A Chinese Jian (劍) short sword
Many collectors see these ‘Jian’ short swords as tourist quality souvernirs, however some were made for the export market later on but during the latest part of the Qing Dynasty, scholars and gentlemen used to carry short swords as status symbol and to protect themselves if necessary. They come in different quality. Some with tortoise shell covered scabbards, sometimes with ivory hilts, but this example comes with boxwood handle and shagreen covered scabbard.
China, Late 19th century
Materials: Steel, Brass, Wood, Shagreen, Boxwood
A fine example of a classic ‘Jian’ (劍) shortsword. Most likely carried by a scholar or brought back by an officer, decorated with brass fittings and a well forged sharpened blade. Mistakenly considered as only souvenir trade examples, many were actually made for self defense, with good quality forged blades.
Standard short blade with double cutting edge and steep point, well forged with a central ridge running down the entire blade ending up in the tip. Likely tempered steel with a visible pattern down the edges. Not suitable for thrusting, but made for fast melee strikes when being attacked.
Consisting of two wooden slabs held together by brass fittings depicting Buddhism auspicious symbols. The ‘Shou’ (壽) character which stands for longevity and double happiness, surrounded by four bats, which stand for happiness as well. Finished with green colored shagreen.
Condition: Very good, some ware on the shagreen, but steady blade and slightly movable fittings. One side of the guard has a dent. The handle has a thin crack due to heat or dry climate. Cleaned blade and original good dark patina on the hilt and fittings. A fine example.
Blade length: 49.5cm
Total length: 56.3cm
Copyright Antiques by the Sea – 2020
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