BEIJING MILITARY MUSEUM Nov 7, 2009 1:59:31 GMT 8
Post by aggie09 on Nov 7, 2009 1:59:31 GMT 8
Sorry, but I have to disagree... I have read the same warning quote and others like it in several travel guidebooks (Lonely Planet, Frommers and others) and this warning basically refers to coins, ancient-looking repro weapons, furniture, Mao memorabilia/ collectibles, basically things to display around the house. I seriously doubt that the authors of those segments in the travel guidebooks could tell a real uniform from a fake, or a real helmet from a fake, for that matter.
When I was in Beijing I would spend some time in my hotel room watching Chinese TV shows, even if could not understand anything. I did this because a lot of the shows were military in nature (WW2, Chinese Civil War) and I wanted to familiarize myself with which uniforms and items of equipment were worn together, and during which specific periods in history, so that I would know what to buy if I saw it and how it was worn.
As I stated in an earlier post, I saw German, Japanese and US helmets at Panjiayuan. One of my pet peeves is that I collect helmets (some of them are posted here) and I can tell you that those were not fakes. I actually handled several items of equipment at Panjiayuan and I am pretty sure that the stuff was real. Now if you want a Mongolian bow, quiver and arrows, you can get that there too, but of course it will be fake/ repro. That's a different story.
I have seen the uniforms used by the 8th Route Army and lots of other Chinese uniforms at the Beijing Military Museum. I have seen similar ones at Panjiayuan. They aren't new, some are actually really faded and in bad shape while I would consider others "usable". They had uniforms and items of equipment from different years there. While Panjiayuan sells mostly stuff for the tourist trade they do have militaria from various periods of Chinese history, and certainly not fake. There are about 2 or 3 stalls there that sell only uniforms/ caps and belts. That's it. Other stalls sell equipment. I saw a lady selling a German M35 helmet that was mixed in with some home decor/ repro stuff spread out on a blanket with the rest of the stuff she was selling. It was the only militaria thing she had.
I'm not a student of Chinese history... I just like their military stuff.
And yes, they also had pins and some stuff with the Nationalist star on them. Not a lot, but they were there.
I would be careful about making sweeping generalizations that ALL WW2 stuff from China is fake.
Just curious... Have you ever been to the Beijing Military Museum and seen the real WW2 uniforms and equipment there or to Panjiayuan?
Did you buy the M35 helmet?
I am not calling the communist army [PLA] stuff fakes. I do not know much about their uniforms or gear that was used today or 30 or 40 years ago or whether it is being reproduced today. Their uniforms are not hard to identify as it goes by different types, eg, they are using the current Type 2007 [which looks modern and sharp btw ]setup and their last uniform used was the Type 1987. I was only referring to the WWII stuff and not the post war ones. And if they were selling the items for a few dollars then so be it, whether real or fake. As long as they were not selling at a high price.
I went to a small market in Taiwan and not many military stuff, just one or two helmets. This one seller had, what I think, a Japanese helmet. At that time I wasn't very familiar with Japanese helmets. I passed on the offer as I do not know about it and it was expensive. He also had, what he says, an "old" camera for sale. I later found out that this "antique" camera, with the same logo a seagull or something, is still being produced today.
I made the generalization because it is mostly true. If one item is real, then most the seller has no idea what he has nor the person buying it.
Of course, the museum would have 8th route army stuff because they are the communist government, kind of biased eh?, and it looks old because it is old. Did they allow you to touch and look at the items personally? I bet not. In addition, you also have to note that the communists during WWII were a very very small minority. What are the chances an original uniform survived? Not much. Millions of troops served in the nationalist army, if any items survived it may be burried away in junk or underground waiting to be found. I believe Japan is a good source of items since many soldiers may have sent back home souvnirs of their war booty. I have seen pictures of Japanese soldiers invading Nanking carrying M35 helmets on their backpacks, some are even wearing them! Also those "uniforms" you have seen may have been old civilian "Zong zeng uniforms" or commonly known as "Mao suits." The communist wore it through the 50s until they changed it to the green ones. So you can't say that a uniform actually dates to a certain period if can not be sure without acutal proof, for example like a tag or documents that group uniforms and medals together. Look at the Class A uniform of the US Army. It was worn from, I think, the 1950s to today. You can't just pick one up and say yep this is from 1961. Plus the uniforms have labels with dates in them.
