The Auctioneer's Mantlepiece part I

5/02/2021     Militaria & Weapons, Latest News, Antiques


The Auctioneers Mantlepiece


The first item from my mantelpiece I would like to tell you about turned up in our auction over 20 years ago. As nobody else knew what it was it landed on my desk! It is a brass or perhaps bronze stylised dagger with masks around the top surmounted by a horses head, pierced double baluster stem above another strange mask with an arrowhead tip. It appears Asian, possibly Chinese but I was none the wiser either. It was a difficult thing to research, as in where to start? Time went by and no joy. Then I visited a potential client who was a near neighbour with an interesting collection of oriental items. I mentioned it to him and he opened a drawer which was full of them!


Turns out it is a Buddhistic Vajra, a symbolic dagger symbolising a bolt of lightning from Heaven to punish the unworthy. The one we had was thought to be from possibly Tibet although similar items in various forms and mediums are common across all Asian Buddhist countries including China and Japan. Having been enlightened as to its origins another one turned up in a Valuation Evening in Fishguard shortly afterwards, a Japanese wooden example, allowing me to pronounce my opinion with authority! Amazing coincidence as I have not come across one since.

After all that I bought it, not an expensive item but more knowledge gleaned. Probably worth £50-£80 now.


Nigel Hodson ASFAV

Principal, Peter Francis Auctioneers Ltd.”




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