20+ Chinese Sword Names And Meanings
The Chinese sword is a weapon with a long and rich history. It is an important part of Chinese culture and has been used in various ways throughout history. The Chinese sword, also known as “Jian,” is a double-edged straight sword that has been used for combat, as a symbol of power, and in various traditional ceremonies.
The Jian is a unique type of sword that has been used for thousands of years. It has a straight blade with two sharp edges and a pointed tip. The Jian is a versatile weapon that can be used for thrusting, cutting, and slicing. It is designed to be used with speed, precision, and agility.
what are Chinese sword called?
Chinese swords, also known as Jian, are among the oldest and most important weapons in Chinese history. They are known for their slender and straight shape, double-edged blade, and delicate balance that makes them easy to handle.
The term Jian refers to a variety of Chinese swords, including the Dao and the Jian itself. The Dao is a single-edged sword with a curved blade, while the Jian has a straight blade. There are many different types of Jian, each with its own unique characteristics and uses.
In addition to the Jian, there are also many other types of Chinese swords, such as the Dao, the Shuangshou Jian, and the Jin. The Dao is a single-edged sword that was commonly used by infantry soldiers during ancient battles. The Shuangshou Jian, also known as the “two-handed sword,” is a large and heavy sword that was used by Chinese soldiers during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The Jin, on the other hand, is a long and slender sword that was used by cavalry soldiers.
Overall, Chinese swords are an important part of Chinese culture and history. They are not only used as weapons, but also as symbols of strength, power, and honor. Today, Chinese swords continue to be admired and sought after by collectors and martial arts practitioners alike, who appreciate their elegant design, rich history, and cultural significance
what does Chinese swords history?
Chinese swords have a rich history that dates back to the Bronze Age (approximately 2000 BCE). The earliest Chinese swords were made of bronze and were primarily used for ceremonial purposes. However, by the time of the Warring States period (475-221 BCE), iron swords had become more common and were used as weapons of war.
Spring and Autumn Period/Warring States Period (500 BC – 350 BC)
During this period, the bronze sword had already reached its mature form. The earliest appearance of composite swords was also seen during this time. These swords were made using high-tin bronze for the blade and low-tin bronze for the spine, creating a sword with a hard edge and a flexible spine to prevent breakage. Additionally, copper sulphide was used extensively to prevent rust on the surface of the swords. The earliest iron and steel swords also emerged during this period. The world’s earliest metallurgy book, “Kao Gong Ji,” describes the copper-tin composition of bronze swords.
Warring States Period – Zhonghe/Wanqi (350 BC – 221 BC)
During this period, the steel sword became increasingly longer, exceeding one meter in length, with a longer handle that could be held with both hands. Bronze swords also became longer, reaching up to 80 cm in length, compared to the previous length of 60 cm.
Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 207 BC)
Bronze swords during this time reached a length of 90 cm, with long handles that could be used with both hands. Chromium oxide was widely used as a rust-resistant protective layer on bronze swords. This technology was first invented in 700 BC but was lost for over 2,000 years until the 1930s and 1950s when it was rediscovered by German and American scientists.
Han Dynasty – Early and Mid-Period (206 BC – 0 AD)
Steel swords during this time reached a length of 1.2 meters. The extensive use of bronze and steel knives and swords was seen, with steel knives being as long as steel swords. The introduction of composite steel (such as bao-gang jia-gang) and quenching technology marked the unique style of Chinese swords for the next 2,000 years. The repeated forging of steel technology (used to remove impurities and disperse carbon in steel more evenly) slowly matured, becoming the famous Baolian steel technology in the mid-Han Dynasty, which also became the unique style of Chinese swords in the next 2,000 years. The appearance of ring-pommel swords also occurred during this period.
Han Dynasty – Mid to Late-Period (0 AD – 220 AD)
Steel knives became widely used, and bronze and steel swords were phased out. The technology of repeatedly forging steel became mature, with the Thirty, Fifty, and Baolian steel technology representing the quality of the sword, with higher numbers indicating higher quality. This technology also spread to Korea. The earliest bronze and steel swords flowed into Japan. The earliest appearance of ray skin used to cover the handles of palace-used knives and swords also occurred during this period.
Early Three Kingdoms period to end of Sui Dynasty (220-618):
The technology of refining steel continues to be passed down.
The Chinese invented the technique of using burnt clay to quench blades and create blade patterns, likely during the Han-Sui period.
During the early Sui Dynasty, the first examples of sword shapes with a cut blade and high-quality steel appear.
The earliest imports of wootz damascus steel weapons from India and the Middle East.
Tang Dynasty (618-907):
During the Tang Dynasty, round or square-shaped handguards were first used.
The use of a ring on the hilt of a sword gradually fell out of favor during the Tang Dynasty.
Large quantities of Tang swords were exported to Japan.
Many skilled Chinese swordsmiths migrated to Japan, passing down Chinese sword-making techniques:
a) Composite steel (such as folded steel and sandwiched steel)
b) Sword shapes with a cut blade and high-quality steel
c) The technique of using burnt clay to quench blades and create blade patterns (known as “futu shaoren” in Chinese)
d) The technique of repeatedly forging steel, also known as “bailian gang” in Chinese.
Song Dynasty (960-1279):
Emperor Shenzong of the Song Dynasty established a department responsible for inspecting weapons and ensuring their quality. This department compiled the “Military Weaponry Manual” and distributed it to weapon inspectors as a reference.
In 1072, Emperor Shenzong promoted the use of a new type of weapon, the “zhanma dao” (literally, “horse-chopping sword”), to counter the iron-clad cavalry of northern enemies. The zhanma dao had a blade length of three feet and a hilt length of one foot, and was a two-handed weapon designed to cut through both enemy soldiers and their horses. This weapon was widely used throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties.
The use of a ring on the hilt of a sword became popular once again.
Expensive Japanese and Middle Eastern swords were imported into China and collected by wealthy officials, scholars, and merchants.
At the end of the Song Dynasty, Mongol armies invaded Japan twice, and their swords (many of which were made in China or Korea) were considered sturdier than Japanese swords. This inspired Japanese sword-makers to develop a new form of sword with a thicker back and larger cutting edge, known as the “new-style” Japanese sword.
Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368):
The Mongolian sabre entered China and became the basis for the “willow leaf” and “goose feather” sabres used by soldiers and civilians during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
The technique of making Damascus twistcore steel was introduced to China during the early Ming Dynasty, likely from Southeast Asian countries.
At the time, the use of burnt clay for quenching blades was not widespread, and swordsmiths often employed non-burnt clay quenching techniques.
