The Chinese Bannerman were a special branch within the regular Qing military and were equipped with the task to protect and forward the military banners during battles. The so called ‘Hànjūn (漢軍)’were able to operate in rougher terrains and able to conquer fortifications and siege enemy fortresses. They were divided in eight separate banner colors of which it is uncertain to which banner this saber belonged.
This saber is a typical example of a South-Chinese Bannerman saber, but it is quite long and slender compared to the regular examples.
It features a plain slender blade without the usually seen chiseled ‘tonkou’ and fullers. It is unmarked, but shows good craftsmanship and a layered forging construction and harder carbon steel cutting edge. The spine is thick and near flattening in a narrow yelman near the tip. The fittings are made of brass and the guard represents a coin with a bamboo segmented edge. Further fittings are plain and the hilt is wrapped in its original blue silk cord. The saber has its original pig skin leather scabbard with an ornamental design including a coin near the tip.
Condition: Excellent condition, minor ware and firm blade, no movement and including the original scabbard.
Hilt length: 16cm
Blade length: 68.5cm
Blade spine thickness: 7.5mm
Total length: 85.5cm
Provenance: French art market
Literature: Peter Dekker’s Glossary at www.mandarinmansion.com