Late Qing saber | Mandarin Mansion

Late Qing saber

A saber of the late Qing. The blade is well-made for the time, with fairly precise contours and flat surfaces and a single well-cut fuller on either side. It has a false backedge to lighten the blade on the tip side. You can make out some hints of its forge folded construction in the current state, which may be brought out by a polish later. It is hilted in yuanshi or "round style" fittings with flattened ball pommel, typical for military sabers of the period. The guard is quatrefoil shape with thickened rim. Some repairs in the form of extra plates added on both sides of the guard. It retains its original grip wrap, which is a bit loose near the pommel due to shrinkage of the wood.

Overall length: 71.9 cm / 28.3 inch
Blade length: 52.9 cm / 20.8 inch
Thickness: forte 6 mm, middle 5 mm, near tip 3 mm
Blade width: forte 37 mm
Weight without scabbard: 621 grams

The scabbard, interestingly, is fangshi, of angular cross-section. It is covered with ray-skin, which due to repeated moistening and drying is not in the best shape anymore. The brass fittings are soldered with copper and engraved with auspicious motiffs of coins and floral scrollwork. The workmanship of the blade and hilt fittings are better than the scabbard, and the stylistic mismatch may indicate the scabbard was a somewhat later working life replacement. The blade does fit snugly in the scabbard, and its curvature matches the blade exactly so we know it was custom made for this saber.

An interesting military saber of the late Qing, with all parts including the grip wrap being of the period.