparisons with probably old pieces and kubur showed a book with a sword in similar style, which is dated as an old piece. And Philip told us a story he experienced in the past. I canīt check this story regarding trueness and if the pieces he saw were really or only remotely similar. But in general his story is believable.
You said my comparisons are laughable and let yourself look ridiculous when you told us there are so much differences between the sword in the book and my daggers. Come down from your high horse

Regards
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Old 11th December 2020, 08:06 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzoadler
I really donīt know why do you think it is necessary to discuss in that presumptuous tone. You are the only one here who didnīt contribute anything constructive until now. Your only goal seems to mock this theme but if I tell you a question you donīt react.
I personally said that this two daggers and all other showed pieces probably were made in a sereotypical style for Eurpoeans. So that is no new determination of Philip.
Also believe is not interesting for me. The theme was a realsistic time space were this or similar daggers were produced. I made comparisons with probably old pieces and kubur showed a book with a sword in similar style, which is dated as an old piece. And Philip told us a story he experienced in the past. I canīt check this story regarding trueness and if the pieces he saw were really or only remotely similar. But in general his story is believable.
You said my comparisons are laughable and let yourself look ridiculous when you told us there are so much differences between the sword in the book and my daggers. Come down from your high horse

Regards
My friend, if you don't see the difference between the items that you and Kubur put up, I can't help you For me and, apparently, not only for me - this difference is very noticeable. So is the difference between your knives and the jugs you posted in the thread. This is the difference in style, decoration techniques and jewelry work.
Here on the forum all are very polite and tolerant people and therefore cannot tell you directly that your daggers are souvenir nonsense. But I'm used to calling things by their proper names
You have one option to be sure that your daggers are really old and made in the 19th century. You need to find a photo of the late 19th century, which shows a European or a Chinese with a dagger like yours, or a European's room in which such a dagger hangs on the wall. Then everyone will agree that you were right. And I'll be the first to apologize to you.
In the meantime, gain experience, my friend And then you yourself will be able to distinguish souvenirs from real antique daggers.

Best wishes
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Old 11th December 2020, 08:17 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
My friend, if you don't see the difference between the items that you and Kubur put up, I can't help you For me and, apparently, not only for me - this difference is very noticeable. So is the difference between your knives and the jugs you posted in the thread. This is the difference in style, decoration techniques and jewelry work.
Here on the forum all are very polite and tolerant people and therefore cannot tell you directly that your daggers are souvenir nonsense. But I'm used to calling things by their proper names
You have one option to be sure that your daggers are really old and made in the 19th century. You need to find a photo of the late 19th century, which shows a European or a Chinese with a dagger like yours, or a European's room in which such a dagger hangs on the wall. Then everyone will agree that you were right. And I'll be the first to apologize to you.
In the meantime, gain experience, my friend And then you yourself will be able to distinguish souvenirs from real antique daggers.

Best wishes
That is exactly the answer I expected from you. I think it is not necessary to comment your answers anymore.
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Old 11th December 2020, 09:14 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzoadler
That is exactly the answer I expected from you. I think it is not necessary to comment your answers anymore.
I'm glad that you finally understood what your daggers are
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Old 11th December 2020, 09:29 AM   #41
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Tourist trade items. 20th Century.
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Old 11th December 2020, 11:54 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzoadler
I personally said that this two daggers and all other showed pieces probably were made in a sereotypical style for Eurpoeans. So that is no new determination of Philip.
I'm sorry Robin, but i need to call you out just a little bit here. This is your introductory post to these daggers.
"I learned a lot about some other pieces here and now I have another question to the forum:
I saw other similar daggers at auctions.
For what purpose these daggers where made?
Are they official presents? An expensive decoration?
Maybe lucky charms?
Or officially worn weapons for important persons? (I don't believe that)
Who knows more than me?
"
None of your opening post suggests that you believed at first that these were high-end souvenirs made for the European market.
You opened with how you have learned a lot from postings on this forum and then you ask "Who knows more than me?", but apparently you are only interested in listening to what some very knowledgeable people have to say about these pieces if what they say agrees with your preconceived idea that they are 19th century antiques. You even resist a first-hand account of a well-respected researcher here who saw similar items being produced in a Chinese factory in the 1970s,
"I canīt check this story regarding trueness and if the pieces he saw were really or only remotely similar." even if you do concede that "in general his story is believable."
I am truly sorry that no one here is giving you the answers that you want to hear, but i'm afraid that is not the way this works. I would suggest that if you are really not interested in what knowledgable collectors on this forum have to say about your daggers that you simply move on and continue to believe whatever makes you feel best about your purchases.
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Old 12th December 2020, 04:02 AM   #43
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Guys, the feedback for Gonzoadler has been consistent and well informed. Thanks for all of your comments. Robin is free to accept or reject them, as he wishes. I think David has summed up the situation, and unless someone has new information they wish to share perhaps we can move on.

