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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Originally made of bronze, and later of steel and iron, the first Chinese swords are thought to have been made during the Shang Dynasty over 3,000 years ago.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 SWORD (DAO) WITH SILVERED IRON MOUNTS, QING DYNASTY, 19TH CENTURY
Jun 26, 11:00 AM BST
A CHINESE SWORD (DAO) WITH SILVERED IRON MOUNTS, QING DYNASTY, 19TH CENTURY
by Olympia Auctions
Est: £500- £800
£2602 Bids
战国 青铜错银神面纹剑 Warring States, Gilt Silver Ribbed Sword with Mask Motifs
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
战国 青铜错银神面纹剑 Warring States, Gilt Silver Ribbed Sword with Mask Motifs
by Gianguan Auctions
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$8001 Bid
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Chinese Zhou Dynasty bronze short sword blade, 1046 BC – 256 BC
Jun 22, 11:00 AM EDT
Chinese Zhou Dynasty bronze short sword blade, 1046 BC – 256 BC
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $5,000- $10,000
$2001 Bid
Chinese Carved & Polychrome Bone Sword & Scabbard on Stand
Jun 22, 11:00 AM EDT
Chinese Carved & Polychrome Bone Sword & Scabbard on Stand
by Fontaine's Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $600
$3000 Bids
Crystal Sword, Yuan Dynasty, China
Jun 14, 6:00 PM EDT
Crystal Sword, Yuan Dynasty, China
by Hotspot Auctions
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$2000 Bids
† AN IRON AND SILVER REPOUSSÉ CEREMONIAL SWORD AND SCABBARD
Jun 28, 11:00 AM CEST
† AN IRON AND SILVER REPOUSSÉ CEREMONIAL SWORD AND SCABBARD
by Galerie Zacke
Est: €1,500- €3,000
€1,5000 Bids
A Chinese Bronze Sword
Jun 22, 9:00 AM EDT
A Chinese Bronze Sword
by Charlotte's Auctions
Est: $1,500- $1,800
$3000 Bids
Imperial Ceremony Tai Dao, Qing Dynasty, China
Jun 16, 7:00 AM PDT
Imperial Ceremony Tai Dao, Qing Dynasty, China
by DotDot Art Gallery Inc
Est: $12,000- $15,000
$2,0000 Bids
Pair of Metal Prop Buddhist Short Butterfly Swords
Jun 26, 12:00 PM EDT
Pair of Metal Prop Buddhist Short Butterfly Swords
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
蒋中正剑 Chiang Zhongzheng Sword
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
蒋中正剑 Chiang Zhongzheng Sword
by Gianguan Auctions
Est: $800- $1,500
$2500 Bids
LARGE FRAMED CHINESE HAND CARVED SWORD WITH JADE
Jun 14, 1:30 PM PDT
LARGE FRAMED CHINESE HAND CARVED SWORD WITH JADE
by Auction Plus, Inc.
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$8000 Bids
硕大古青玉浮雕螭龙剑 A Very Large and Fine Ceremonial Celadon Jade Qilin Sword
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
硕大古青玉浮雕螭龙剑 A Very Large and Fine Ceremonial Celadon Jade Qilin Sword
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Est: $4,000- $5,000
$1,5000 Bids
A CHINESE SWORD (DAO), QING DYNASTY, 19TH CENTURY
Jun 26, 11:00 AM BST
A CHINESE SWORD (DAO), QING DYNASTY, 19TH CENTURY
by Olympia Auctions
Est: £300- £500
£1400 Bids
A chinese double short sword (Jian)
Jun 20, 10:00 AM CEST
A chinese double short sword (Jian)
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €400- €600
€4000 Bids
Short sword, China, around 1900
Jul 02, 5:00 PM CEST
Short sword, China, around 1900
by Tiberius Auctions
Est: €80- €120
€400 Bids
A Chinese bronze sword, Eastern Zhou, 5th - 3rd century B.C.
Jul 08, 10:00 AM CEST
A Chinese bronze sword, Eastern Zhou, 5th - 3rd century B.C.
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€4800 Bids
A small Chinese jian, 1st half of the 20th century
Jul 09, 9:00 AM CEST
A small Chinese jian, 1st half of the 20th century
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€1200 Bids
Two Chinese jian, 19th and 20th century
Jul 09, 9:00 AM CEST
Two Chinese jian, 19th and 20th century
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€2400 Bids
Three Chinese jian, 19th and 20th century
Jul 09, 9:00 AM CEST
Three Chinese jian, 19th and 20th century
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€4000 Bids
A Chinese double sword, circa 1900
Jul 09, 9:00 AM CEST
A Chinese double sword, circa 1900
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€2400 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Swords


Hermann Historica GmbH

Hermann Historica GmbH

Gianguan Auctions

Gianguan Auctions

Lawsons

Lawsons

Olympia Auctions

Olympia Auctions