During the middle and late Ming Dynasty, swordsmiths produced lower-quality weapons due to low wages and lax regulation. In the fight against Japanese pirates, Chinese swords were no match for the Japanese katana. General Qi Jiguang took strong measures and ordered swordsmiths to produce better-quality weapons.
A large number of Japanese swords were imported to China.
The Chinese sword was influenced by the Japanese sword and once again utilized the high-made sword shape invented during the Sui Dynasty.
Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644):
The technique of making Damascus twistcore steel was introduced to China during the early Ming Dynasty, likely from Southeast Asian countries.
At the time, the use of burnt clay for quenching blades was not widespread, and swordsmiths often employed non-burnt clay quenching techniques.
During the middle and late Ming Dynasty, swordsmiths produced lower-quality weapons due to low wages and lax regulation. In the fight against Japanese pirates, Chinese swords were no match for the Japanese katana. General Qi Jiguang took strong measures and ordered swordsmiths to produce better-quality weapons.
A large number of Japanese swords were imported to China.
The Chinese sword was influenced by the Japanese sword and once again utilized the high-made sword shape invented during the Sui Dynasty.
Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911):
During the reign of Emperor Qianlong, the quality of swords and other weapons used by the court’s Manchu and Han soldiers greatly improved, reaching a new peak compared to the late Ming Dynasty.
Emperor Qianlong ordered officials to compile a new court document, “Illustrations of Imperial Ritual Objects,” which explained the characteristics of the swords and sword accessories worn by various officials.
Emperor Jiaqing also ordered officials to compile a new book on weapons supervision, “Regulations and Examples of the Imperial Department,” which specifically described the swords and other weapons used by the military, their production methods, quality, materials, and more.
The “cow-tail” sword appeared in the late Qing Dynasty and was commonly used among the general population, as well as by military personnel.
During the Qing Dynasty and its later stages, firearms gradually replaced cold weapons in combat. Swords moved towards more ornate designs and were used as symbols of status and decoration, with their practicality reduced.
who invented Chinese swords were made?
The origin of the sword dates back to the time of the Yellow Emperor, Xuanyuan, according to historical records. According to the Biography of the Yellow Emperor, he cast a sword from the copper of Mount Shou and inscribed it with ancient astronomical characters. In addition, according to the Book of Master Guan, it is said that in ancient times, gold was unearthed from the Ge Tian Lu Mountains, which was then obtained by Chi You and used to make swords and armor. Regardless of who was the first to create the sword, it can be confirmed that it was born in the era of the Yellow Emperor. The Yellow Emperor built a temple in the year 4615 of the ancient Chinese calendar (around 2704 BC), when China was still in the early stages of using bronze tools and weapons. However, it is clear that the birth of the sword was extremely ancient and has a long history, hence it has been called the “ancestor of short-range weapons” by later generations, which is well-deserved.
chinese swords look like
The sword has been recorded since the Shang Dynasty as a type of short weapon. It has a small, flat tang and no guard. Ancient swords were made of metal, shaped like a long strip with a pointed front and a short handle, with two sides sharpened into a blade. The sword consists of the blade and the hilt, including the tip, point, edge, and spine of the blade, as well as the guard and tang of the hilt, with most swords having a pommel.
When the sword blade is attached to the hilt, it can be called a sword. Typically, it is accompanied by a scabbard, which is used to protect the blade and facilitate carrying. The ten famous swords in ancient China include Chengying sword, Chunjun sword, Yuchang sword, Ganjiang sword, Moxie sword, Qixing Longyuan sword, Tai’e sword, Chixiao sword, Zhanlu sword, and Xuanyuan Xia Yu sword. The Longquan sword from the Spring and Autumn period is said to have been forged by Ou Yezi and Bian Que, two great swordsmiths working together.
when Chinese swords were made?
Before the Spring and Autumn period, there were no iron swords in China. It was not until the birth of the master swordsmith Ou Yezi that the first iron sword in history, the “Longyuan Sword” (also known as the “Longquan Sword”), was forged, thus opening the way for cold weapons in China. Ou Yezi has long been considered one of the top swordsmiths, and his famous swords are unparalleled in China.
sword symbolism in Chinese culture
Despite the practical value and prestigious military status of swords only existing in the Bronze Age and early Iron Age, the influence of swords in Chinese traditional culture has never weakened. The culture of swordsmanship has developed into a symbol of martial arts, and has become a unique aspect of Chinese culture, especially when combined with the chivalrous culture.
Emperors used swords as symbols of their power and status
Swords were considered sacred, and ancient Chinese emperors all possessed treasured swords. The “Dao Jian Lu” records that “Emperor Qin Shihuang was in power for thirty-seven years and, in the year of Dingji in the third year, obtained copper from the north and cast two swords, each measuring three feet and two inches long.” He then “ordered Li Si to engrave the words ‘Ding Qin’ in small seal script and bury them separately under the eaves of the palace and under the observatory.”
In ancient times, treasured swords were not common, so when they were discovered, they naturally belonged to powerful and privileged rulers. The “Bing Lue Zhuan Wen” records that during the time when Sun Yan was living in seclusion in a valley, someone “offered him a treasured sword, but Sun Yan regarded the sword as something that should be presented to the emperor and used to execute those who disobeyed. As a minister of the state, he could not accept it privately.” This concept that famous swords should belong to the emperor was clearly influenced by the hierarchical etiquette of the time. The rulers obtaining treasured swords symbolized divine right and the power of kingship bestowed by heaven. For instance, Wang Mang, the Emperor of the Xin Dynasty, made a “divine sword” and carved “Winning Over Ten Thousand Miles” on it. Similar examples demonstrate that swords were considered a symbol of the divine right of kingship. Wei Qi Wang Fang cast a sword in the sixth year of the Zhengshi period, and often wore it, but it was lost for no reason and only an empty scabbard remained. “Later, this was considered as an omen of the abdication and was soon overthrown by the Sima clan.” This kind of thinking was never entirely eliminated in the entire feudal society of China. Swords became closely related to the relationship between emperors and the country and played a special role in predicting the rise and fall of dynasties and the state of the world.
Treasured swords represent the authority, dignity, and power of the emperor. They can serve as a symbol of the emperor or his power at certain times. Zhou Zhao Wang “cast five swords, each representing one of the Five Sacred Mountains,” while Han Wu Di “cast eight swords and buried them at each of the Five Sacred Mountains.” This had the intention of representing the emperor’s presence throughout the four corners of the world. “Sanfang Tu Hui” records that “only the imperial treasures are superior, and they are not to be played with,” indicating that treasured swords were exclusive to the royal family. “The Han emperor passed on the jade seal from Qin Wangzi Yin and the serpent sword that Gao Di cut” and Li Zhi’s poem states “In one day, the throne was surrendered, and the sword and seal were passed down endlessly.” All of these examples demonstrate that, as symbols, swords have been passed down from generation to generation.
