This incredibly beautiful, RARE silvered bronze GE dagger-axe head dates to the Zhou Dynasty of Ancient China, from 770 to 256 BC.. Securing AUTHENTIC ancient weapons of China is a rare feat unto itself. This genuine specimen shows ALL of the traits of ancient bronze corrosion and mineral deposits that are required to positively authenticate ancient bronze which is why we provided ample close-up images of the piece. The GE is an extremely important weapon in human history. It was Ancient China's FIRST true dedicated weapon design exclusively meant for human warfare, not as a dual-use tool-weapon that was used for hunting or agriculture. Collectors of ancient militaria should most definitely have an example of this weapon in their collection to show the earliest evolution of ancient warfare in Asia.
We have never pursued ancient Chinese antiquities but over a decade ago, we acquired three ancient Ge dagger axes from an old California estate. Two (offered elsewhere on this site), were ordinary ancient bronze examples but this one stood out and was clearly a prestige yet, functional weapon of an ancient aristocrat warrior. Ancient bronze weapons that are silvered or gilded are exclusively of prestige origin. Because of their exorbitant cost in the Ancient World, such weapons were beyond the means of the average warrior. This specimen not only shows incredible intact silvering over the bronze, the malachite encrustations naturally took on a Tiger-stripe pattern over the entire weapon. While purely coincidental, this bizarre effect adds a deep mystique to this piece - the ferocity of the tiger's spirit in combat! With its complete preservation and intact heavy mineral deposits, this is a specimen not to pass by. The patina is truly breath-taking and even the light cleaning on the tip exposes the underlying ancient bronze with deep cuprite inclusions and deposits, true signs of age and authenticity. This ancient bronze artifact has been professionally examined, cleaned and conserved in our lab.
We cannot caution enough just how flooded the market is with Chinese fakes of all forms and types. Ancient weapons are probably right up there with the most common of forgeries with amazingly convincing copies floating around in unsuspecting dealer inventories. Since we operate our own conservation lab, we have the unique opportunity of having all the necessary equipment to test an object for authenticity, as well as over 30 years of extensive experience in handling ancient bronzes. The major auction houses are not without their own problems as we have been party to condemning numerous fraudulent pieces sold in prestigious formats. Unlike most sellers and certainly, ALL auction houses, we have the knowledge and equipment to WITH CERTAINTY separate forgeries from authentic specimens. Furthermore, we provide a full, written unconditional guarantee not just on authenticity, but on identification and condition.
The dagger-axe, ge, was the first dedicated design weapon in ancient Chinese history that was not also a dual-use tool for hunting or agriculture. Lacking a point for thrusting, the dagger-axe was used in the open where there was enough room to swing its long shaft. Its appearance on the Chinese battlefield predated the use of chariots and the later dominance of tightly packed infantry formations. During the Zhou dynasty, the ji or Chinese halberd gradually became more common on the battlefield. The ji was developed from the dagger-axe by adding a spear head to the top of the shaft, thereby enabling the weapon to be used with a thrusting motion as well as a swinging motion. Later versions of the ji, starting in the Spring and Autumn period, combined the dagger-axe blade and spear head into a single piece. By the Han dynasty, the more versatile ji had completely replaced the dagger-axe as a standard infantry weapon. The ji itself was later replaced by the spear as the primary polearm of the Chinese military. By the Warring States period, large masses of infantry fighting in close ranks using the spear or ji had displaced the small groups of aristocrats on foot or mounted in chariots who had previously dominated the battlefield.
The Zhou dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty and preceded the Qin dynasty. The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history (790 years). The military control of China by the royal house, surnamed Ji, lasted initially from 1046 until 771 BC for a period known as the Western Zhou, and the political sphere of influence it created continued well into the Eastern Zhou period for another 500 years.
This period of Chinese history produced what many consider the zenith of Chinese bronzeware making. The latter period of the Zhou dynasty is also famous for the beginnings of three major Chinese philosophies: Confucianism, Taoism and Legalism.