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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Originally made of bronze, and later of steel and iron, the first Chinese swords are thought to have been made during the Shang Dynasty over 3,000 years ago.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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Small sword, Tibet, around 1900, hand-forged steel of
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
Small sword, Tibet, around 1900, hand-forged steel of
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €140- €280
€1200 Bids
Representation sword, China, around 1900, ivory
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
Representation sword, China, around 1900, ivory
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €680- €1,200
€6500 Bids
CIRCA 1400 THREE LEGGED BRONZE EWER, GERMAN STATES OR LOW COUNTRIES
Nov 12, 11:00 AM EST
CIRCA 1400 THREE LEGGED BRONZE EWER, GERMAN STATES OR LOW COUNTRIES
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5000 Bids
CIRCA 1400 THREE LEGGED BRONZE EWER, GERMAN STATES OR LOW COUNTRIES
Nov 12, 11:00 AM EST
CIRCA 1400 THREE LEGGED BRONZE EWER, GERMAN STATES OR LOW COUNTRIES
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5000 Bids
A CHINESE GILT BRONZE SWORD
Oct 31, 8:00 PM EDT
A CHINESE GILT BRONZE SWORD
by NC Auctioneer Inc.
Est: $3,000- $4,000
$5000 Bids
A CHINESE BRONZE GILT MANJUSRI HOLDING A SWORD
Oct 30, 8:00 PM EDT
A CHINESE BRONZE GILT MANJUSRI HOLDING A SWORD
by NC Auctioneer Inc.
Est: $5,000- $7,000
$1,0000 Bids
A pair of jian (swords)
Nov 12, 10:00 AM CET
A pair of jian (swords)
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €300- €500
€3000 Bids
A Chinese Bronze Inlaid Silver Sword 
Oct 29, 11:00 AM EDT
A Chinese Bronze Inlaid Silver Sword 
by Annabel's Galleries Inc.
Est: $1,500- $1,800
$5000 Bids
A Chinese Bronze Inlaid Silver Sword 
Oct 29, 11:00 AM EDT
A Chinese Bronze Inlaid Silver Sword 
by Annabel's Galleries Inc.
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,0000 Bids
A Chinese Bronze Inlaid Silver Sword 
Oct 29, 11:00 AM EDT
A Chinese Bronze Inlaid Silver Sword 
by Annabel's Galleries Inc.
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,0000 Bids
HETIAN JADE BLADE
Nov 02, 9:00 AM EDT
HETIAN JADE BLADE
by Merces Gallery LLC
Est: $4,000- $9,000
$2,0000 Bids
Chinese bronze sword
Nov 01, 2:00 PM PDT
Chinese bronze sword
by International Auction Gallery
Est: $80- $150
$200 Bids
A Chinese Ancient-framing Bronze Vessel Statue
Nov 06, 2:15 PM PDT
A Chinese Ancient-framing Bronze Vessel Statue
by Guanyin Art LLC
Est: $600- $900
$3000 Bids
TWO RUSSIAN MILITARY PHOTOGRAPHS W. SHASHKA SWORD
Nov 07, 11:00 AM EDT
TWO RUSSIAN MILITARY PHOTOGRAPHS W. SHASHKA SWORD
by Helios Auctions
Est: $50- $70
$300 Bids
Chinese Phurba Ritual Dagger, Nepal
Dec 04, 2:00 PM CET
Chinese Phurba Ritual Dagger, Nepal
by Signens Kunstauktionen
Est: €80- €100
€500 Bids
A CHINESE SILVER-INLAID BRONZE CHARIOT CANOPY FITTING.
Nov 18, 11:00 AM GMT
A CHINESE SILVER-INLAID BRONZE CHARIOT CANOPY FITTING.
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £1,500- £2,000
£1,5000 Bids
TREASURE INLAID SILK MIX COPPER SWORD
Nov 07, 1:00 PM CST
TREASURE INLAID SILK MIX COPPER SWORD
by Treasure Art
Est: NT$0- NT$0
NT$130,0000 Bids
A Vintage Chinese Sword Form Dragon Letter Opener
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
A Vintage Chinese Sword Form Dragon Letter Opener
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $125- $1,250
$1250 Bids
A Wooden Chinese Sword Form Letter Opener
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
A Wooden Chinese Sword Form Letter Opener
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $175- $1,750
$1750 Bids
Officer's sword, model 1860, American army, with sheath, early 20th century
Nov 11, 7:00 PM EET
Officer's sword, model 1860, American army, with sheath, early 20th century
by A10 by Artmark
Est: €0- €0
€2000 Bids
An early Chinese bronze sword, possibly Han dynasty, with a shall
Nov 04, 9:30 AM GMT
An early Chinese bronze sword, possibly Han dynasty, with a shall
by Dawsons Auctioneers
Est: £200- £3,000
£1200 Bids
Set of Four Old Chinese Jade Pieces for a Bronze Sword
Nov 14, 5:00 PM IST
Set of Four Old Chinese Jade Pieces for a Bronze Sword
by Alma Gallery
Est: $600- $800
$3000 Bids
Handmade Art Collector Collectible Pirate with Sword Bronze Sculpture
Oct 29, 1:00 PM EDT
Handmade Art Collector Collectible Pirate with Sword Bronze Sculpture
by OG Collections
Est: $550- $750
$2500 Bids
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HETIAN JASPER CARVED KNIFE
Oct 28, 1:00 PM EDT
HETIAN JASPER CARVED KNIFE
by Empire Auction House
Est: $800- $1,000
$5000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Swords


Fox Wood Auctioneer Inc

Fox Wood Auctioneer Inc

OG Collections

OG Collections

Annabel's Galleries Inc.

Annabel's Galleries Inc.

Merces Gallery LLC

Merces Gallery LLC