The tradition of wearing swords was once prevalent in ancient China’s history
The fashion of wearing swords prevailed in ancient China, and with it came a clear hierarchy of social status. As early as the end of the Western Zhou Dynasty and the beginning of the Spring and Autumn Period, the trend of wearing swords was evident, with the decree of Duke Jian in the sixth year of his reign that his officials should start wearing swords. In 1973, a rare art treasure was discovered in a Chu tomb southeast of Changsha City, called the “Dragon-Patterned Silk Painting of Human Figures.” The painting is 37 cm long and 28 cm wide, with the central figure displaying a dignified and graceful demeanor, wearing a long sword at his waist. At that time, swords were mainly used for self-defense and dance practice.
After Liu Bang established the Han Dynasty, “everyone, from the emperor to officials, wore swords.” At that time, swords were not only used for self-defense, but also as part of the ritual system, representing a person’s heroic spirit. There were certain requirements for wearing swords, as Dong Zhongshu wrote in his “Chunqiu Fanlu”: “Swords are worn on the left, and knives on the right: with swords on the left, the image of the Azure Dragon is invoked.”
In the Han Dynasty, “only those attending court wore swords. During the Jin Dynasty, wooden swords were used, with the wealthy using swords with jade handles, while the poor used swords with red abalone, gold, silver, or decorated hat-tassels.” The use of wooden swords instead of iron swords was only for display and to distinguish social rank, and had nothing to do with defense. The purpose of wearing iron swords was clear, that is, to serve as a weapon for self-defense. In the “Liyi Zhi” section of the “Sui Shu,” various rules for wearing swords were established based on the official’s rank. For example, “For a first-rank official, a sword with a jade hilt is worn, while for a second-rank official, a sword with a gold-plated hilt is worn, and for a third-rank official or a state-conferring nobleman, a sword with a silver-plated hilt is worn. For a Duke, regardless of rank, a sword with a water-blue jade hilt is worn, while for a Viscount or a fifth-rank official, a sword with a similar decoration is worn. Those below the rank of attendant are given an imitation sword, and if they are in the imperial ancestral temple or in the imperial court, they must leave their swords outside. Only a first-rank official or a governor is allowed to wear two swords, while a state-conferring nobleman, a Viscount, or a fifth-rank official is only allowed to wear one sword.” From the perspective of wearing swords, social status was also clearly distinguished. For those who were not skilled in swordsmanship, wearing a sword was often a way to show off their social rank.
Wudang Sword (Sword is the Taoist tool for exorcising demons)
The sword was originally a necessary tool for Taoist ceremonies and celebrations within the Wudang sect. Wudang sword equipment was originally a borrowed peach wood sword, used in a specific environment as a Taoist activity tool by highly wise cultivators, engaged in so-called “exorcising demons and driving away evil spirits”, to “calm the body” or “settle its location”. Later, it evolved into a gift from a master to his disciple during their farewell ceremony, consisting of a whisk, a red string, and a sword, as a warning and reminder for the disciple to sever their worldly attachments. Once a Taoist cultivator is attached to worldly affairs and finds it difficult to let go, they recall the three-foot treasure sword gifted by their master, make a decisive decision, and sever their worldly attachments with a single stroke, devoting themselves wholeheartedly to the Tao, their spirit and mind become calm. Therefore, within the Wudang sect, the sword is a symbol of justice and a weapon for “slaying demons and driving away evil spirits”. During cultivation, the “exorcising heart demons” is inside, and the tangible sword is the external expression. From the outside to the inside, they are one and the same, with the body dancing and the sword waving, they naturally become one. In the eyes of Wudang Taoism, the sword has become a tool for exorcising demons and driving away evil spirits, and thus the pursuit of swordsmanship has become an indispensable aspect of Wudang faith.
Within Taoist Wudang Mountain, swordsmanship is of primary importance, as the Song Dynasty’s “Xuantian Shangdi Qisheng Lu” records: when Xuantian Zhen Emperor Jun traveled to the east of the sea, the Great Emperor Fengqian gave him a “Black Chi Qiu Jiao Breaks Demons’ Mighty Sword,” which he used to cultivate on the mountain, collecting and slaying demons. After many dangerous experiences, Xuantian Zhenwu Emperor Jun eventually arrived at the foot of Wudang Mountain, and found a hidden mountain there. He then entered the mountain, crossed the stream, and secluded himself in a specific location to cultivate. It is said that during the late Yuan and early Ming dynasties, Wudang founder Zhang Sanfeng took the characteristics of the “Black Chi Qiu Jiao Breaks Demons’ Mighty Sword,” and used iron from the mountainside to forge a sword, quenching it with water from the nearby Longquan spring, polishing it with sharpening stones, and after several years, the ancient “Wudang Dragon Gate” sword was completed. The seven golden stars on the sword, when encountering demons, would turn into tens of thousands of rays of light to suppress evil, hence its name “Seven Star Treasure Sword”.
The sword is regarded by literati as a symbol of temperament and character
Since ancient times, literati and swords have had an inseparable bond, expressed in their actions and written in literary works. The founder of Confucianism, Confucius, oversaw the revision of the “Six Arts” and specifically recorded the story of Tai Shi Yu wielding a sword to slay a dragon. Known as having “three thousand disciples”, Confucius had 72 individuals who were proficient in “martial arts”, with Zilu being described as “brave and skilled in swordsmanship” while wearing his battle dress.
The famous poet of the Song Dynasty, Lu You, wrote that he had spent ten years learning the sword and had become addicted to its courage and skill, carrying a sword with him as he traveled the world. Patriotic poet Xin Qiji’s “Sword Tactics and Military Strategy” still inspires the hearts of patriots today. The straight and honorable shape of the sword and its beauty and sacredness have often been used in literary poetry to metaphorically represent one’s unyielding moral character. The sword’s function of killing and destroying pointed directly at ministers who were not virtuous. For example, “After ten years of sharpening his sword, the frost-covered blade has not yet been tested. Today, I present it to you. Who has any grievances?” (Jia Dao’s “The Swordsman”), Wang Wei’s “Traveling three thousand miles with one sword, it has moved a million troops”, and Wang Jian’s “With a rotating sword, charging straight into the enemy cavalry, inch by inch turning the flag, trampling the corpses beneath” are all examples of how the mystery of the sword is intertwined with reality.
what were ancient Chinese swords made of?
The earliest known material for swords was copper, one of the most common metals. Copper swords were very soft and easily dulled. Later, swords were made of bronze, an alloy of copper and tin.
