Restoration by Philip Tom | Mandarin Mansion

Restoration by Philip Tom

Philip Tom's deep understanding of antique arms and armor enables him to offer a level of service which goes far and above that of merely making a piece look "clean and spiffy" in a display case. All blade polishing is done by hand. The goal of bringing into view the beauty and metallurgical character of the steel is coupled with the necessity of maintaining the original contours and dimensions of the blade to the greatest extent possible.

Restoration and appraisal of the antique arms and armor of China, the Islamic world, India, mainland Southeast Asia and the Philippines, Eastern Europe.

Blade straightening, polishing, conservation of firearms and sword fittings, restoration and fabrication of hilts and scabbards.


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Antique Chinese straightsword, 劍 jian.
This very demanding restoration job included re-hilting the sword, extensive polish on blade, covering the scabbard in new ray-skin and carefully cleaning its exquisite mounts.

Antique Chinese straightsword, 劍 jian.
Restoration included fixing a broken scabbard, extensive polish on blade, covering the scabbard in new ray-skin, and cleaning its mounts.

Antique Chinese spearhead of the slender 矛 mao type.
Restoration involved straightening, polishing cleaning and etching of the blade to reveal its steel construction. A good example of an old rusty and deformed spearhead that gained a new lease on life as a valued collector's item through Philip's restoration.

Restored spearhead

Antique Chinese hunting arrowhead of the 鈚 pi type.
A fine and delicate arrowhead whose steel construction was brought back to life by Philip with by a polish and light etch.

Antique Chinese 短刀 duandao, or "short saber" with horse-tooth patterned blade.
Restoration involved removing the poorly fitting handle which had came from another antique short saber, fabricating a new one, polishing and etching the blade, attending large cracks in the scabbard lacquer and adressing the disturbed patina on the pommel done by a previous owner.

A seventeenth-century 佩刀 peidao
This piece was too far gone for a full polish, as it would require too much material to be removed. Instead we chose to have Philip clean it and replace the handle. The old and damaged handle was a late working life replacement and was not shaped according to what this type of hilt fittings stipulate. Philip replaced it with a nice "waisted" wooden handle to follow the contours of the elegant iron fittings.




Very rare Ottoman kilic, 15th or 16th century.
Restoration included polishing the blade, bringing out the original wootz pattern and making a storage scabbard from scratch.


High quality moro keris with twist-core forged blade.
Restoration included polishing the blade, bringing out the twist-core pattern and producing a new hardwood scabbard from scratch.

Very rare and early Moro Keris (sundang espada) with some unusual design features.
The blade is straight with the blade fullers somewhat reminiscent of European design. There are seven inlaid metal dots which may be inspired by the stylized representation of Ursa Major on Chinese "seven stars" jian. The hilt construction in turn shows influence of Malay prototypes. Philip polished the blade and made a new scabbard from scratch.

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