∴ A Sailor’s Delight ∴
Waist-deep water chills you to the bone. Still you step into the dark, one hand trailing the seaweed-slick wall and the other hovering at your hilt. You mark time to the sloshing of steps behind you, a wet reassurance that your men are still there.
It was no easy voyage, and you’d forgive them for thinking you mad and deserting. After all, it was only a tale that took you this far. A tale and a tip-off from a ragged lad in Dawan Bay. He wouldn’t say who sent him.
But as soon as he mentioned the cave, you felt that old keenness of the kind that had brought you to these strange shores so many years ago. The tales of China your father told in your boyhood, of the voyage he took with the Dutch East India, at the head of a five-ship fleet.
You loved to hear tales of the terrible storms at sea, the strange and elaborate customs on land. But best of all, you loved to hear about the sword. He only glimpsed it for a moment, he said, as he fought off a raid in the South China Sea. But even in that flash of steel, he knew it was the Fang.
Broad and curved of blade, with the sweeping guard of a cutlass and the gleaming gold habaki of a dao. Wielded by the same dynasty for eight generations, it was said to be the sorcery that kept them in power over the seas.
But it was never the power you chased. It was simply a touchstone to your father’s memories of a time and place where magic still ruled. And now here you are, wading into into some Paracel Island cave on a moonless night. Magic indeed, you think.
Suddenly the slime-rimed wall gives way to warm nothingness, and you throw out both arms to stop the men behind you. A slap of hand against wet leather. Then there is only their breathing in the darkness. Only the arrhythmic drip of stalactites.
A familiar hiss as a gas lamp is lit, and the cavern’s dome is filled with flickering amber light. You cannot suppress a gasp. The space is filled with barrels and chests, just as your informant said. The last and fitting act of the greatest pirate dynasty China had ever seen: to bury their treasure at sea.
Your heart races as you detect a sudden movement, then nearly stops as you take in its maker. A woman. Slight and smiling with raven-black hair and a brine-soaked white dress, she rises from the shadows of the cave.
You stand frozen as the vision picks her way through piles of treasure like she knows her path by heart. Her eyes, still smiling, remain fixed on you.
And in her right hand is the sword.
∴ Specs ∴
This beautiful East-meets-West cutlass was made as a wedding gift, representing the cultures of both the bride and groom. As such, the blade combines features of a Western cutlass blade with those of a Chinese dao, bringing out the similarities between the geographically distant designs.
Taking an example of a historical Chinese sword as a starting point, the blade features strong fullers to the spine and a dimple to the foible of the false edge. It is balanced with close-measure work in mind, equally applicable to Kung Fu sword disciplines and piratical boarding manoeuvres.
The cultural harmony in the blade carries through to the furniture, with a brass habaki carved into a traditional Chinese-inspired wave pattern and a simple Western-style cutlass guard featuring scalloped finials. The guard, wrought iron and forte of the blade feature selective etching to represent churning waves.
The sword is named for the happy couple it was gifted to, with Tang being their family name. It brings to mind a legendary sword, wielded by generations of a dreaded pirate dynasty in the South China Sea.
A simplified cutlass could be commissioned for £1000 plus postage.
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- Blunt edges and rounded tip
- Standard fencing flex
∴ Notes ∴
The hand-forged and heat-treated crossguard and wrought iron pommel are polished to a satin finish and selectively etched. The crossguard features hand-carved scalloped details to the finials, while the pommel is carved into a geometric flower.
The blade features a brass habaki, hand-carved and engraved with a Chinese-inspired wave design. The forte of the blade is selectively etched to carry on the concept of roiling waves and ocean spray. The rest of the blade was polished to a high shine for the wedding day.
The oak grip is wrapped first in linen thread, and then in deep red kidskin. It was presented with a a wood-cored scabbard, which features a spiral string underlay and a brass chape.
∴ Gallery ∴
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