Ian
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Old 13th December 2020, 07:25 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
.....

But looked at in toto, these knives are best regarded as a fanciful interpretation of these early forms, plus decorative motifs from Inner Asia, to create such a delightful mishmosh. Sort of what Madama Butterfly and Turandot are to Kabuki and Peking opera, respectively.
Nice comparison. But I do like Puccini. Comparing him with these chistmasy chinese bling daggers / letter openers does not do him justice...
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Old 13th December 2020, 10:08 AM   #45
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Gentlemen,
There is no doubt that these daggers were made as souvenirs for the Westerners sometimes in the the 20th ( 21st?) century. We just cannot be sure when exactly: Chinese manufacturers saw commercial success of the model and adhered to it. We may only guess their age by their physical condition. Personally, I would not want them in my collection. But by the same token, I would not want in my collection any Chinese weapon: not my area of interest and not my taste. Some people collect ridiculous things like postal stamps:-)
Collecting is a very personal experience just like art in general and music in particular. Having sat through a Kabuki performance, I definitely prefer Madama Butterfly. On top of that, all of us have our personal Walls of Shame with things bought on a spur of the moment and being more or less fake-y.
With all that, this Forum is a sounding board. All of us have a right and an obligation to offer an honest opinion about an object presented here for general discussion. Philip's remarks fall right into that category and based on his vast knowledge of the subject are immensely valuable. The majority of participants also adhered to that mode of discussion.

But I do not think that supercilious, sarcastic and personal remarks should have a place here, especially from those of us not knowing much (or anything) about Chinese history, art, weapons, decoration, techniques etc.

Guy Francis Laking was known for his custom of never denigrating the owner and always saying a good thing or two about any object brought to him for authentication. Let's adhere to that gentlemanly principle. Let's concentrate on the "problem", not on the "drama".

My 5 cents.

Last edited by ariel; 13th December 2020 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 13th December 2020, 11:30 AM   #46
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Actually, after Ian's advice, i hardly saw a window to insist in beating a dead horse or, as we say in my neck of the woods, in raining on the wet .
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Old 13th December 2020, 11:55 AM   #47
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Talking

Thank you Ariel for your appeasing comment.
My knowledge on Chinese weapons =0 and therefore, I followed this debate as a spectator. But since this type of arguments are a recurring theme in the forum, the subject is interesting for all.
I do not even think that Gonzoadler originally meant to present these daggers as valuable historical items - see the title - but it just escalated because some remarks were intentionally dismissive.
On the other hand, this forum would not be much fun if we could not joke and argue sometimes. It is not easy for everybody to find the right balance and I have also been on the receiving end of such remarks in the past.

As for the issue of authenticity itself, this is a constant dilemma for most collectors, and especially the those who can not afford high-end items. I personally try to avoid types that were not made for local use at any stage of their life, even if they are well made. For example, I avoid all-metal Syrian daggers with silver koftgari because I have never seen one that has been carried or used.