With the advent of iron, a better sword emerged. Later, people discovered steel. Steel is an iron alloy (ferrite) containing trace amounts of carbon (iron carbide), usually between 0.2% and 1.5%. Its advantages include high hardness, good flexibility, long-lasting sharpness of the blade, processability, and greater resistance to corrosion and rust than iron. A soft sword is made from a certain type of steel alloy material. In ancient times, soft swords were made of Burmese iron ore, which was forged using a secret technique to produce steel with excellent elasticity, commonly known as Burmese steel. In the late Qing Dynasty, the technique was lost, so later generations used spring steel instead of Burmese steel to make soft swords.
Soft swords are not suitable for hacking and stabbing, but they can cut. They can easily cut tendons and ligaments at the joints, and when swung, they move at a speed comparable to that of a whip. Even if a strike misses, the sword can be quickly repositioned for the next attack, making it difficult for opponents to defend against. Soft swords are used to sever the carotid artery and are capable of inflicting powerful blows. Normal armor does not protect the neck, so soft swords are very lethal.
what are Chinese swords used for?
Sword, as a “short weapon”, is one of the most common cold weapons in ancient China, known as the “king of a hundred weapons”. Not only martial arts enthusiasts like to carry it to wander around, literati also like to wear it to show their elegance. From kings, scholars, and heroes to merchants and common people, everyone is proud to hold a sword. The sword holds an important position in Chinese culture. The unyielding and sharp sword that can break but not bend has become a symbol of integrity and ethics: “Willing to swiftly strike the hearts of the righteous, and cut off the heads of the deceitful”. Now let’s take a look at the six major uses of swords in ancient China.
Combat is the earliest and most basic use of swords. Early swords were short and made of bronze. The sword of King Goujian of Yue, which has been handed down to this day, is a relatively short bronze sword. Swords were particularly popular in the Wu and Yue regions because both countries were located in a water network area, making it difficult for chariot warfare, and they were accustomed to close combat. Swords became the conventional weapon of the army. As for the Central Plains, chariot warfare was the main form of combat, and long-range archery and close-range spear fighting were the norm. Generally, such short swords were not used, but were mainly used for self-defense. After the Han Dynasty, swords gradually withdrew from the weapons stage, especially after the Tang Dynasty, where heavy weapons such as short blades became more prevalent, and the use of swords transformed from weapons to accessories for emperors, generals, and literati.
The use of swords in performances is a legacy and evolution of the martial arts culture that used swords in combat. In the book “Kongzi Jiayu” written by Wang Su of the Han Dynasty, it is recorded that Zilu once visited Confucius in military attire and danced with a sword. Sima Qian also wrote about how Xiang Zhuang borrowed a sword dance to entertain himself and assassinate Liu Bang at the “Hongmen Banquet” in the “Records of the Grand Historian.” It can be seen that sword dancing appeared very early in China. By the Tang Dynasty, sword dancing was popular, and the performance of artist Gong Sun Danni was unparalleled at the time, as evidenced by Du Fu’s poem “Watching Gong Sun Danni’s Disciple Dance with Swords.” During the reign of Emperor Wen of the Sui Dynasty, Pei Min’s sword dance, along with Li Bai’s poetry and Zhang Xu’s cursive script, were collectively known as the “Three Wonders.”
In fact, since the birth of swords, they have served as a type of accessory. During times of war, swords were used as weapons, but during times of peace, they were worn as accessories. Like jade ornaments, swords were a symbol of ancient gentlemen. The Book of Rites records that “one must carry a sword,” and the Book of Rites, Minor Rites states that “one should not ridicule a gentleman’s clothing, sword, or horse.” Clues can also be found in ancient poetry and literature. Qu Yuan wrote in his “Nine Songs – Crossing the River”: “On the land of Luli, I wear a long sword, and on the peak of Cuiwei, I wear a cloud-cutting hat.” “Changjia” refers to a long sword. Song Yu’s “Da Yan Fu” states: “The earth is square, and the sky is round. The long sword is upright, and beyond the sky.” Qu Yuan and Song Yu were both literary figures, not known for their martial prowess. The swords they wore undoubtedly served as protection, but they also had a certain accessory significance. By the Tang dynasty, short swords had replaced long swords in warfare, and the trend of wearing swords as accessories became increasingly prominent.
The “Tao Shi” in the Book of Rites records that the sword size and weight worn by the scholar class varied depending on their rank: “superior for upper-ranking scholars,” “moderate for middle-ranking scholars,” and “inferior for lower-ranking scholars.” Different levels of scholars wore swords with different specifications, and conversely, swords of different specifications naturally represented different degrees of authority. It can be seen that at the beginning of the emergence of swords, they were already closely related to power and authority. Cao Zhi once wrote a poem praising the Longyuan Sword, saying: “Beautiful jade produces a rocky mountain, and the precious sword emerges from the Dragon Abyss. When the emperor holds this sword, he wields power over a hundred barbarians.” The sword held by the emperor represents the authority of the emperor. Later, the Shangfang Treasure Sword emerged, further highlighting the symbolic power of the sword.
Warding off evil spirits
Warding off evil spirits is still a common use for swords today. Since ancient times, China has had a tradition of using swords and other weapons to ward off ghosts and spirits in homes. This practice can be traced back to the Han dynasty when the use of weapons to repel evil spirits was already prevalent. Later, Taoism became popular in China, and Taoism also emphasized the use of weapons to ward off ghosts and spirits. Taoist priests have always used the “Seven Star Sword” as a ritual tool. The sword is even used as a treasure to guard the door. The method used by Taoist priests to catch ghosts is to use a sword to perform rituals. Skilled Taoist priests can draw spells to seal the ghosts and then use a sword to end their lives.
types of Chinese swords/ancient Chinese sword types
When it comes to Han sword, the first thing that comes to mind is the ring-pommel sword. Han sword is the ancestor of Chinese war swords, and its biggest feature is that the end of the hilt is made into a flat round ring, hence also known as “ring-hilt long sword” or “ring-pommel sword.” Han sword is mostly a one-handed sword, with a short hilt, and without exception, a flat round ring is made on the outside of the hilt, hence the name ring-pommel sword.
As the last sword used on the battlefield, Han Jian occupies an irreplaceable position in the history of Chinese swords. Due to the development of iron smelting in the Han Dynasty breaking through the length limit of bronze swords, the Han Jian became increasingly light, thin, narrow and sharp. Its design embodies the style of the Qin and Han periods, giving people a sense of righteousness and dominance.
