ORIENTAL BRASS DRAGON/GARGOYLE, LETTER OPENER
Absolutely beautiful and intricate full-bodied dragon on scabbard, plus Foo-Dog or Gargoyle head on handle, and other designs embellish the top of this brass handled, brass sheathed letter opener. The embossing, or chasing on the face is very detailed and appears to be carved into the brass. I first felt that it was cast, and it may be, but the detailing seems considerably cleaner and sharper than what I normally associate with castings. It is heavy and appears to be cast brass. The back is well inscribed with either Japanese or Chinese characters, and again I do not have the knowledge to say which. It is possibly the name of a previous owner, maker, or historic date. It has a unique hinged latch that keeps it together when lain flat as on a desk It measures 7 ¾” long, in the sheath which measures about 5/8” wide x ¼” thick. The blade is carbon steel and is appx. 1/8” thick, ½” wide, and 5” long. The blade is not highly polished but I believe the scratches there are mostly created when the maker shaped the blade as they are fairly uniform and look to be old and part of the work. There is a small nick near the tip of the blade. The complete item weighs about 4-5 oz.
I feel, from having looked at other examples that this may well be from the 1800’s, but anybody collecting these could probably tell me better than I have found out on my own.This item will also be on display at Lincoln Antiques, Lincoln Mo. so please check availibilty if interested in purchasing it.