Peter Dekker

I am a researcher and trader in antique arms and armor, based in the city of Haarlem, the Netherlands. I am the sole proprietor of Mandarin Mansion. More about Mandarin Mansion.

I work closely with Philip Tom, a friend and respected colleague in this field. He is a professional restorer of antique arms and armor from all over the world. More about Philip Tom.

Over the years I have built a reputation as a thorough researcher which enabled me to advise some of the world's top experts, dealers, collectors, and institutions. I have worked with the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Royal Armories in Leeds, the British Museum, the Pitt-Rivers in Oxford, the Klingenmuseum in Solingen, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and many others.


A passion for antique arms

It's not so much their purpose that appeals to me, but rather their design, technology, and cultural significance. A good weapon often combines craftsmanship in several mediums, with the highest technology available to a culture at that time.

I find it a joy to acquire a new piece and dig into primary sources to try and uncover some of its contexts. I photograph and carefully document each piece, not just to sell them but so that other enthusiasts can enjoy, research, and discuss them long after they are sold.

My aim is the continuous development of my own understanding, and make this arcane field more accessible to young enthusiasts. I do this by focusing on bringing more and more information online, free for all to use.



Antique arms researcher Peter Dekker in his natural surroundings


Areas of focus

I specialize mainly in arms and armor from China and surrounding areas like the Himalayas, India, and Southeast Asia, but do not limit myself strictly to this area. Among some of my personal interests are the Manchu military of the Qing dynasty, Sinhalese arms, Vietnamese arms, and cross-cultural items that are the products of Asian maritime trade.

I aim to offer items of excellent workmanship, and/or those of historical importance but also acknowledge the fact we don't all have big budgets for our collections. For this reason, I will keep maintaining a stock of representative pieces that suit smaller budgets yet still meet my standards of quality and condition.

Contact me if you are looking for anything specific, I might have it or may be able to find it for you. What is on my site is usually only a fraction of what I have or have access to, and some of my best pieces have sold before I was able to list them on my site.


Antique arms sold by Peter Dekker of Mandarin Mansion


How I work

I do not merely want to buy and sell with some profit on top, without adding anything of value. I aim to earn my margin by exercising a great amount of care in the selection, photography, research, and presentation of my items. Another way in which I hope to contribute to the community is through "the Glossary", a growing online resource for arms and armor related terminology to which I add and expand articles on a daily basis.

I value my reputation as a researcher and am keenly aware of the fact that this reputation is on the line with every article I produce. As such, I err on the careful side when it comes to dating and attribution of my items.

You will not find sales pitches on the pages of my site. All items are described to the best of my present knowledge.

Pleased to meet you!


-Peter Dekker


Contact me