Search found 153 matches

by Philip Tom
Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:56 am
Forum: Chinese Historical Arms
Topic: recommended for your library
Replies: 6
Views: 6257

recommended for your library

Here are two recent books which cover new ground in the study of China's martial culture. Some top-flight Sinologists have presented some well-reasoned and amply substantiated theses covering the topic from differing vantage points, there's some serious scholarship here. Clunas, Craig, EMPIRE OF GRE...
by Philip Tom
Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:18 am
Forum: Chinese Historical Arms
Topic: Thai Blade?
Replies: 2
Views: 3919

doubtful if polearm

If the tang is round and that's all there is to it (i.e. it hasn't been shortened) I can't imagine it could be part of a polearm because what would secure it in the end of the shaft and keep it from twisting round, or even pulling out? Practically every tang-fastened pole arm or spear head I've seen...
by Philip Tom
Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:11 am
Forum: Chinese Historical Arms
Topic: What's the difference between spears and lances?
Replies: 6
Views: 11007

clarification of terms

Happy New Year to all. FELIX ANNUS BOVINUS, here's to a "bullish" 2009! Some clarifications on the issue of spear terminology. Let's start with the English terms we use. "Spear" is a rather general term covering a variety of weapons which have these common features: (a) a long handle in the form of ...
by Philip Tom
Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:55 pm
Forum: Sword Care & Maintenance
Topic: Traditional polish
Replies: 3
Views: 8130

thoughts on polish

It's often hard to determine what sort of original, working-life "polish" antique Chinese blades may have looked like because so many of them have come down to us in well-worn, if not ratty and neglected, condition. Chalk that up to a century of turmoil and upheaval at the end of the Qing, and even ...
by Philip Tom
Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:18 pm
Forum: Chinese Historical Arms
Topic: Tiger Fork or spear?
Replies: 9
Views: 12996

civilian firearms

It's surprising sometimes to read about the prevalence of muskets in non-military hands in some areas of China during the Qing. The Kangxi Emperor had to address the concerns of officials in some southern provinces about the widespread use of guns and their role in local crime. He acknowledged that ...
by Philip Tom
Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:33 pm
Forum: Chinese Historical Arms
Topic: Sword Restoration - Before and After
Replies: 3
Views: 4790

"hills and dales"

Many old blades come with uneven surfaces, as Josh describes. Ideally the taper should be constant from forte to tip. There are two basic causes of these 'hills and dales': 1. The blade could have multiple kinks at fairly close intervals (as opposed to a long, bow-like bend). In this case, the axis ...
by Philip Tom
Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:00 pm
Forum: Chinese Historical Arms
Topic: Crossguards
Replies: 16
Views: 18058

symbolism of cruciform hilts

Thanks for your analysis, Michael -- lots of insight and useful info there. Yes, the generally cruciform shape of medieval double-edged swords certainly plays well with the religious sentiment of the crusading era, but let's keep in mind the extraordinarily long life of cross-like guards in the Isla...
by Philip Tom
Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:53 pm
Forum: Chinese Historical Arms
Topic: Certificates of Authenticity
Replies: 6
Views: 6623

Based on the experiences and careers of every serious collector I know, it seems that gathering knowledge firsthand has been an essential part of the collecting process, and what guides the collector in his acquisition program. "Not having time" for study is no excuse -- these guys have all had day ...
by Philip Tom
Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:45 pm
Forum: Chinese Historical Arms
Topic: Tiger Fork or spear?
Replies: 9
Views: 12996

cat control, revisited

I recall seeing a large Chinese painting (probably 18th cent.) in the Deutsches Jagdmuseum in Munich, depicting an imperial hunt. One of the huntsmen was indeed using a trident. However, I've run across far more period graphics (woodcuts, and later, photos) dealing with China and Vietnam which show ...
by Philip Tom
Mon Dec 29, 2008 2:03 pm
Forum: Chinese Historical Arms
Topic: Certificates of Authenticity
Replies: 6
Views: 6623

shinsa (appraisals) and origami (certificates)

To institute a system of appraisal societies and certifications on the Japanese model for non-Japanese swords brings with it certain issues and problems that need to be addressed. For one thing, to submit a Japanese blade for shinsa, it must be in perfect polish. Ideally, all pits need to be ground ...
by Philip Tom
Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:20 pm
Forum: Chinese Historical Arms
Topic: Vietnamese swords
Replies: 1
Views: 3617

Formal study of the subject is still in its infancy (except for early firearms, and the much older Dong Son late bronze/early iron age blades, both fields having received some academic attention of late), so don't expect to find much reliable info on the internet. A group of us hope to have a book o...
by Philip Tom
Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:12 pm
Forum: Chinese Historical Arms
Topic: Tiger Fork or spear?
Replies: 9
Views: 12996

tridents and tigors

Tridents may well have played a role in defending against these large cats, evolving from the pitchforks used by farmers in virtually all cultures for centuries. But consider for a moment that they are found in Europe as well (where it was commonly known as a "fourche de guerre" or a "Sturmgabel") w...
by Philip Tom
Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:59 pm
Forum: Chinese Historical Arms
Topic: How are Fullers Applied?
Replies: 4
Views: 5357

fullering a blade

Based on my conversations with bladesmiths who do this sort of work, and are familiar with historical methods, here are two basic ways of doing it: 1. Hammering the channels in during forging process by which the bar of steel laminate is drawn out to shape. The shape of the concavity is controlled b...
by Philip Tom
Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:55 pm
Forum: Sword Care & Maintenance
Topic: Etching Sword Blades to Remove Rust
Replies: 4
Views: 9096

"isn't too rusty and not pitted"

Rust (oxydation) tends to form pits, or at least roughen, the surfaces of ferrous objects. Iron is converted to iron oxide, and detaches from the surface in the form of a powdery substance or actual flakes, depending on the severity of the condition. The pits may not be deep enough to feel with fing...
by Philip Tom
Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:44 pm
Forum: Sword Care & Maintenance
Topic: Making storage scabbards
Replies: 9
Views: 15874

An exotic hardwood such as this might be OK for a nice jian with artistic fittings, not one of those rough militia types discussed above. The continuity of grain is not significant because the scabbard chape, and the guard and ferrule on the hilt, provide enough of an interruption that the effect wo...