Exceptionally large pierced iron guard for a Chinese yidao; "virtuous saber".
16.5 cm from grip
Iron or steel
From a Scandinavian collection
Anything similar for sale?
Biān (鞭) literally means "whip." Iron whips, called tiěbiān (鐵鞭) could either be a flexible weapon made of iron segments, or a heavy sectioned bar-mace. These go back until at least the Song dynasty, where they appear in the 11th century Wǔjīng Zǒngyāo. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, they were primarily used by guards and other elite forces.
Such maces were usually quite heavy and could easily destroy a sword or do substantial damage through armor, but their downside was, of course, they were much slower and required a high level of strength and endurance from its wielder.
During the Qing, a large tiěbiān was one of the iconic weapons of the Qing's elite forces, the jiànruìyíng.
A short iron tiěbiān. Its iron rod has a round cross-section. The shape mimics bamboo, with 11 segments in total. The hilt is a simple iron bar with polyhedral bolsters for "guard" and pommel.
The simple execution with no decoration makes it really hard to date, as this general form has been in use for centuries. The patina is also of no help, how fast a metal surface ages depends strongly on storage conditions which in this case are unknown. It probably dates from anywhere between the 16th to 19th centuries.
It has some condition issues, see photos, but is nonetheless a decent example of a famous but rare type of Chinese mace.
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With markings attributing it to the Tongzhou incident and a Japanese surrender tag.
A fine and unusually large tsuba. Attributed to Hizen by the NBTHK.
A robust and heavy example, crafted with care.
Built around an imported blade, with a human head shaped pommel.
Silk horse mask from the Xianbei ruled dynasty which ruled northern China from 386 to 534 A.D.