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Chinese Swords

Originally made of bronze, and later of steel and iron, the first Chinese swords are thought to have been made during the Shang Dynasty over 3,000 years ago. Far ahead of their European counterparts, Chinese swordsmiths were masters of their trade in efficiency and technology, marking China as one of the greatest military forces during the Tang and Song Dynasties.

Early Chinese swords were very short, and made with shock-absorbency, flexibility, durability, and hard edges in mind. Over time, swords became longer, and their material composition became more varied. The three major types were wrapped, inserted, and twist-core. Wrapped steel blades consisted of harder steel wrapped over a softer steel core. Inserted steel swords had two sides of softer steel sandwiching an edge and core made of hard steel. Twist-core was made from soft and hard steel twisted and welded together.

All three varieties of swords are categorized into two types: jian and dao. Jian is the name for a double-edged sword, and a dao only has one edge.


Quick Facts

  • Jian and dao are considered two of the four main Chinese weapons. The other two are the gun and spear
  • Perhaps the most famous Chinese sword, Goujian, is made of bronze and is estimated to be over 2000 years old. Found in an airtight tomb and encased in a tight sheath, this jian sword emerged untarnished and very sharp
  • In historical China (770-476 B.C.), Chinese swordsmiths were able to incorporate rust-proof alloys into swords, resulting in masterpieces like the Guojian, which never rusted despite being stored in a wet environment for over 2000 years

Recommended Items at Auction

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CHINESE SWORD
Dec 03, 1:00 PM CET
CHINESE SWORD
by Galerie Moenius
Est: CHF500- CHF1,000
CHF5502 Bids
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A bronze sword Possibly Spring and Autumn period (770 to 476 BCE)
Dec 07, 2:00 PM AEDT
A bronze sword Possibly Spring and Autumn period (770 to 476 BCE)
by Bonhams
Est: AUD800- AUD1,200
AUD8502 Bids
A CHINESE SWORD (DAO)
Dec 07, 11:00 AM GMT
A CHINESE SWORD (DAO)
by Olympia Auctions
Est: £250- £350
£1201 Bid
A RARE CARRIES AN INSCRIPTION OF YUE KING BRONZE SWORD, THE EXCLUDE LACQUER SWORD RACK.
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
A RARE CARRIES AN INSCRIPTION OF YUE KING BRONZE SWORD, THE EXCLUDE LACQUER SWORD RACK.
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $240,000- $500,000
$48,0001 Bid
Han Dynasty Bronze Sword
Nov 29, 12:00 PM EST
Han Dynasty Bronze Sword
by Greenwich Auction
Est: $200- $300
$501 Bid
A very fine and rare Tibetan sword
Dec 16, 10:00 AM CET
A very fine and rare Tibetan sword
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €1,000- €1,500
€1,0001 Bid
Han Dynasty Bronze Sword
Nov 29, 12:00 PM EST
Han Dynasty Bronze Sword
by Greenwich Auction
Est: $200- $300
$501 Bid
A silver-mounted ceremonial short sword
Dec 16, 10:00 AM CET
A silver-mounted ceremonial short sword
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €500- €800
€5000 Bids
A rare silver-mounted ceremonial short sword
Dec 16, 10:00 AM CET
A rare silver-mounted ceremonial short sword
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €1,500- €2,500
€1,5000 Bids
Chinese Archaistic Jade Sword Fitting
Dec 02, 9:00 AM EST
Chinese Archaistic Jade Sword Fitting
by Ander's Auction
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$3000 Bids
Chinese Archaistic Jade Sword Fitting
Dec 02, 9:00 AM EST
Chinese Archaistic Jade Sword Fitting
by Ander's Auction
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$5000 Bids
Chinese Archaistic Jade Sword Fitting
Dec 02, 9:00 AM EST
Chinese Archaistic Jade Sword Fitting
by Ander's Auction
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
FOUR SWORDS IN CHINESE ZHOU DYNASTY STYLE
Dec 07, 11:00 AM GMT
FOUR SWORDS IN CHINESE ZHOU DYNASTY STYLE
by Olympia Auctions
Est: £150- £200
£700 Bids
Käsch-Schwert
Dec 03, 11:00 AM CET
Käsch-Schwert
by Auktionshaus Sieglin GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€500 Bids
SILVER MIXED IRON ACCESSORY SWORD OF TIBET 西藏鐵挫銀配劍
Dec 04, 1:00 PM CST
SILVER MIXED IRON ACCESSORY SWORD OF TIBET 西藏鐵挫銀配劍
by Treasure Art
Est: NT$0- NT$0
NT$10,0000 Bids
SHORT SWORD PRESENTED BY JIANG ZHONGZHENG 校長蔣中正贈短劍
Dec 04, 1:00 PM CST
SHORT SWORD PRESENTED BY JIANG ZHONGZHENG 校長蔣中正贈短劍
by Treasure Art
Est: NT$0- NT$0
NT$10,0000 Bids
A RARE HIMALAYAN SWORD
Dec 07, 11:00 AM GMT
A RARE HIMALAYAN SWORD
by Olympia Auctions
Est: £250- £350
£1200 Bids
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CHINESE-MADE SWORD AND SCABBARD 20th Century Blade length 27". Total length 38".
Dec 06, 9:30 AM EST
CHINESE-MADE SWORD AND SCABBARD 20th Century Blade length 27". Total length 38".
by Eldred's
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Chinese sword
Nov 30, 10:00 AM CET
Chinese sword
by Deutsch Auktionen
Est: €350- €0
€1700 Bids
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AN OFFICER'S SWARD OF THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Dec 03, 2:00 PM PST
AN OFFICER'S SWARD OF THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA
by Linwoods Auction
Est: $600- $900
$2000 Bids
A LARGE JADE BLADE
Dec 06, 9:30 AM CET
A LARGE JADE BLADE
by Nagel Auction
Est: €4,000- €6,000
€4,0000 Bids
A RARE JADE CEREMONIAL BLADE
Dec 06, 9:30 AM CET
A RARE JADE CEREMONIAL BLADE
by Nagel Auction
Est: €1,500- €2,500
€1,5000 Bids
A CHINESE BRONZE SWORD. J006
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
A CHINESE BRONZE SWORD. J006
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $15,000- $50,000
$2,5000 Bids
A CHINESE BASHU WILLOW-LEAF-ALIKE SHORT BRONZE SWORD, ARTISTICALLY ADORNED WITH MYSTERIOUS ABSTRACT SYMBOL OR HUMAN FACE
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
A CHINESE BASHU WILLOW-LEAF-ALIKE SHORT BRONZE SWORD, ARTISTICALLY ADORNED WITH MYSTERIOUS ABSTRACT SYMBOL OR HUMAN FACE
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $5,000- $8,000
$1,5000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Swords


Olympia Auctions

Olympia Auctions

Nagel Auction

Nagel Auction

Czerny's International Auction House

Czerny's International Auction House

Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.

Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.