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Author Topic:   Not Silver......
venus

Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 04-18-2006 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-1014]

When I first saw this I almost left it at the store. My thoughts ran to thinking it was a souvenir object or letter opener. It may well be one of these, but it didn't fall from that turnip truck any time soon. It is not sharp enough for a knife, nor pointed enough for a dirk, nor slim enough for a letter opener. Both sides are slightly different. Each side has 3 "nudes" One side shows a seated man, with a bow shooting a stag, a woman and a man. Opposite side shows a seated man with a large (lion size no main) facing him. Then a man/woman facing a man/woman. This side is much more worn that the other side. There is wear on the hilt as well, more on one side than the other. At the top of the "blade" there is some type of spread wing insect or bat. A snake is winding up the hilt, while a beaked creature has it's tongue out. The length is 9" and at the widest point it is 1 1/4" I purchased it at a charity store. To be continued .......

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hello

Posts: 200
Registered: Jun 2005

iconnumber posted 04-18-2006 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hello     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Page turner? How wide is it, I have seen some relatively thick letter openers too.

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venus

Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 04-19-2006 08:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just under 1" at the widest part of the blade. Hard to measure the thickness, but it is twice the thickness of a butter knife blade. There is no sign of corrosion, or left behind polishing agents. It has a nice deep glow to it. Whatever it was used for the wear is to one side over the other. The "dragon" head/neck has scales, which show wear. The snake has a shere of some kind in it's mouth. There is a round hole, man made at the top of the hilt. There are various nicks and scrapes here and there, but more at the tip than other places. I will weigh it today on jewelers scale and try and figure the weight. But it seems to weigh more at the tip than the center, and of course the hilt is heaviest.

Sorry to show my ignorance, but is a page turner a real object? If so this would be very awkward indeed for that use.

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Kimo

Posts: 1577
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 04-19-2006 10:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Venus.

It looks like a relatively modern (within the past 50 years) reproduction of an Indian ceremonial knife of the kind that is sold in the flea markets to tourists, though it could also be from one of the nearby countries as well. These tend to be fairly crudely made and are cast either in brass or bronze. The lack of edges and detail on yours support this guess.

It might also be a Chinese forgery as well. In the past 10 years there has developed a large industry in China that is churning out forgeries of cast bronze swords and daggers (and other metal objects) in the styles of the early dynasties and selling them both on the internet and through the U.S. flea market network with claims that they were found by farmers in tombs. They use the old casting techniques and they are skilled in making an object appear old - most of these forgers didn't just fall off the turnip truck either, and some of them are quite scholarly in their attention to the smallest of details. In my part of the country you can hardly go to a flea market or antique mall without seeing at least a couple of these with hefty prices and claims of authenticity. In China, not turning in such a find to the government or if a person is involved with the selling of artefacts is a capital offense. On the other hand, making and selling such forgeries carries no real penalties.

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venus

Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 04-19-2006 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The weight is 5oz. Actually the detail on this is quite nice and detailed, most especially on the handle. I suppose the wear could be faked, as well as the other things. But I don't think so. Guess this is something you just have to have in your hands. Don't think it is bronze either, nor oriental. On one of the sides it shows a tied wheat bunch. (geez the correct word is eluding me.)the wear is consistent with being worn next to the body and being pulled out by the handle.

More than apt it is a fake, but I enjoy looking at it and it won't go out to the trash heap today. thanks for the input.

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hello

Posts: 200
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iconnumber posted 04-19-2006 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hello     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"tied wheat bunch" - fleur de lis

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witzhall

Posts: 124
Registered: Mar 2006

iconnumber posted 04-19-2006 12:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for witzhall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"sheaf of wheat"?

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venus

Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 04-19-2006 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
aha..... sheaf of wheat was the word I wanted wiz. thanks you two.
Going back to kimo's post. when I first got it I did an exhaustive search for reproductions on the net and nothing came close. In this area, we have flea markets but noone has the type of items you were telling about. But hey, not there one week and there the next is possible. Civilization will come this way one day, or the lack thereof. wink

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Kimo

Posts: 1577
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 04-19-2006 05:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is a strange object and I am just guessing with my thinking. As you say there is a big difference between a low resolution photo on a computer monitor and holding it in your hand.

That claw-like thing that comes out of the cross-guard is supposed to be used to clip it to a belt. You would slide the knife under your belt or a cloth band and the claw would hook down over the belt or band to keep it from sliding all the way down and out. It would not have had a scabbard.

As for page turners, yes they are real but the ones I have seen tend to be religious objects and I am not sure anyone uses them anymore. The idea was to keep a religious book that was very valuable and revered but used constantly in nice clean condition without the build up of body oils and dirt on the pages that would happen over time. I don't think this is a page turner though, as those tend to be made of ivory or jade or a fine wood and look more like a butter knife.