You can make things look old by buring it in the ground for a few years, throwing a item on a street for a few days and dirt, or poking holes and then throw dirt on it . The fakers know their tricks. What many forums have devoted to find fakes and identifying them, the fakers are also there to learn more about how to perfect their items.
Also, any TV shows over there are mostly propaganda, favoring the communists. I have seen them as my parents have the channels here in the US. I remember watching one battle where both sides had about even numbers. The communists were standing on the edge of a cliff firing their SMGs and the nationalists were dug in behind sand bags firing off bolt actions and one MG. Well it seems that all the nationalists were killed and retreating, the communists (standing out in the open firing away) didn't even get one scratch. The main plot is the communist were trying to go after a female high ranking nationalist officer that were harrassing/arresting/executing communists. They put negative or down play on the nationalists, even though they themselves were not even the "nicest" people during that period. So, everytime I watch one, I change the channel and don't bother with it, because I know it does not tell the true story even it has the best battle scenes for a TV series.
Even most people, who learned from their own government unfortunately, think that the communists were the main army that fought the Japanese. It wasn't, it was the Nationalists. The communists just stood there at the side lines and doing gurrella warfare. I remember seeing answers on wikianswers site and one question was asked "who was the wartime leader of WWII China" One guy wrote Mao Zedong. Another question, "who was Chiang Kaishek?" One answered he was the main leader of China that fought against the Japanese. Another replied Mao Zedong was the leader and Chiang "instigated" the seperation of Taiwan from mainland China. Even Japan erase parts of their own history to make themselves look better and cover up past offenses [Japanese textbook controversy].
Remember, you can NOT base information of TV shows. That is the worst thing to do. Use books and other written material that has been researched throughly on the subject.
The pins and award/medals are being flooding on ebay with fantasies and fakes. Goverment items are dated with Mingguo and year of the republic. They do not use the regular dating system. Another round of fakes have simplified characters. The communists never adaped simplified after around the late 1950s. Another tell tale fake is charcters read left to right. The RoC government never used that format officially until after 2000. I have seen so many people get ripped off that they think the items are real.
I am not calling myself an expert in anything, I just wouldn't touch anything from china with a 30 foot pole. Heck, even wikipedia articles are being modified by people in China, who tries to make the RoC look bad, and Taiwan, who tries to make themselves look better. For other people it takes them many many years to identify and observe enough real items to come to any conclusions.
You are right about the tourist books. They are not experts in any of those fields, but they are suppose to be experts in the tourist field. They are just give a warning so that people do not get ripped off. But they do have people helping them to write books about the local stuff.
If you want to learn more and collect Chinese militaria items, you may have to learn Chinese. Unless you do, then you are way ahead of me. Only a few sources are in English and it is not as in depth as Chinese sources. My Chinese is limited, but I have my WWII China reenactment group and a Chinese militaria site (and I am glad a few people know english there) to help me if I have questions on items or particular parts of history.
I bought a post WWII picture, dating to around late 1945, it has several American and Chinese General officers at stand. Many of the Chinese were wearing a special patch. Nobody could not identify what this patch was. What I saying with this example is that there are still many missing information with Chinese WWII military history.
I even have questions on some of my Nationalist WWII reeactment uniform and gear. Although I do not doubt the people who have put research in tho creating a setup, but I would like to see some sources so I can get familiar with the real deal stuff.
Here is a test for you:
Can you identify this patch that I found on the internet if it is real or fake?
And what are the reasons why it is real or fake?
...and I think that is all I have to say sorry for the long post.