Please help me translate these Chinese characters.
February 8, 2012 6:16 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone translate these Chinese characters located on a VZ 24 Mauser for me?

I recently bought a very old mauser rifle at a gun show, a VZ 24 to be exact. The one eyed man I bought it from told me that it had been in a Chinese militia, where it received these branded characters.

I'm interested in the history of it, I know that it was made in what is now the Czech Republic at the Brno arms factory, and from what I've been able to piece together online, several hundred thousand were shipped to China just before the Nazis occupied the country.

I've seen online where others with similar rifles were able to have the characters translated, and it gave them an idea of where in China their rifle was used/sent, and I'd like to see if I can trace this one back as well.
Thanks in advance!

Here are the photos:


posted by Monkeyswithguns to Writing & Language (6 answers total)
Response by poster: I don't understand why the links didn't show, but here are the photo links
posted by Monkeyswithguns at 6:17 AM on February 8, 2012

Pic 1
Pic 2
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:33 AM on February 8, 2012

Best answer: The first picture reads 留用 (liu2 yong4), or literally, 'keep (remain)' and 'use'. So perhaps 'retained for use'?

The second picture looks like it's a maker's stamp; it reads as 氏 (shi4), which is used to indicate a surname when appended to one.

Sorry if this doesn't make much sense, but hopefully with a clear indication of what the characters are and what they sound like someone else might be able to help you.
posted by titantoppler at 6:38 AM on February 8, 2012

Best answer: The first one says 留用 (liúyòng), which means something like "for internal use".

The second one says 氏 (shì), which means "surname". It might be a manufacturer's mark or brand name.

Rotate both pics 90° anticlockwise for right way up:)
posted by fix at 6:48 AM on February 8, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks folks, that was quick!
posted by Monkeyswithguns at 6:52 AM on February 8, 2012

I think the character in the circle is actually 民 (short for 民兵 'militia') but the top strokes have worn down a bit - see here for the same gun with similar markings and a description of its provenance (in Chinese). I think the seller was telling you the truth.
posted by Abiezer at 10:06 AM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

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