The Sui Dynasty was a unified dynasty that followed the Southern and Northern Dynasties and preceded the Tang Dynasty. The Sui Empire was once martial and mighty, and it conquered the four seas. Its Sui Dao is mainly a ring-pommel straight sword, with some retaining the shape of the Han to the Southern and Northern Dynasties. Compared to the swords of the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties, a small amount of Sui Dynasty swords have been excavated in archaeology, among which the most precious are the two Sui Dynasty long swords unearthed in Luoyang, Henan Province in 1929, now preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. These two swords are both single-edged straight bodies, with ring-pommels made of gilt bronze and decorated with gold and silver on the sheaths. They are currently the best preserved unearthed objects of Sui Dynasty swords and are extremely precious national treasures.
The Tang Dao can be said to be the pinnacle of China’s history of cold weapons. The Tang Dao is the general term for the four types of military swords in the Sui and Tang Dynasties, generally referring to the Tang horizontal sword but not specifically referring to any kind of sword. The Tang Dao is not only aesthetically pleasing in appearance, but also highly practical and durable in combat. The Tang Dao adopts the forging process of the Han sword’s “refined steel,” and improves the method of treating impurities in the steel during forging, and creates the technology of “folded steel,” making the Tang Dao hard on the outside and soft on the inside, with extremely strong toughness. The Tang Dao can split any armor or equipment.
Wearing a sword is not only a status symbol, but also a manifestation of martial spirit. Especially in the Tang Dynasty, the custom of wearing swords was prevalent throughout the court and the people. The Tang Jian is graceful and elegant in shape and easy to carry, and is deeply loved by the ancients and passed down to later generations.
Chinese Miao Dao:
Miao Dao is a traditional sword technique that combines the Japanese sword with the Chinese long sword created by Qi Jiguang, and is a well-known advanced weapon in the era of Chinese cold weapons.
Chinese Qing Dao was popular during the Qing Dynasty. This sword is a official sword system, and during the Qing Dynasty there was cultural exchange with many countries, so some swords have Indian, Turkish and Mongolian characteristics in appearance. The Qing Dao combines the characteristics of ancient and modern times, and gathers the essence of Chinese and foreign cultures, making it a classic that embodies ancient style, ancient fragrance and ancient charm
famous Chinese swords
Chinese famous swords include the following:
Also known as “Seven Star Longyuan Sword” or “Seven Star Sword”. Longyuan Sword is said to have been jointly cast by Ou Yezi and Gan Jiang, and it was born in the Chu State. When the Chu King heard the news, he specially named the lake where the sword was produced as “Jianchi Lake”. Later, it was worn by the famous general Wu Zixu. In the Tang Dynasty, to commemorate Longyuan Sword and avoid using the character “Yuan” in the name of Emperor Gaozu Li Yuan, it was renamed “Longquan” and the county where Longyuan Sword was produced was named “Longquan County”. “Longyuan Sword” became famous as “Longquan Sword”.
Jointly cast by Ou Yezi and Gan Jiang, the sword was born in the Chu State and was obtained by the Chu King, becoming a treasure sword of the state. The Jin State launched a war against the Chu State to seize the sword and besieged the Chu capital for three years. The Chu King personally wielded the sword and defeated the Jin army. Later, it became the sword worn by Emperor Qin Shihuang Ying Zheng, and it is said that Emperor Qin Shihuang took it into the imperial tomb as a burial item. Perhaps one day, we will be able to see the splendor of Tai’e Sword again.
A powerful sword jointly cast by Ou Yezi and Gan Jiang for the Chu King, made of iron and three feet long. After the sword was made, it had a unique appearance, with “carvings starting from the handle and ending at the spine, like pearls that cannot be strung together, and the engravings flowing like water without stopping”. The Chu King was overjoyed when he received it.
Zhanlu Sword, known as the “number one sword in the world”, was cast by Ou Yezi with bronze and tin at the request of the Yue King. It is said that Zhanlu Sword is invincible yet not murderous, and it is known as the “sword of benevolence and righteousness”. Zhanlu Sword was successively obtained by the Yue King Yun Chang, the Wu King Helu, the Chu King Zhao Wang, the Wu King Fuchai, the Yue King Goujian, the famous Tang general Xue Rengui, and the Song famous general Yue Fei. It has been famous throughout history.
The three-foot copper-tin sword crafted by Ou Yezi, worn by King Goujian of Yue, embodies the meaning of “unrivaled nobility.” Xue Zhu, the “number one sword master in the world,” was not impressed with the famous sword “Jue Que,” but was particularly fond of the Pure Jun Sword, saying that it surpassed a thousand horses, three wealthy towns, and two large cities.
Ou Yezi believed that the sword he crafted could vanquish evil, and that with each inch he forged, the power to do so increased. Thus, he named it the “Victory Over Evil Sword.” The sword was acquired by King Helu but was lost to history after his descendants died out, supposedly due to the sword’s influence.
Known as the “Sword of Valiant Heroism,” the Fish Intestine Sword was hidden in the stomach of a fish and presented to the Wu Prince Guang on the orders of Zhuang Zhu. When the time came, Zhuang Zhu drew the sword and stabbed King Liao of Wu. The guards attempted to stop him with their weapons, but the Fish Intestine Sword cut through them all, piercing the king’s body through three layers of iron armor. Guang succeeded Liao and became King Helu.
The Juque Sword is a heavy and sharp copper-tin longsword crafted by Ou Yezi, measuring three feet and three inches in length with a blade width of about five inches. When wielded, its sword energy is unleashed in all directions. Goujian pierced an iron pot with ease, cutting through it like slicing rice cake, and was able to “pierce copper cauldrons, break iron swords, and cut through thick wood as if it were rice chaff.” Thus, it was named the “Jue Que Sword.”
Unfortunately, apart from the “Longquan Sword,” the techniques used to craft these famous swords have mostly been lost. Today, the Longquan Treasure Sword is well-known and has been designated a national treasure by the Chinese government. However, the whereabouts of many other famous swords remain unknown. One well-known piece of news is that the Pure Jun Sword, which was discovered during the excavation of King Goujian’s tomb, is now on display at the Hubei Provincial Museum, though experts have called it the “Goujian Sword” to be cautious. Despite the passing of thousands of years, its sharpness remains undeniable.
Chinese sword list
- Three-foot sword: a general term for swords. Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu wrote in his poem “Chongjing Shaoling”: “Wind and dust three-foot sword, the guardian of the country wears the armor of war.” It is a term for swords because the length of the sword is commonly three feet. The “Annals of Emperor Gaozu” in the Han Dynasty records: “I used a cloth shirt and a three-foot sword to conquer the world.” Yan Shigu, a Tang Dynasty commentator, explained that “three feet” refers to a sword.
- Seven-foot sword: a term for ancient long swords. Li Yi wrote in his poem “Farewell to the Wei North Embassy Again”: “Flat war seven-foot sword, sealed inspection mud ball.” The “Beitang Shuchao” records: “The long sword is seven feet long.”
