EDC: The Evolution of Men’s Toys and China’s Rich History of Everyday Carry Items

Crafted from a titanium alloy, these skull knuckles are both stylish and functional. Measuring 6.8 by 6.8 centimeters and 9 millimeters thick, they are lightweight and convenient to transport, and can be worn for any occasion. Ideal for outdoor activities, they are the preferred choice for everyday carry (EDC).

Crafted by the renowned creative designer Harlan, who gained admission to the British Academy of Art as a teenager and established his own design brand, this handmade creation is a testament to his exceptional talent. Harlan has collaborated with numerous leading design firms across the globe and has been honored with numerous awards. Notably, his gravity bicycle design shattered the national speed record.

Harlan’s interest in weapons and martial arts also led him to become a well-known designer of knives and EDC. The skull design brand he founded represents the trend of young Americans.

EDC: Men’s Toys are Evolving As technology and innovation continue to advance, it’s interesting to observe how what we consider as “toys” have changed over the years. The term “EDC” (Everyday Carry) has become increasingly common to describe the small, practical gadgets that many men now carry with them on a daily basis. These include items such as pocket knives, multi-tools, flashlights, and even high-tech gadgets like smartwatches. Gone are the days of simply carrying around a bulky wallet and keys. Men today are constantly in search of new and innovative tools to aid them in their everyday lives, and it seems as though the possibilities are endless. While some may argue that men have never truly grown up, it’s undeniable that their toys are evolving with the times.

15.8 cm long, unearthed in Hemudu, Yuyao, Zhejiang in 1977

This ivory dagger resembles a bird, featuring a pointed shape with rounded eyes, a hooked beak, folded wings, and a tail that extends into a flat tongue-like shape. The abdomen and back have holes drilled into them, and the entire piece is embellished with engravings of string and oblique lines. The fine texture and smooth appearance of this artifact are testaments to the Hemudu culture’s mastery of the plastic arts, resulting in a vivid and exquisitely crafted image.

A dagger is a historic utensil with a lengthy handle and a shallow, spoon-like shape. The ivory-carved dagger, fashioned in the shape of a phoenix, resembles a dagger in form but serves no practical purpose for serving soup or rice. Instead, the flat tongue-shaped bird tail suggests it was intended for wear and fastening, most likely used as a ritualistic utensil or decorative element in primitive belief systems, as evidenced by the drilled holes present on its back and belly.

Ancient Egyptian pharaoh dagger

China showcases its identity by carrying an EDC in the shape of a dagger, which was also a favored object by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. The “golden dagger” discovered from an Egyptian pharaoh’s tomb, dating back over 3,300 years, is a stunning piece with a sparkling gold body. Researchers studying the dagger with X-rays at Tutankha’s Mongolian tomb were astonished, exclaiming that it appeared extraterrestrial. In the Han Dynasty, the Chinese jade sword was a popular EDC among the scholar-official class, exemplified by Qu Yuan’s elegant portrayal of “Lu Lixi with a long clip” and the allusion of Ji Zha hanging the sword.

Jade swords, Warring States daily necessities

This collection comprises a bronze sword, a jade sword head and case, and a jade sword pen. The jade sword head adorns the sword’s uppermost portion and is a light green hue, appearing circular when viewed from above. The surface is adorned with a swirling pattern, with etched silkworm and swirl designs wrapping around it. The trapezoidal surface is polished to a shine. The jade sword grid is the ornamental jade that rests between the sword stem and body. It is light green, with concealed silkworm and swirl patterns, taking the form of a rhombus when viewed from above. It is hollow, allowing for the hilt to pass through the opening. The jade sword pen is a jade embellishment found on the scabbard, intended for wearing and hanging. It’s a light green color with purple tints, rectangular in shape with a slightly curved surface. The pen is adorned with concealed silkworm and scroll designs, and a larger hole at the base allows for the sword to be worn with a saber. The Song Dynasty represents the epitome of everyday carry products in China. Its cultural prosperity and exquisite craftsmanship were unparalleled in Chinese history. As literati journeyed outside, they always had their EDC at hand, whether it be while drinking tea, reading, or conversing.

Ru Kiln Celadon Washer, Northern Song Dynasty, National Museum Collection

Ru kiln is renowned and served as an official kiln during the Northern Song Dynasty, producing extremely rare pieces. In fact, collectors during the Southern Song Dynasty considered Ru kiln to be exceedingly scarce. Taipei’s National Palace Museum boasts the most extensive collection, making it a must-see destination for enthusiasts. Azure is the most significant color associated with Ru kiln, as it was the preferred hue of Song Huizong, the artist emperor of the Northern Song Dynasty. The azure shade resembles the blue sky after rainfall. Emphasizing blue and light white was prevalent in the Northern Song Dynasty court, and this trend continued until the end of the Southern Song Dynasty. Song Huizong had impeccable artistic taste, and the Ru kiln is a testament to his discerning eye. The kiln’s pieces exude an aesthetic that is neither too much nor too little, both in shape and color. Wen Zhenheng, the great-grandson of Wen Zhengming in the Ming Dynasty, wrote Changwuzhi, a book about non-edible or wearable objects, some of which fall under the category of everyday carry (EDC). Wen Zhenheng believed that brewing tea with snow water, playing the zither, and enjoying the fragrance were among life’s most beautiful things. Objects like inkstones, fans, vases, stools, calligraphy and paintings, and teacups are long-lasting items that serve as predecessors to modern-day EDC. In summary, EDC encompasses small items that embody one’s temperament, not necessarily luxurious ones, but those that embody spirit, serve a purpose, and bring joy.

Matching of steel fire accessories and bags

Demonstrating the boundless creativity of humanity within limited space, materials play a crucial role. Our predecessors employed olive stones, wood, stone, and jade for sculpting, and even everyday items like snuff bottles were included in the category of EDC. However, contemporary professionals in modern office settings no longer resemble the traditional robe-and-jacket-clad players or chain-donning men of old. Today’s players are cultured, talented newcomers who strive to showcase their aesthetic taste through both design and materials.

let’s take a look.

William Henry American William Henry BR7

Hand-engraved sterling silver rattlesnake bracelet with eyes set with two natural rubies and body made of steel wire and rubber. The sterling silver button shackle is ingeniously designed, and the snake’s jaw can move. The carving is lifelike and vivid.

Steel Flame Steel Fire, Hell Skull. Spinning Top

Microtech Tac-p Straw

Click to have more Shieldon EDC knives factory.

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