Double Knife Trousse
Place of Origin: China, Qing Dynasty
Date: 19th Century
Overall Length: 310mm
This unusual studio-marked double-knife Chinese trousse eating set has a pair of chopsticks, a toothpick and a small ear spoon.
The two knives’ grips are made from nanmu burl, a highly regarded timber, frequently mentioned as materials par excellence in Ming literati writings (1) and often used in scholars’ objects as well as for decorative cabinets’ doors and tabletop panels. Both hilts are set with pommel and bolster pieces of elephant ivory. One knife is slightly longer than the other, both having high quality blades with visible temper lines and evidence of a folded layered construction.
The wooden scabbard is covered with a black lacquer finish and a white scaled (shagreen) pattern. It is mounted with silver bands, and conceals a silver ear spoon and toothpick. The silver pommel has a Chinese inscription which indicates the name of the studio: Heng Yi He, and translates to the word ‘eternal’. The round-section chopsticks are also of elephant ivory, with delicately carved floral pommels.
For further information about Chinese knives see item number 1.
Evarts, Curtis, C. L. Ma Collection: Traditional Furniture from the Greater Shanxi Region, 1999.