- Sharp sword: a general term for famous swords. The “Gongyang Commentary” records in the sixth year of Duke Xuan of Lu: “Zi’s sword is a sharp sword.”
- Treasured sword: a general term for swords. Wei Yingwu of the Tang Dynasty wrote in his poem “Traveling to Guangling”: “Returning to see the treasured sword, fame and fortune are not achieved in one day.”
- Wuyue Sword: refers to famous swords made in the Spring and Autumn period. The “Zhou Li·Dong Guan” records: “Zheng’s knife, Song’s axe, and Wuyue’s sword are not suitable for moving to Ping, because of the local terrain.”
- Seven-star sword: an ancient famous sword. The sword body is decorated with the Big Dipper constellation pattern near the hilt, hence the name. “Wuyue Chunqiu” records: “Wu Zixu passed by and gave his sword to a fisherman, saying; there is a Big Dipper constellation pattern on this sword, and it is worth a hundred gold.”
- Cross-shaped short sword: a type of double-edged short weapon. The sword is more than two feet and four inches long, made entirely of iron, with a spine on the sword body. The sword is shaped like a rhombus, with a cross-shaped tip 17 cm above the sword tip. One side of the protruding sword bends slightly downward, while the other side bends downward and outward. The cross sword has a spine, and both sides are sharp. The handle of the sword is flat, covered with a semi-circular hardwood, making the grip round. There is an iron ring at the end of the sword handle for tying a colored silk, and there is a blade guard on both sides of the grip, slightly tilted upward at the guard. When used, each hand holds one sword, and the cross-shaped sword can be used for stabbing, hooking, and cutting.
- Ganyue Sword: refers to the excellent swords made by ancient Wu and Yue. Zhuangzi wrote in “Ke Yi”: “Those who have the Ganyue Sword, keep it hidden and dare not use it, it is a treasure to be obtained.”
- Shangfang Treasured Sword: a popular term for the Imperial Sword. It refers to the emperor’s designated treasured sword, which can be conferred upon ministers, giving them the power to make proposals in court.
- Ziwu Yuanyang Jian: A type of double sword. The sword is three feet long with a flat blade, one and a half inches wide at the bottom and eight inches wide at the top. The sword has two pointed edges that slope upwards on each side, and the entire body looks like a saw blade. The tips of the two swords are different: one is a semi-circular ring shape like a crescent moon with the tips pointing outward, while the other is also crescent-shaped but has a protruding spear-like head in the middle. The handle of the sword is flat with a wrapped cloth strap, a round iron handguard, a crescent-shaped guard on one side that is thin and sharp, and a double-edged spear-like tip at the end. The sword is razor-sharp on all sides.
- Kunwu Jian: An ancient sword name, also known as Kun. It belongs to this type of sword. Originally, the sword had a sharp edge on one side and was pointed at the front. Later it evolved into a blade with ridges and edges on both sides in the front half, while the back half was flat without ridges or edges. The handle of the sword is relatively long and can be held with both hands.
- Wooden sword: A sword made of wood, also known as Ban Jian or Xiang Jian. It began to be used as a ceremonial sword during the Jin Dynasty. According to the “Biography of Prince Shuling of Chen Shixing” in the “History of the Southern Dynasties”, when the crisis came, Shuling ordered his attendants to bring him a sword, but they did not understand, so they brought him the wooden sword he wore as part of his ceremonial attire.
- Jade-headed sword: A sword with a jade-decorated head. See “Jade Equipment Sword Section” for reference.
- Jade Equipment Sword: A sword with a jade head and part of the handle made of jade. According to the “Han Shu · Xiongnu Zhuan”, the emperor granted him a crown, belt, clothes, and a sword with jade equipment. Tang dynasty commentator Yan Shigu explained that Meng Kang said, “The sword’s guard and pommel are all made of jade.” The guard is the part of the sword next to the hilt that protrudes to the side, while the pommel is the tip of the sword.
- Duoming Long: A special code word for swords used in the military during the Five Dynasties period. According to the “Qingyi Lu · Wuqi · Xiao Qunxun” of the Song Dynasty, when King Jian of the Former Shu rebelled at the beginning of the Five Dynasties, the military referred to knives as “Xiao Qunxun” and swords as “Duoming Long.”
- Yangjia Mountain Iron Sword: The earliest known iron sword in China. It was unearthed from a tomb in the late Spring and Autumn period in Yangjia Mountain, Changsha, Hunan. The sword is 38.4 cm long, 2-2.6 cm wide, and 0.7 cm thick.
- Shangfang Zhanma Sword: “Shangfang” or “Shangfeng” refers to the sword given by the emperor to his officials as a symbol of the highest power. According to the “Book of Han, Zhu Yun Biography”, during the reign of Emperor Cheng of Han, the Prime Minister, Marquis of Anchang, Zhang Yu, was highly respected and was given the Shangfang Zhanma Sword. When asked who it was for, he replied, “Marquis of Anchang, Zhang Yu.” Tang Dynasty scholar Yan Shigu explained that the Shangfang Sword was a type of sword used by the officials in the Imperial Household Department, which was responsible for supplying and managing the emperor’s personal items, including the Shangfang Zhanma Sword, which was sharp enough to cut horses. It can be referred to as the Shangfang Sword or the Shangfang Zhanma Sword.
- Shangfang Sword: A general term for the swords used by the emperor. It is a symbol of the highest power. See Shangfang Zhanma Sword.
- Fu Sword: A sword carried by ancient people. According to the “Strategies of the Warring States, Qi”, they sent the Grand Marshal with 1,000 jin of gold, three horses with decorative harnesses, one Fu Sword, and a letter of thanks to Mengchangjun.
- Chi Jia: A type of sword with a serrated edge. Left Si’s “Wu Du Fu” poem says, “Mao Qun uses the serrated corners as narrow spears.” It is also called Jiao Jia.
- Divine Sword: 1. Refers to a sword with supernatural powers. According to the “Book of Jin, Liu Yao Zai Ji”, two boys entered and presented a sword, bowed down, and left. When viewed under a candle, the sword was two feet long with an inscription on the back that read, “Divine Sword Yu, it eliminates all poisons.” Liu Yao accepted the sword and it changed colors according to the seasons. 2. A famous ancient sword. In “The Record of Ancient and Modern Swords”, Tao Hongjing of the Liang Dynasty wrote, “Emperor Xiaowu of the Liang Dynasty buried a sword with an inscription that read ‘Divine Sword’ on the top of Mount Hua in the first year of the Dayuan period, in official script.”