This issue is even more difficult for the many types of weapons that moved seamlessly from authentic items into the tourist trade, while still also in use by locals, like koummyas, Arabian jambiyas and khanjars, Majdali dagger, shibriyas and I guess, several Indian, South-east Asian and Oceanic weapons too. As Ariel said, it is a matter of personal taste and you can agree or disagree as long as you do it properly
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Old 13th December 2020, 12:22 PM   #48
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Hello,

@David: Philips answer is the only answer which gives a note that this daggers were made later which isnīt based on speculation. Because of his experience that seems to be possible, of course. But I think I donīt offend him if I say that only one stated personal experience which canīt be checked in detail by other persons is no final evidence. And of course I didnīt stated my opinion at first because I wanted to read the opinion of other members. Later I stated and justified mine because the issue of the thread immediately went from an use discussion to an age discussion.
Now, it really doesnīt seems that one side can be finally convinced by the other without more information. I accept that the age of this daggers is a thing of believe at the moment and other members donīt share my opinion. But nobody has to be felt attacked by me because of that, this is not my intention.

Regards
Robin
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Old 13th December 2020, 01:03 PM   #49
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Robin,
I am sure nobody here was offended by your remarks in any way, shape or form.
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Old 13th December 2020, 04:54 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
Thank you Ariel for your appeasing comment.
My knowledge on Chinese weapons =0 and therefore, I followed this debate as a spectator. But since this type of arguments are a recurring theme in the forum, the subject is interesting for all.
I do not even think that Gonzoadler originally meant to present these daggers as valuable historical items - see the title - but it just escalated because some remarks were intentionally dismissive.
On the other hand, this forum would not be much fun if we could not joke and argue sometimes. It is not easy for everybody to find the right balance and I have also been on the receiving end of such remarks in the past.

As for the issue of authenticity itself, this is a constant dilemma for most collectors, and especially the those who can not afford high-end items. I personally try to avoid types that were not made for local use at any stage of their life, even if they are well made. For example, I avoid all-metal Syrian daggers with silver koftgari because I have never seen one that has been carried or used.

This issue is even more difficult for the many types of weapons that moved seamlessly from authentic items into the tourist trade, while still also in use by locals, like koummyas, Arabian jambiyas and khanjars, Majdali dagger, shibriyas and I guess, several Indian, South-east Asian and Oceanic weapons too. As Ariel said, it is a matter of personal taste and you can agree or disagree as long as you do it properly
Beautifully said Motan! That well describes the 'dilemmas' concerning these types of items for those of us who tend to have a more eclectic and wider scope of collecting interests. I personally have always been far more interested in the history of arms and armor, and not necessarily in entirely weapons. I have always found 'antiques' in degree interesting as well as they often augment the weapons I study in associated context.

Having noted that, I found these weapons posted by Robin very attractive and especially as 'antiques' in their own right, and very appealing as far as display pieces. Perhaps I just share the sort of 'exotic' tastes that brought these items into popularity in the late 19th into 20th c.

I agree, I believe Robin's original post intended to ask about these in that sense, as seen in the title which rather playful noted them as Christmas baubles. While everyone of course wants to express their personal views, clearly some comments can be a bit oblique and taken derisively in the unintended 'bluntness'.

If I may, I would like to thank the moderators for their patience in getting the unfortunate 'bumps in the road' smoothed out here, as this topic is very interesting to me and I've learned a great deal from the entries. As a participant I admit I personally took some of the comments Robin placed the wrong way, and apologize for the overreaction.

With that, once again, the items Robin shared here are most appealing despite not being 'official' weapons, and I'd actually like having one under my Christmas tree (hint hint .

Thank you guys all very much, interesting topic, examples, and very enlightening discussion.
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Old 13th December 2020, 05:00 PM   #51
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And thus this is why we come here and post - to learn and seek feedback.

Something for all of us to remember.
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