Pattern welded Jian (劍) - Reserved
Region: South China
Period: Qing Dynasty (1668-1912) ca. 1900
Materials: Steel, Iron, Brass, Wood
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 good quality forged blade. Mistakenly considered as only curio-trade examples, many were actually made for self defense, with good quality forged blades and were known in Chinese culture as far back as 500BC.
Many collectors see these ‘Jian’ short swords as tourist quality souvernirs. While some were made for the export market indeed, they turned up during the latest part of the Qing Dynasty when scholars and gentlemen started to carry short swords as status symbol and to protect themselves when necessary. They come in different qualities, some with tortoise shell covered scabbards, sometimes with ivory hilts, or like this example, with wooden grip and wooden, with brass covered scabbard.
Standard semi-short blade with double cutting edge and rounded tip, well forged with a central ridge running down the entire blade ending up in the tip. A fine laminated pattern of tempered steel is visible near the edges. Not suitable for thrusting, but made for fast melee strikes while being attacked.
Consisting of two wooden slabs held together by brass fittings depicting Buddhism auspicious symbols. The simplified ‘Shou’ (壽) character which stands for longevity and double happiness, surrounded by four bats and auspicious objects, which stand for happiness as well. The center fitting depicts a crouching dragon, which is considered the most powerful animal known. Some fittings show old traces of silver-plating.
Condition: Very good, some minimal ware on the once silver-plated fittings, some slight movement, but with sturdy blade.
Hilt length: 15cm
Blade length: 47cm
Blade spine thickness: 3.5mm
Total length: 64.5cm
Provenance: French art market
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