Chinese Scales

This beautifully made Chinese portable scales was in such poor condition that I was not even sure if the metal fittings on the case were brass or not. In addition there were clearly parts missing from the locking mechanism. I was able to reproduce the sliding hasp and the parts that held it in place, and found an old Chinese lock that fitted nicely.

I discovered three Chinese characters incised on the balance beam. With help from a professor at Dickinson College we were able to determine that they meant that the scales were made by a shop in Sanhe, an ancient town east of Beijing.

The photo below shows the scales with the upper parts folded up and placed in the drawers. We suspect that these scales were perhaps used by a tax collector or other government official.