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经验和错误 Experience and Mistakes|
(The old saying: a fall into the pit, a gain in your wit. But, it is always not easy to do so in reality. The following are some comments to a few phenomenons of current Chinese ancient weapons circles. These are pure personal opinions, wish to share with all and to avoid detours. If disagree, welcome your critics. However, time will tell. If some friends who have personal exprerience, should also speak out for themselves.
（1）只要是自己的，就是好的。(As long as it is my own collection, that must be the best.)
(To differentiate whether stuff is new or old might become a less important issue. But collections cannot avoid to have such idea in mind. After making sure own collection is not new, he or she cannot listen to any other commens. Then starts to upgrade on purpose, mainly with some of the below means:
(Everything with the word "treasure", Dao must be treasure Dao, and so is Jian. Rare, extremely unusual are oftenly used. Of course it is find to praise own family, and so is praise to own collections. But that must be with comparision, study and appraisal to large number of real stuff, whom might not necessary own all of those. Anyway, collection is, by its nature, a synthetical art of sights and knowledge, not any patent of the rich.
(Real life example, some of the fully iron fitting are seldom seen, where some claimed to be Ming or even Yuan products. It is simply because the collectors have seen too few of real stuff. Once upon a time, these fittings can be found more than 100 number within a day in Guangdong. I pasted dozens of those, which are all found within the same market in a day. In fact, most of the awaken collectors have realize they are just swords used by peasants in late Qing or even Republic of China.
（3）到”明“了 (As early as "Ming")
(This has become a big joke among the international Chinese sword collectors. In reality, there are unuaually small number of sword with genuinely complete fittings and with solid ground to prove. It is also a very debatable arguement. I personally feel that, there are less than 5% (or even 1%) of authentic sword with complete fittings and blade in the current domestic market. Some will oppose to this saying. It needs 5 or even 10 years to come to conclusion. But pls remember what I say. Among the thousands of Chinese ancient swords I collected, there are only less than 20 sword (0.5%) are confidently considered as Ming stuff.
（4）刀条无价值，不值得收藏。(Blade has little values, so unworthy for collection)
(Friends in this forum who has ever got this attitude should have changed by now. But out in the market, the feeling is still very strong. But for those who want to get stuff with cheap price, it is probably the last chance.)
（5）杂兵的龙头就是明朝的标志。(Dragon design on mace are symbol of Ming)
完全的错误和笑话。不排除部分有到明的可能，但多数仍然是清。(A completely mistake and joke. Cannot rule out the possibility, but most are Qing)
（6）铁装错银装具是明朝的断代标志，木瓜镡是明刀剑的标志 (Silver inlaid fittings and melon guard are banchmarks of Ming)
我个人绝对不同意。90%是清中期（至少是乾隆时代及后期）。(I personally disagree. 90% are mid Qing.)
用时间来证明上面的观念，有一些要久些，有一些很快。(Using time to prove the above could be longer for some, but could be very quick as well.)
（7）大长兵是实战器 (Large and long weapons are for combating)
恰恰相反，大部分是练武器。注意与仪仗器的区别 (Right to its opposite, mostly are for exercising. Please pay attention to the difference of guard weapons)
（8）实战器比仪仗器更有价值 (Combat weapon are more valuable then guard ones)
这是个见人见智的问题。但从收藏价值，我更倾向真正的仪仗兵器价值更高。(It depends on personal opinion. But from collection point of view, I would think there are more values in guard weapons.)
（9）外装漂亮的刀剑（尤其是皇家或高官所配）好看不好用，不能实战 (Sword with beautiful fittings (particularly made for royal family or governors) are good to appreciate but not for fighting)
荒唐的论题，是舍不得用来砍，而不是不能砍。(Ridiculours point. It is simply that people are unwilling to use them, not because these sword cannot chop or fight.)
（10）以装具断代 (Using fittings to benchmark time)
(It seems scientific, provided fittings are never re-fixed. And this saying is also un-precise. From the current collection point of view, one can only judge a sword is never refixed in the lastest dozens of years, or within the hundred years. But if a jian of 200 years old (mid Qing) is re-fixed with Ming fittings and stays as it is ever since, how can we tell.
(Above is solely personal opninions and serve reference to friends. Hope one day, time will be the most fair judge to tell whether I am speaking the rightful or just bullshit.
2002年12月16日 (16th Dec 2002)