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RARE 18th C. Chinese Snakehead iron mace

( ID: ca916 )

A very uncommon and rare 18th C. Chinese mace. This example is one of a few known that features an animomorphic design of as snakehead and with a crossguard modeled as a coiled snake's body.  The quality is superb and Chinese maces are generally of simple and poor quality design. The handle is made of wood modeled as a bamboo and fits the hand very well. The pommel is formed of an iron tiger's face design known in Sino-Tibetan and Sino-Mongolian arms, though the use of a mace is a purely Chinese precept and very rarely seen in Tibet and Mongolia.

Snakes (or serpents) are an important motif in Chinese mythology. There are numerous myths about snakes. Chinese mythology refers to these and other myths found in the historical geographic area(s) of China. Snakes often appear in myth, religion, legend, or tales as a fantastic beings unlike any possible real snake, often having a mix of snake with other body parts, such as having a human head, or magical abilities, such as shape shifting. One famous snake that was able to transform back and forth between a snake and a human being was Madam White Snake in the Legend of the White Snake. Other snakes or snakelike beings sometimes include deities, such as Fuxi and Nüwa and Gong Gong. Sometimes Fuxi and Nuwa are described as snakes with human heads and sometimes as humans with dragon or serpent tails.

A wonderful and rare example of a Chinese example of arms and armor rarely encountered.

Overall length is 30", the crossguard diameter is 3". 

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