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Thread: Asian Carved Ivory Sword Identification

  1. #1

    Asian Carved Ivory Sword Identification

    Any have any ideas about this. It is been in our family for generations. I have more detailed photos. I have searched the carving closely and have yet to find anything that resembles an artists mark, though there are oriental characters on the wood insert of the scabbard.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Long Quan city, Zhejiang province, China.
    Posts
    811
    Quote Originally Posted by Tim McBride View Post
    Any have any ideas about this. It is been in our family for generations. I have more detailed photos. I have searched the carving closely and have yet to find anything that resembles an artists mark, though there are oriental characters on the wood insert of the scabbard.
    Looks like a Japanese tanto-style blade.
    I immediately though of all the fake katanas on e-bay with simmilar handles when I saw the picture, but if this knife has been in the family for generations; it seems unlikely its a fake like that.
    Do you have the year and date of purchase?

    Do you have any extreme close-up pics of the blade?

    Best regards, Kenneth A.H.
    I study at:
    Long Quan Zheng Wu Knife & Sword Forge.
    I work at:
    Zheng Wu Knife & Sword Company.
    Qing Zhong Knife & Sword Company.
    Exclusive Porcelain.

  3. #3

    Closer Shots

    Yes, please provide some closer photos to capture the grain of the ivory (if it is ivory). There seems to be discoloration that could result from constant use, and there looks like age cracks are present. But closer inspection is needed.

    Sincerely,

    Doug Mullane

  4. #4
    It was a gift to a relative, I believe pre WWII in europe. I was told that it has been in a crate since the early 50's. We found it with some German sabres, Russian shashkas, and a Japanese (short) sword (I'm just learning) while cataloging my wife's grandfather's attic.

    Here are a few more photos. The insert to the scabbard has writing, but it looks as if it was cut during the assembly so each character loses a bit more off the front as it goes down...
    Attached Images Attached Images     

  5. #5
    Tim,

    Thanks for the closer photos.

    This appears more like bone to me than ivory. I wish I could see this in my hands, but I see no patterns in the material that are definitely indicative of elephant, mammoth, or walrus ivory (or hippo, hornbill, whale, or warthog for that matter). The discoloration is reminiscent of ivory that changes color over time due to other factors, but this is also found with bone. In addition, it has the "feel" of bone from the photos. Of course, none of this is absolute, and I would find someone in your area who has experience with ivory to get her or his hands on it.

    Sincerely,

    Doug Mullane

  6. #6
    Thanks for the assessment. I assumed ivory over bone due to the size. I would have to be a pretty hefty piece of bone. The diameter of the handle at the guard is about 1.5-2 inches.

    Any idea as to the writing on the wooden sleeve?

    As to the carving, the reason I posted here was that it seemed by the carving with monkeys and snakes on it, that it may have been southeast asian or a more tropical geographic location.

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