Ending 30th Jun, 2024 16:00

Olympia Timed: Antique Arms, Armour & Militaria June 2024

 
  Lot 506
 

506

□ TWO CHINESE JADE ARCHERS RINGS, QING DYNASTY

comprising of a celadon jade ring with tiny russet inclusions, 2.7cm high; and a celadon jade ring, 2.5cm high

Provenance

The William Reid collection; the smaller ring acquired in 1980

William ‘Bill’ Reid CBE (8 November 1926 – 19 June 2014) was a Scottish military historian who became director of the National Army Museum in 1970, a position he held for 17 years. He was an acknowledged military historian, curator and expert in weaponry and the leading authority in the UK on armour and medieval arms. He published widely on his subject, most notably The Lore of Arms: A concise history of weaponry, New York, 1984, which was translated into six languages.

He was an avid collector of Chinese thumb-rings, some of which were gifted to the British Museum in 2022 and featured in the museum’s exhibition China’s Hidden Century, 18 May - 8 October 2023, London .

The Manchu thumb ring was used on the hand that pulled the bowstring to allow for a snappier release for archery on horseback. In the 19th Century, their use spread to the merchant class and other elites as a form of jewelry and a symbol of masculinity, rather than as a practical accessory. What had originated as a sign of Manchu ancestry also became an accessory, and a symbol of masculinity, for Han-Chinese men.

Sold for £160


 

comprising of a celadon jade ring with tiny russet inclusions, 2.7cm high; and a celadon jade ring, 2.5cm high

Provenance

The William Reid collection; the smaller ring acquired in 1980

William ‘Bill’ Reid CBE (8 November 1926 – 19 June 2014) was a Scottish military historian who became director of the National Army Museum in 1970, a position he held for 17 years. He was an acknowledged military historian, curator and expert in weaponry and the leading authority in the UK on armour and medieval arms. He published widely on his subject, most notably The Lore of Arms: A concise history of weaponry, New York, 1984, which was translated into six languages.

He was an avid collector of Chinese thumb-rings, some of which were gifted to the British Museum in 2022 and featured in the museum’s exhibition China’s Hidden Century, 18 May - 8 October 2023, London .

The Manchu thumb ring was used on the hand that pulled the bowstring to allow for a snappier release for archery on horseback. In the 19th Century, their use spread to the merchant class and other elites as a form of jewelry and a symbol of masculinity, rather than as a practical accessory. What had originated as a sign of Manchu ancestry also became an accessory, and a symbol of masculinity, for Han-Chinese men.

Auction: Olympia Timed: Antique Arms, Armour & Militaria June 2024, ending 30th Jun, 2024

Viewing

Public Exhibition
Sunday 23rd June: 12.00pm to 4.00pm
Monday 24th June: 10.00am to 7.00pm
Tuesday 25th June: 10.00am to 5.00pm

Lots open for bidding: Friday 21st June: 9.00am

Lots close from: Sunday 30th June, 4.00pm

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