A Chinese fighting jian | Mandarin Mansion

A Chinese fighting jian

The Chinese straightsword or jian (劍) was the side arm of the Chinese literati. Their blades relatively wide and heavy compared to straightswords of other cultures, the Chinese jian has good thrusting and cutting abilities. Because they were made for a small elite, there were never many jian in production in China compared to weapons used by the military. Due to the popularity of the practice of taijiquan jian forms today, the demand for good antique jian creates steady demand for an already scarce item.

Today, most jian on the market are from the time when Chinese martial arts made their transition from fighting arts to health practices. As such, they are often of soft steel and not sharp. Actual fighting examples such as this one have become increasingly hard to find.

Overall length: 94.4 cm / 37.2 inch
Blade length: 77.8 cm / 30.6 inch
Thickness: forte 6 mm, middle 4 mm, near tip 2.5 mm
Weight without scabbard: 681 grams
Point of balance: 21 cm from handle side of guard

A very long and slender jian, of classic style, probably dating from the late 18th to first half of the 19th century. It comes with typical zoomorphic guard of a monster from whose mouth the sword appears. The ferrule and pommel are decorated with archaistic motifs of kui dragons, an ancient Chinese design that was re-popularized under the Qianlong emperor. It comes with a new, lacquered handle, all parts tight.

The blade has seven brass dots inlaid in the blade, representing the Big Dipper, an important constellation in Taoism. Blade in semi-polish showing its lamellar construction with a dark, hard high carbon edge plate sandwiched between layers of milder forge folded steel. The blade has seen action, there are some recesses near the center of percussion that suggest edge damage was polished out there in several occasions. No nicks or cracks. The blade is of good, springy temper and quite sharp. Various patches of pitting remain.

A rare chance to own an old fighting quality jian in classic fittings.


Interested? Further questions?
Contact: peter@mandarinmansion.com

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