If you would like some amusement sometime and see what I am talking about regarding the flood of "real authentic ancient" Chinese bronzes you can go on the big auction website, set the advanced search to all countries and then and search on words such as "Han Dynasty", bronze and sword. You will then be able to see many "real, 2000 year old" bronze museum pieces recovered from the tomb of the greatest Han Emperor, Wu Ti, available just to you for a special deal for less than the price of a happy meal. wink

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venus

Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 04-20-2006 08:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wish you were close enough to show it to Kimo, then again you might still think the same thing if you were holding it. However the beak like thing could never have been used to slide on a belt. There is no space. While it is not flat itself, it is "tight" to the main object. There is one on each side and both are the same way. The hole made me think it was strung on something. But much too awkward to have been used as a Mr "T" type necklace. Maybe tied to a belt, or tied into a sheath? Perhaps too, what I consider fine detailing (in my ignorance) people who have seen fine objects can tell the difference.

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FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 04-21-2006 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As repeatedly noted, it's very hard to tell from photos with something like this. But since I have a moment's respite in my work, I'll offer my two cents.

It looks to me to be late Victorian. I've seen a lot of the Chinese bronze forgeries -- even own a few, since for the price some of them make great examples of bronze work -- but in that context I've never seen anything like this. The design does not appear to be either authentic Chinese or the typical sort of fantasy-inspired design. It looks to me like a Victorian English or American version, inspired by Asian motifs.

In addition to the 'page turners', which were used as described, there are/were items often called 'page openers', 'page cutters', or even 'book knives', and sometimes also called page turners. Through the 19th century and well into the 20th, published books were often delivered, intentionally, with the top edge uncut, so that the folds of the pages by which the individual signatures of the book were composed were still there, holding the pages together (book pages were/are printed on large sheets and then folded, typically into quarters, eighths, or sixteenths (thus the terms for book sizes, quarto/4o, octavo/8o, 16mo, etc); the spine edge fold then gets stitched into the tape that holds all of the individual signatures (also sometimes called gathers) together to make up the book, and the other folded edges are cut off so the pages open properly). Even today one still occasionally gets a new book that has been folded and/or trimmed slightly off, so that some of the pages will still be attached at the folds. But in the past the top edge was often left for the dealer or final purchaser to open -- perhaps so one knew it was, in fact, a new book.

If you've ever tried doing this, you'll know that a sharp knife edge is not the best tool; they tend to actually cut into the paper, and not follow the weakened line of the fold. A dull edge will force the pages to separate along that fold.

I use a new bookbinder's tool, a whalebone folder, for this job, but I also have antique examples of page openers in ivory and metal. The size of this is right, and the style would fit with the Victorian aesthetic one might expect in some book lovers of the time.

For the record, for me this would be properly described with the phrase "lack of detail". Obviously there's a lot going on in the design, but the level of detail is what one gets from casting -- if it had then been hand-engraved, chased, or etched the detail would be considerably finer. It's not an insult to the piece, just an assessment of how much handwork went into it.

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venus

Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 04-21-2006 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You all have given me some insight into "the object". It may well have been a page cutter. I have never seen one myself, up til now. Also didn't know that something could be cast and not leave some trace of it. This forum has been a learning process for me.

Were page cutters tied on something or on a chain? If so that would account for the hole. Also if the user had a favorite way of holding it, it may account for the wear to one side over the other.

However it still doesn't "feel" or look oriental to me. Even the snake, dragon thing cannot turn me in that direction. It seems European to me. I would think that it would have been a man's "tool" due to the nudity. Didn't the Victorian ladies even put skirts on piano legs?
lol

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 04-23-2006 03:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paper knives were sometimes worn on a chateline, a jewelry device ladies wore, attached be a ribbon or a chain. It would be ungenteel for a lady to carry a knife in her hand, but as part of a chateline this would be acceptable. It would be ideal for the romantic lady who went into the garden to read poetry.

I agree that this looks Victorian. The wear may have been intentional. Which would point my guess to our old friend the Museum Gift Shop or World Fair. At these, it was not unusual for items in the collection to be vaguely duplicated, warts and all, and sometimes adapted in size. Then sold as a souvenir, suited to modern uses.

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venus

Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 04-23-2006 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You may well be correct....

I have been puzzled by the lack of any tarnish. Any ideas on the metal that may have been used? It was dull brownish color when I got it.(dirty) After a wash (soap and water)it cleaned up nice. It was exactly the same color that my 18KT cuff looked like at first and then turned out to be just like this. Am I silly enough to think this is gold? Naw but it was and is just like the cuff. The one picture that looks kinda brown/green is not the color it is at all, just the way the light was shining on it I suppose.

Thanks for all the input, I enjoy reading the posts and having this thing, whatever it is.

PS just a thought in passing, which may me nothing at all. At the same time I bought "the thing" I got an old samovar. If it wasn't old it sure was used. The ladies at the store told me that both times came in from the same household. Again may mean nothing, but that the past owner liked metal objects with designs on them.

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