Chinese Beiyang Army Warlord Five Lion Presentation Sword from Hunan Warlord General Chang Ching-yao 張敬堯字勳臣 (ID: cs1276)
Chinese Beiyang Army Warlord Five Lion Presentation Sword from Hunan Warlord General Chang Ching-yao 張敬堯字勳臣
|( ID: cs1276 )|
Few swords are as emblematic as the presentation and General officer swords of the Chinese Republic during the period of the Beiyang Army. During this period numerous warlords competed for power and often commissioned extravagant uniforms and dress arms to show to their rank and file that they were in command.
This sword is an example of one such presentation arm, one of the few of General grade quality swords, which is are also marked in an inscription along the blade noting that this was a presentation from General Chang Chin-yao as a Governor's Extraordinary Award.
General Chang Chin- yao joined the Beiyang Army, rising to the rank of general, and was part of the Anhui clique. He was Military Governor of Chahar Province from October 18, 1917, to March 29, 1918 and was then given the post of Military Governor of Hunan province from March 1918. While he was governor his forces committed many atrocities, including murder, pillage, and rape of the Chinese citizenry under his control.
Importantly, he was involved in attempting to prevent Mao Zedong from starting up the Chinese party, when in August 1919 he censored Mao Zedong's "Xiang-jiang River Commentary" magazine because of Mao's efforts to organize a movement to expel him from the governorship. Mao led a Hunan students' delegation to Peking, where he appealed nationwide for support and revealed Zhang Jingyao's atrocities in Hunan Province.
At Yochow on June 16, 1920, Zhang's troops murdered an American missionary, William A. Reimert which provoked the intervention of the American gunboat Upshur, which sent ashore a landing party of one officer and 40 men on June 25 to protect the American mission. Two days later—when local tensions had eased—they were re-embarked. On the 29th Jingyao was removed from office; the Chinese foreign office investigated the incident and expressed its profound regrets to the Americans. Zhang was later pardoned, under unknown circumstances. In 1933 Zhang became involved in the scheme of the Empire of Japan to set up the monarchy of Puyi in northern China with Japanese money. An assassin shot and fatally wounded him in Peiping's Grand Hotel.
The condition of the sword overall is nearly perfect with no nearly no losses to the grip, blade, or scabbard. One of the lions along the scabbard is missing the tip of the tail but otherwise condition remains as found. The five lions include the primary one on the grip inlaid with two red stone eyes, and the four lions (two on each side of the scabbard).
From an American estate in the Mid-west and possibly having returned to the U.S. following the Yochow Incident.
Overall length is 38", blade is 30".
Below is an image of Chinese General Chang Ying-fang carrying this exact model of sword. He himself served in the Beiyang Army starting in 1911 and left in 1924 indicating that these swords are circa 1920.