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Thread: Historical Records of Tassels?

  1. #1

    Historical Records of Tassels?

    Is there any text that identifies and classifies tassels as used on jian? Were there multiple types of material used to make them? Were they put together in specific ways? Were there specific tassels for specific occasions? I think this is an interesting study that would help clarify more about tassel symbology and usage for contemporary parties interested in Chinese swords.

    Sincerely,

    Doug Mullane

  2. #2
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    Tassles on both Dao and Jian was just a loop going through a hole in the handle; in order to keep one from loosing ones sword. Correct?

    I recall seeing some tassles on some pictures on this forum a couple of years back. There were some pictures from the museum in the forbidden city that displayed some dao and jian. Some which had tassles.
    It would be interesting if someone could get some poctires of antiques with intact tassles...

    Best regards, Kenneth A.H.
    I study at:
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  3. #3
    I have a book on Genghis Kahn (I can check the reference when I get home) with many Yuan dynasty pictures all showing dark, perhaps black or dark green tassels on the Mongol sabers. Some of the depictions are Chinese, but many more are Persian, all with the same kind of tassel. The tassels' cord was about the same length as the handles shown and the tassels were a bit short. My guess would be six inches of cord with four inches of tassel. Ming and Qing dynasty depictions of troops don't tend to show tassels on the sabers. I have seen several photographs of Chinese troops carrying dadao with a red cloth tied to the handle. There is a nice photo of a simple tassel made out of braided cloth in the Tibetan Arms and Armour catalogue.
    Josh

  4. #4
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    I'm waiting for that book reference in anticipation! I love period artwork.

    On tassels, many Qing artwork such as the portraits made for the Pavilion of Purple Brightness shows them having a simple loop through the handle of the sabers. The cord color often, but not always, matches the grip wrap color.

    -Peter

  5. #5
    Well my memory was only partially correct. The book is "The legacy of Genghis Khan, courtly art and culture in Western Asia, 1256-1353", and it is full of great artwork. It is a Met. catalogue from a 2003 exhibit. Most of the art is from Iran, but there is also allot of Chinese stuff. I had remembered artwork depicting tassels, but I could only find one print on page 36 depicting the fall of Baghdad.
    Josh

  6. #6
    That is, I could only find one print depicting tassels. There were many other prints with swords. Interestingly, in the depiction of the fall of Baghdad that I mentioned, as well as showing short black tassels on sabers, it also shows Mongol archers using quivers exactly like the Yuan dynasty quivers shown at the Met.'s Tibetan exhibit. Most of the other artwork shows quivers of a different design.
    Josh

  7. #7
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    Sounds interesting... indeed early quivers of the Mongols were of the closed type. Perhaps the rule of Genghis a the time of quiver transition... perhaps because it made the Mongols come into contact with many different cultures during their extensive campaigns.

    Though I haven't studied quivers extensively, I do always pay attention to their design whenever I see them on artwork since I began shooting. Your description of the book was enough for me to want to have it! Waiting for it to arrive...

    -Peter

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