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Gavin Kisebach

Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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PostPosted: Mon 06 Oct, 2008 5:12 am    Post subject: Bronze antenna hilt ... from Korea?         Reply with quote

I stumbled upon the picture below, showing some bronze daggers from Korea circa 500-300 BC. The one that caught my eye was the bottom one, which I find startlingly similar to Celtic bronze age antenna sword hilts. I've searched for about three hours for another shot of this one, which I think came from the National Museum of Korea (at least that's where the rest of the daggers in the picture are from) but to no avail.

Are there any Neolithic Korean history buffs in the audience? Do you have any more pictures of this particular dagger?

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Korean antenna bottom Center

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Celtic antenna center

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Jim S.

Location: La Antigua Guatemala
Joined: 17 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Oct, 2008 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Gavin. That's an amazing similarity - almost scary ! I now wonder if there had been some sort of cultural exchange between Korea and the Celtic world. As this has sparked my interest, I have done a little web surfing and found the two sites below. I believe that photos of your sword/dagger are shown.

Thanks for the post. I've got more researching to do !
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Bennison N

Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Joined: 06 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Oct, 2008 3:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not an Ancient Korean (Bronze Age) History buff, but I do know something about Middle Age to Contemporary Korean History, if that helps at some later time...

But for this thread... Coincidentally, I have recently strongly desired a Jeroen Zuiderwijk replica of a "Violin" Liaoning type Korean bronze dagger, based on this one:

And it seems to me to be sort of relevant to what you were discussing. It's not the antenna type, but it is contemporary (loosely) to the ones that you mean.

And... If, in your searches, you happen to discover the ratio of materials in the Korean bronzes historically used in these daggers, please feel free to share this information with me. We are not decided as to how much Chinese bronze culture influenced the tin amounts in Korean bronze.

It is this problem that has brought my ever-growing need to have the dagger to a grinding halt at the moment, and I want to get the project back underway as soon as possible.


"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
Industry Professional

Location: Netherlands
Joined: 11 Mar 2005

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PostPosted: Tue 07 Oct, 2008 4:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Firstly, the people from bronze age Europe are not considered to be Celtic yet. If those Korean daggers are 500-300BC, then they're separated by centuries from the European ones, which date to 1000-800BC. By the time the Korean daggers are supposed to be made, the antenna hilts had been fased out (possibly evolved into the antropomorphic hilted daggers/swords of the La Tene period).

However, there actually may be a link. Amongst Scythian akinakes, which spread throughout the steppes from Eastern Europe all the way into China, bronze and later iron akinakes do feature the typical antenna hilts. They may have copied that from these European swords, and eventually carried it over all the way to Korea. I've even come across an example found in Japan (lost the picture, if anyone has it please LMK). So it does seem like there is an indirect link. There's also antenna hilted knives in both China and Europe that are virtually identical as well.
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Felix Kunze

Location: Bonn, Germany
Joined: 28 Feb 2007

Posts: 49

PostPosted: Tue 07 Oct, 2008 5:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with Jereon, the european antenna hilts are centuries seperated from the korean daggers and short swords with thes elaborate bronze hilts. These korean antenna hilts often incorporate an iron blade and were made around 300-0 BC, in a time which is classified in Korea as the early iron age. They may have some connection to the steppe culture (over Manchuria) but are more likely a local development. Possible examples from Japan do exist, as Japan had very close cultural links to the korean peninsular until the seventh century.

Another example for similar ideas in Korea and Europe are dolmens, which are estimated to number up to 100 000 in Korea, and which are also prominent in Western Europe. Similar to the daggers, although the construction is nearly the same, there is a gap of many centuries between the western and the korean dolmens.

But lets come back to the daggers. Antenna-related hilts where also fitted on the early korean iron longswords (around 100 BC to 100 AD), but with the increasing chinese influence of the Han-Dynasty, they were replaced by the various forms of ring pommels, which dominated korean sword grips throughout the wars of unification (until 668 AD).

For the amount of tin and Copper in the production of these daggers, try to find:
Nelson, Sarah Milledge: The Archaeology of Korea. Cambridge 1993.

We have it in the Korean language institute (but itīs not easy to get these days, sorry) and it may contain the information You are looking for. I will try to get it, but it may take quite a bit of time..
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