Chinese Arms and Armour
Chinese arms and armour require unique skills. You can't just go down to the local martial arts store and order a tengpai. This section of the Chinese Swords Guide is dedicated to the best artisans worldwide. If you don't know where to get it or who does it well, this page will eventually have your answer. Please be patient when commissioning custom items from craftsmen and women of this quality. They are in demand but their work is worth the wait.
Each artisan featured on this page has a link to a whole page about them and their work. You will find links from their individual pages to their websites if they have one, or contact details.
Antique Sword Restoration
Philip Tom's Restoration.
of California in the USA, has a reputation as the best of the best. His knowledge of ancient Chinese arms and armour is practically encyclopedic. He is well within his comfort zone advising museums on the subject. But it doesn't stop there. Philip can turn a rusty Qing dynasty jian blade into something like the one pictured on the right. I have personal experience of his expertise. That's my sword. He did an expert job on. There will be a page dedicated to Philip Tom, linked to this paragraph very soon.
There are many custom swordsmiths in the world of Chinese arms and armour. Expect to see some of the best from this spot in the future. If you have a recommendation, use the form at the bottom of the page to let me know.
Kuo Chang-hsiKuo Chang-hsi of Taiwan is a traditional Chinese and Japanese Sword Maker
who includes the phosphorous from human bones in his swords. He has been crafting high quality swords for over 30 years. He followed the family career of blacksmithing and transitioned to sword smithing later in life. He is the man who created the Green Destiny jian for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Master Rich Chen, of Zubeng Forge
, is a traditional maker of Chinese and Japanese swords. He makes his own steel from the river sand up, selects each piece of coal and coke for heating the steel, and only accepts the very best of his work for sale. Master Chen selects tamashagane steel from his smelting processes and only uses that to make Chinese and Japanese swords. Click for an interview with him on how to make a sword.
Peter Dekker's Grip Wrapping.
Peter Dekker of the Netherlands, is unique in his craftsmanship with grip wrapping.
If you want to see how it is done, he has written an article he's willing to share with you. If you want him to do it for you, there is a link to Peter's website on his own page in the Chinese Swords Guide. The double diamond wrap, an art lost somewhere in the Qing dynasty, is just one of his wonderful restorations to the disappearing world of Chinese arms and armour knowledge.
Peter Dekker's Rattan Shield.
Our first featured artisan in shield design, is Peter Dekker.
He has found a number of unique niches in ancient Chinese arms and armour. Among them are grip wrapping of swords, manchu archery, and tengpai
(or rattan shield) making - the art of making rattan shields, commonly used by both military and village soldiers in China's past. Follow this link to the rattan shield page with Peter Dekker.
This section will have links to makers of helmets, gambesons, steel armour - anything that protects you while training in Chinese swordsmanship. I'm accepting recommendations for this. Fill in the form below if you would like me to check out an armourer you know.
Wooden Training Swords
Carina Carricione-s Wooden Swords.
There are a number of good choices for Chinese wooden training swords. I'm only putting the best I know up here.
Carina Cirrincione of Raven Studios in the USA, has a reputation for wooden swords it's almost impossible to break. I have quite a few of her jian and dao. They are custom made, one at a time, and I haven't broken one yet. Carina has consulted with Scott Rodell on the best design for training swords for the school I'm part of. She is willing to adjust to your needs and she doesn't only make Chinese swords. See Carina's wooden sword page here. (link coming very soon)
Tony Mosen's Jian.
Tony Mosen is a wonderful artisan. I have many of his beautifully crafted jian. In fact, the design he created was measured off my antique jian. Tony has done a lot of research, trialing various Australian woods, to find the strongest for his swords. If you live in Australia Tony's swords are an excellent option for training in Chinese swordsmanship. At the moment he is working on a Miao Dao design.
There will be a link here to a feature page on Tony's swords in Australia, soon. he is one of the few people now designing wooden miaodao desiogned for partner training.
Custom design by Graham Cave.
of Scotland designs two types of wooden swords.
- Those which have the weight of real swords and handle as closely as possible to real swords. These are made for sparring and partner training.
- Those which are as close as possible to the dimensions of real swords and display the grace and artistry of Chinese design. These are suitable for forms practice.
This section will grow as the best artisans for Chinese arms and armour emerge. If you are one of these, or if you know a shy one who isn't coming forth, please fill in the form below and give me the heads up.
The chinese Swords Guide is now available as an RSS feed. Right click on the orange button on the menu bar, and copy the link into your reader. This will let you know whenever a new featured artisan appears in this section, as well as other updates on Chinese arms and armour on the site.
I want this place to be participator friendly, so when there is enough interest, there will be an e-zine mailed out, and a place for your comments and articles.
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