A Southern Chinese 'Duandao'

The common type of sabre from the Chinese Qing curio trade. Commonly called ‘Dao’ but the more correct term is ‘Duandao’ (端島).
Short examples like these were mostly not made as actual battle sabres, but could indicate status and revival of the Qianlong period weapons. The fine decoration on the brass fittings indicates this sword was made in style of the officer swords and tend to be one of the highest quality in its kind. Swords like these were worn on the waist and called therefor waist-sabre.

Southern China, mid to late 19th century

Materials: Brass, Steel, Iron, Wood, Ray skin,Silk

Status: Sold


A genuine example of a late Qing era sabre. Equipped with fashionable brass fittings usually meant for an officer. The scabbard pieces are depicting dragons surrounded in floral motifs. The guard is disc-shaped with a thickened edge, decorated on the in- and outside with a similar embossed pattern. Swords like these were produced mainly for the curio trade rather then for the military. Most of these typical Qianlong inspired fittings were made in Canton.
Many of these swords were taken back home by upper class officers, dignitaries and diplomats as gift or reminder of their residence in China.
A Southern Chinese 'Duandao' A Southern Chinese 'Duandao'

The short tapering blade with single cutting edge shows a double cutting edge near the tip. The spine is rather flat and tapers towards the tip. A double fuller is placed halfway running down on both sides of the blade and disappears near the tip.
A Southern Chinese 'Duandao' A Southern Chinese 'Duandao'

The hilt is made of a wooden bar, wrapped in its original silk cord. The pommel is made of brass and shows a similar pattern to the other fittings on the scabbard. The scabbard consists of two wooden sheets covered in green dyed ray skin. The brass casted fittings and suspension piece are riveted together with a brass pin holding the scabbard in place.

Condition: A good old example of a late Qing sabre. Original silk, good blade and intact ray skin cover. The guard has movement, but further fittings seem intact.


Hilt: 15cm
Blade length: 50cm
Blade thickness: 5mm
Scabbard: 61.5cm
Total length: 77cm

Weight: 880 gr.
A Southern Chinese 'Duandao' A Southern Chinese 'Duandao' A Southern Chinese 'Duandao' A Southern Chinese 'Duandao'
A Southern Chinese 'Duandao' A Southern Chinese 'Duandao' A Southern Chinese 'Duandao'

Copyright by Antiques by the Sea – 2020

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