About us | Mandarin Mansion

About us

Mandarin Mansion was founded by Peter Dekker, in 2005. We buy, sell, study and restore antique arms from all over Asia, with a special interest for antique Chinese arms.

Driven by a deep passion for the subject, we cater to serious and advanced collectors, whom we help build up noteworthy collections. We also strive to have affordable antiques available for beginning collectors, or martial artists that seek to own authentic pieces connected to the history of their arts.

Mandarin Mansion
Weteringschans 165
1017 XD Amsterdam
Kingdom of the Netherlands
Phone: +31623373442
E-mail: peter@mandarinmansion.com

Peter Dekker

Hi! I am Peter Dekker. People often ask me how I got into all this. Like most kids, I was inspired in my childhood by martial arts movies. I annoyed my family with home-made nunchakus and swung around broomsticks in the backyard. I could spend hours constructing various devices that shot darts or arrows. At age 10 I heated an iron pipe and beat it to a sword shape, dreaming about once owning a real, old sword.

As a young adult my dream came true and I finally bought that antique sword I was dreaming about. I still have it. But it didn't stay there. I consider myself very lucky that I met the right people, at the right time, who helped me grow. Improving my connoisseurship, polishing my methods of research. The dream of owning an antique sword was fulfilled, my next dream was to do this for a living.

Today, my greatest passions are the Manchu-ruled Qing dynasty and the cultures it interacted with. I geek out on all things Manchu archery at Fe Doro. Through learning to handle and shoot actual composite bows, I grew a deep love for the various types of composite bows used all over Asia. Over the years, interest in non-Qing related arms grew steadily. Now I can get almost as excited about finding a nice wootz steel khyber sword as I get about finding an old Chinese military saber.

In studying antique arms I believe in a practical approach that combines the study of period accounts, texts and artwork with the study of actual antique artifacts and their practical use. Much to my own surprise -and joy!- this has lead to invitations for lecturing and teaching around the world. I've also been giving advice to various museums, private collectors, TV production companies and various authors on the subject.

I never forgot my dream to make a living out of the full time trade, study and restoration of antique arms. So in 2015, I took the plunge to do just that. Thanks to you guys, all our site visitors and Facebook fans, it's been a great adventure so far.

Pleased to meet you!

Is there anything I can do for you?
Contact me at: peter@mandarinmansion.com

Philip Tom

When I mentioned "the right people" in my introduction, Philip Tom is on top of that list. I am proud to work with him for over a decade now. Philip has been the main restorer I work with. His advice on the antique arms of various cultures is still as valuable to me today as it was when I was still a beginner. He probably needs no introduction for most serious students of antique Chinese arms. For the rest:

Philip Tom has over thirty years' experience in research and restoration, having been a collector and student of antique arms since his school days. Through extensive study and examination of fine examples in museums and private collections on three continents, under the guidance of several mentors, he has acquired an astounding amount knowledge of historical development, manufacturing technique, and aesthetic traditions.

Philip Tom is author of several articles on the subject, among which “SOME NOTABLE SABERS OF THE QING DYNASTY IN THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ARTS, (Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 36, 2001), a pioneering article that has become a classic among Chinese sword enthusiasts.

As an arms and armor connoisseur Philip addressed the Society of Ethnographic & Historical Edged Weapons Collectors of Israel, lecturing on Ming and Qing armes-blanches, in Tel Aviv in 2000. He acted as an advisor on Chinese armament to the National Maritime Museum in Haifa, Israel, for a special exhibition on piracy. He was a historical consultant for a documentary telecast "Oriental Firearms" (part of the Tales of the Gun series) distributed by the History Channel in 2000. Served as curator and conservator for "Sword & Brush: Art from China's Martial Tradition" in Washington DC in the fall of 1999. Philip Tom has a Master of Arts degree in History from the University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus.

Philip Tom is a professional restorer of antique arms and armor:
"It's our duty, as collectors and martial artists, to preserve the tangible remnants of our past and our traditions for the benefit of future generations. I'm here to help some of these "old soldiers" gain a new lease on life. Please contact me if I can be of assistance."

For more about Philip Tom's services, see his restoration page.

Contact Philip directly at pcalvus@gmail.com

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