- Sleeve Sword: A type of short sword with a longer handle and a shorter blade that is less than 1 foot and 2 inches in total length. The blade is hidden at the end of the handle, which is hollow and has a spring mechanism. The sleeve sword can be concealed in the sleeve and can be drawn out by pressing a button to release the blade.
- Ban Sword: A wooden ceremonial sword with decorative patterns that was popular during the Western Jin Dynasty and was known as the “elephant sword” during the Southern Dynasty. According to the “Book of Song, Music and Instruments, Four”, “The heroic spear clears the way, and the Ban Sword wings high on the carriage.” In “The History of the Song Dynasty, Yuan Jie Biography”, when Emperor Taizong was dying, Yuan Jie and Chu Yuan received a command to provide twenty Ban Swords and a group of musicians to play the drums.
- Tangxi: an ancient famous sword. It was named after the Tangxi region (now southwest of Wuyang County, Henan Province) where the sharp swords were produced during the Warring States period. “Chu Ci · Nine Laments · Remorse” describes it as “holding the Tangxi sword to cut the weeds, and wielding it to cut the flesh.” Liu Xie’s “New Discussions on the Tao” says, “The Tangxi sword is the best sword in the world.” It is also used as a general term for swords.
- Yue Sword: a sharp sword made in the ancient Yue state. Liu Xie’s “New Discussions on the Tao” says, “The Yue Sword is sharp, and it must be tempered on an anvil to become blunt and heavy.”
- Xiang Sword: another name for the Ban Sword. During the Southern Dynasty, it was used as a ceremonial sword and was called the Xiang Sword. See the Ban Sword entry for more information.
- Short Sword: a type of sword with a shorter blade and smaller guard. The handle is cast from wrought iron, and there is a round ring at the end.
- Yilong Sword: a type of sword with a dragon-shaped pattern on the blade, hence its name. It does not have a tassel, and its main techniques include chopping, thrusting, piercing, lifting, pointing, collapsing, striking, intercepting, and wiping.
- Short Cha: a type of sword, also known as Cha. Zhang Xie’s “Inscription on the Short Cha” says, “There are also short chas, which are shiny and bright.” See the Long Cha entry for more information.
- Chu Sword: a sharp sword made in ancient Chu. “Shuo Yuan” says, “King Zhao of Qin sighed during court and said, ‘The Chu Sword is sharp, and the bravest warriors are from there. However, their tactics may be foolish and impractical. I fear the Chu will plot against us.'” Zhang Dong’s poem says, “The Wu Hook is as bright as the moon, and the Chu Sword is as sharp as frost.”
- Waist Sword: a short sword used for decoration during the Tang Dynasty. Song’s “Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio” says, “Tang swords are slightly shorter and are often worn around the waist, called waist swords.”
- Lei Ju: an ancient sword name. The wooden handle is decorated with jade ornaments in the shape of buds. It was called Lei Ju. “Book of Han · Jun Buyi Zhuan” says, “Buyi wears a crown and a sword with a Lei Ju. Jin’s Zhuo comments, “The ancient long sword head is shaped like a deer in a well made of jade, with a wooden mountain carved on top, like a lotus bud just blooming. Today, the wooden handle of the large sword is similar in shape.”
- Yi Ethnicity Wave Sword: A type of short sword originating from the Qing Dynasty. The blade is wide and becomes slightly narrow near the tip. The body of the sword has a flame or wave-like shape, with twists and turns on the left and right sides, especially at the lower part of the blade. The blade is over two feet long, with a handle length of five and a half inches, and the handle and sheath have no fixed form. The tang and guard are slightly cross-shaped, with an additional straight guard on one side of the handguard. The handle end is circular with a small tower-shaped pointed top. The entire handle is made of steel and has three animal shapes deeply engraved on the blade, crouching or running, with a star-shaped pattern alternating between them.
- Shaolin Long Sword: The total length is three feet and four inches, with a handle length of six inches and two parts. It was used for martial arts training and self-defense by monks and warriors during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
- Shaolin Green Dragon Sword: The total length is three feet and three inches. It was used for martial arts training and self-defense by monks and warriors throughout history.
- Double Swords: One of the double weapons, two swords are combined to look like one. The sword guard of the double swords is divided into halves, and the side facing each other is flat, making the two swords appear as one. Unlike single swords, both sides of the double swords have ridges, and the handle end of each sword is equipped with a single sword tassel. The double swords share the same sheath.
what swords did the Chinese use?
The Chinese used a variety of swords throughout their history, with different types and styles depending on the time period and the intended use. Some notable examples include:
Bronze Jian: This was a type of double-edged sword made of bronze that was used during the Shang and Zhou dynasties (1600-256 BC).
Iron Jian: This was a type of double-edged sword made of iron that was used during the Warring States period (475-221 BC) and beyond.
Dao: This was a type of single-edged sword that was used during the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) and beyond. It was often used by cavalry and infantry.
Jian: This was a type of double-edged sword that was used during the Han dynasty and beyond. It was often used by scholars, officials, and nobles as a symbol of their status and education.
Dao (Miao Dao): This was a type of long, curved single-edged sword that was used by the Chinese military in the late Qing dynasty (1644-1912).
These are just a few examples, and there are many other types and variations of Chinese swords that were used throughout history.
what were swords used for in the bronze age?
Bronze Age swords were primarily used as weapons for close combat, particularly for slashing and thrusting. They were often the weapon of choice for elite warriors and high-ranking individuals, as they were expensive to produce and required specialized training to use effectively. In addition to their practical use in warfare, bronze swords also had symbolic and ceremonial significance, serving as status symbols for their owners and as offerings to gods and ancestors. In some cultures, such as in ancient China and Greece, bronze swords were also used in ritualistic sacrifices and burials.
how to make a Chinese sword?
The process of making a traditional Chinese sword involves several steps, and it requires a skilled blacksmith with a deep understanding of metallurgy and the art of sword-making. Here is a general overview of the process:
Material selection: The blacksmith selects high-quality steel and other metals for the sword’s blade, hilt, and fittings.
Forging the blade: The blacksmith heats the steel in a forge and uses a hammer to shape it into a long, flat blade. This process is repeated several times, and the blade is gradually shaped and refined.
Annealing: The blade is heated to a high temperature and then allowed to cool slowly, which relieves the stress caused by the forging process and makes the metal more malleable.
Shaping the blade: The blacksmith uses a grinding wheel and other tools to shape the blade’s edge, point, and profile.
Quenching: The blade is heated to a very high temperature and then plunged into a liquid (often oil or water) to cool it rapidly. This process hardens the steel and gives the blade its sharpness.
Tempering: The blade is reheated to a lower temperature and then allowed to cool slowly. This process makes the blade tougher and more resilient.
