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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Originally made of bronze, and later of steel and iron, the first Chinese swords are thought to have been made during the Shang Dynasty over 3,000 years ago.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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A CHINESE JIAN SWORD IN PIERCED BRASS MOUNTS, 19TH CEN.
Apr 21, 11:00 AM EDT
A CHINESE JIAN SWORD IN PIERCED BRASS MOUNTS, 19TH CEN.
by Helios Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1002 Bids
CHINESE DOUBLE WUSHU DAO SWORD W/SCABBARD
Apr 19, 10:00 AM PDT
CHINESE DOUBLE WUSHU DAO SWORD W/SCABBARD
by Scollard Auctions
Est: $300- $400
$2001 Bid
A silver-mounted Tibetan short-sword, circa 1900
May 16, 1:00 PM CEST
A silver-mounted Tibetan short-sword, circa 1900
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€1,3000 Bids
A silver-mounted Tibetan short-sword, circa 1900
May 16, 1:00 PM CEST
A silver-mounted Tibetan short-sword, circa 1900
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€6400 Bids
A Tibetan short sword and dagger (dughti), circa 1900
May 16, 1:00 PM CEST
A Tibetan short sword and dagger (dughti), circa 1900
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€7200 Bids
LARGE FRAMED CHINESE HAND CARVED SWORD WITH JADE
Apr 19, 1:30 PM PDT
LARGE FRAMED CHINESE HAND CARVED SWORD WITH JADE
by Auction Plus, Inc.
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$2,5000 Bids
THEATRICAL CHINESE ALL-WOOD SWORD
Apr 19, 10:00 AM PDT
THEATRICAL CHINESE ALL-WOOD SWORD
by Scollard Auctions
Est: $100- $150
$500 Bids
A MATCHED SET OF CHINESE JIAN SWORDS IN ONE SCABBARD
Apr 21, 11:00 AM EDT
A MATCHED SET OF CHINESE JIAN SWORDS IN ONE SCABBARD
by Helios Auctions
Est: $400- $500
$3000 Bids
CHINESE STRAIGHT SWORD W/ SCABBARD
Apr 19, 10:00 AM PDT
CHINESE STRAIGHT SWORD W/ SCABBARD
by Scollard Auctions
Est: $250- $350
$2000 Bids
CHINESE JIAN STRAIGHT SWORD WITH SCABBARD
Apr 19, 10:00 AM PDT
CHINESE JIAN STRAIGHT SWORD WITH SCABBARD
by Scollard Auctions
Est: $250- $350
$2000 Bids
CHINESE JIAN STRAIGHT SWORD W/ SCABBARD
Apr 19, 10:00 AM PDT
CHINESE JIAN STRAIGHT SWORD W/ SCABBARD
by Scollard Auctions
Est: $300- $400
$2000 Bids
CHINESE LONG SWORD WITH SCABBARD
Apr 19, 10:00 AM PDT
CHINESE LONG SWORD WITH SCABBARD
by Scollard Auctions
Est: $300- $400
$2000 Bids
CHINESE ARCHAISTIC STYLE SWORD
Apr 19, 10:00 AM PDT
CHINESE ARCHAISTIC STYLE SWORD
by Scollard Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
A Chinese dao, 19th century
May 16, 1:00 PM CEST
A Chinese dao, 19th century
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€8000 Bids
A Chinese dao, 19th century
May 16, 1:00 PM CEST
A Chinese dao, 19th century
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€6000 Bids
A large Chinese fighting niuweidao ("oxtail-sabre"), circa 1900
May 16, 1:00 PM CEST
A large Chinese fighting niuweidao ("oxtail-sabre"), circa 1900
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€4800 Bids
ORNATE GILT CHINESE SWORD
Apr 19, 10:00 AM PDT
ORNATE GILT CHINESE SWORD
by Scollard Auctions
Est: $300- $600
$2000 Bids
CHINESE LONG SWORD WITH BAMBOO SCABBARD
Apr 19, 10:00 AM PDT
CHINESE LONG SWORD WITH BAMBOO SCABBARD
by Scollard Auctions
Est: $300- $400
$2000 Bids
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Chinese Zhou Dynasty bronze short sword blade, 1046 BC – 256 BC, certified
May 11, 11:00 AM EDT
Chinese Zhou Dynasty bronze short sword blade, 1046 BC – 256 BC, certified
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $4,000- $10,000
$2000 Bids
A luxurious Chinese niuweidao ("oxtail sabre"), 20th century
May 16, 1:00 PM CEST
A luxurious Chinese niuweidao ("oxtail sabre"), 20th century
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€6000 Bids
Weapon: saber (2): Chinese 20th C and Belgian NCO 2nd half 19th C
Apr 21, 1:30 PM CEST
Weapon: saber (2): Chinese 20th C and Belgian NCO 2nd half 19th C
by Monsantic.com
Est: €200- €300
€2000 Bids
VINTAGE CHINESE BRONZE SWORD W/ SCABBARD
Apr 19, 10:00 AM PDT
VINTAGE CHINESE BRONZE SWORD W/ SCABBARD
by Scollard Auctions
Est: $150- $200
$1000 Bids
chinese cane sword
Apr 22, 12:00 PM PDT
chinese cane sword
by International Auction Gallery
Est: $80- $150
$200 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Swords


Scollard Auctions

Scollard Auctions

Hermann Historica GmbH

Hermann Historica GmbH

Eternity Gallery

Eternity Gallery

International Auction Gallery

International Auction Gallery