Fitting the hilt: The blacksmith attaches the hilt (handle) and other fittings to the blade, often using a combination of soldering and riveting.
Polishing: The blade is polished to a high shine, which not only enhances its beauty but also removes any rough spots or imperfections that could compromise its performance.
The process of making a Chinese sword is highly complex and requires a great deal of skill and experience. It can take weeks or even months to create a single sword, and each one is a unique work of art.
Masters of Swordsmithing
Since ancient times, the works of Ou Yezi, the renowned master swordsmith in Chinese history, have continuously appeared in literary works of various dynasties. From the simple and majestic Han poetry to the sharp and prominent Tang poems, and even during the decline of the nation in the late Qing dynasty, Ou Yezi’s swords such as Longyuan and Zhanlu still remain as cherished treasures and the epitome of spiritual pursuit for poets throughout the ages.
Ou Yezi gained fame through his skill in swordsmithing, and his swords made him an immortal legend in Chinese history. Living during the transitional period between the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, when bronze casting had reached its pinnacle and the use of iron tools was just beginning, Ou Yezi immersed himself in the flourishing metallurgical industry. He learned the craft from his maternal uncle at a young age and gradually gained great reputation. Kings from various states sought his services to forge their precious swords.
Ou Yezi, whose name should be pronounced as “Qu Yezi” according to ancient pronunciation, lived in the southern part of ancient Yuezhou, which is present-day Yandang Mountains in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province. He gained fame by crafting swords for the kings of Wu and Chu, making significant contributions to the iron weaponry of the Yue and Chu armies. Legend has it that Ou Yezi’s renowned swords include Qixing Longyuan, Tai’e, Gongbu, Juque, Yuchang, Chunjun, and Shengxie. Another famous sword associated with him is the unparalleled Zhanlu.
Lady Xu, with the surname Xu, was a person from the state of Zhao during the late Warring States period. Although called “Lady,” she was indeed a skilled male swordsmith and excelled in forging fine daggers. It is said that she forged the dagger used by Jing Ke to assassinate the King of Qin. This dagger was capable of cutting through gold and jade, making it the chosen weapon for the assassination. Lady Xu’s craftsmanship and her connection to the historic event of Jing Ke’s bravery ensured her lasting place in history.
Gan Jiang and Mo Ye
Gan Jiang, a fellow disciple of Ou Yezi, was a master swordsmith during the late Spring and Autumn period. His wife, Mo Ye, worked alongside him, and the two were equally renowned. They were commissioned to forge swords for King Helü of Wu, resulting in a pair of swords known as Ganjiang and Moye. The swords forged by Gan Jiang were not pure bronze but incorporated a significant amount of iron, a new element in sword-making at the time. With the unique characteristics of iron weaponry, it can be inferred that Gan Jiang’s swords were lighter and sharper, highly admired by people of that era. The famous Seven-Star Longyuan sword forged by Gan Jiang and Ou Yezi for the King of Chu also contained iron elements.
Zhang Ya Jiu
A thousand years after the death of Ou Yezi, Zhang Ya Jiu was gifted with divine knowledge. This is described in the poem “Ya Jiu Jian” by the famous Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi. This led to the rise of Zhang Ya Jiu, a renowned swordsmith during the mid-Tang Dynasty. His most famous work is the Ya Jiu sword, which was forged in the Wu Mountains, borrowing power from the heavens and the sun.
There are not many historical records about Zhang Ya Jiu, but the poet Yuan Zhen and Bai Juyi, who were good friends in history, had special descriptions of the Ya Jiu sword. It can be speculated that Yuan Zhen and Bai Juyi might have known Zhang Ya Jiu personally. The Ya Jiu sword gained great fame as the most renowned swordsmithing masterpiece in the Great Tang Empire.
Tao Hongjing was a famous scholar, Daoist, alchemist, and pharmacist during the Southern Dynasties period. Besides these notable roles, Tao Hongjing was also renowned as a master swordsmith, the most famous in the history of the Southern Dynasties. He founded the Maoshan sect and compiled a genealogy of Daoist immortals, which encompassed over 3,000 celestial beings, holding significant historical importance. Tao Hongjing authored numerous scriptures and medical works, and he was honored as the Prime Minister of the Mountains and posthumously appointed as the Grand Physician by Emperor Wu of Liang.
Tao Hongjing was especially skilled in sword appraisal, able to discern the quality of famous swords throughout the realm with just a glance. Moreover, he forged thirteen famous swords for Emperor Wu of Liang, gaining the emperor’s favor.
Feng Huzi, a famous master of sword appraisal and swordsmith during the Spring and Autumn period of Chu, is known for his expertise in sword appraisal. It is rumored that he wrote the Sword Catalog, commenting on renowned swords such as Longyuan, Gan Jiang, Tai’e, Gongbu, and others. He gained the trust and favor of the King of Chu. However, historical records regarding his own swordsmithing are scarce, with only legends remaining.
Gong Sun Ye
Gong Sun Ye is said to be the legendary swordsmith who forged the ancient famous sword Chixiao. Blending hundreds of precious gemstones from all over the world and spending eight years, Gong Sun Ye finally crafted this extraordinary weapon that would be remembered by history. It is said to be an essential sword for emperors. Liu Bang, the founder of the Han Dynasty, wielded this legendary sword to suppress the White Snake Rebellion, ultimately establishing the powerful Han Empire. Gong Sun Ye’s name is forever recorded in history thanks to this majestic sword.
Origin of famous swords in Ancient China
Xiangyang is a historical birthplace of swordmaking in China, with a tradition of swordsmithing dating back to the Spring and Autumn period. Notable swords from Xiangyang include the “Qu Yuan Sword,” “Double-Section Staff Sword,” and “Male-Female Sword.” Among them, the famous “Qu Yuan Sword” is said to have been forged by Qu Yuan himself during his exile. Legend has it that Qu Yuan threw the sword into the Miluo River when he drowned himself, and it was later retrieved by a fisherman, becoming a renowned sword.
Anyang is another major center of sword production in Chinese history, with a tradition of swordsmithing dating back to the Warring States period. Notable swords from Anyang include the “Heaven Reliant Sword” and the “Dragon-Slaying Sword.” Among them, the famous “Heaven Reliant Sword” is a weapon from Jin Yong’s novels and is acclaimed as the “Sword of the Martial World.”
Nanchong is a hometown of swordmaking in Chinese history, and notable swords from Nanchong include the “Seven-Star Sword” and the “Green Dragon Sword.” Among them, the renowned “Seven-Star Sword” is a Ming dynasty sword said to have been crafted collaboratively by seven master swordsmiths.
Shaoxing is a birthplace of swordmaking in Chinese history, and notable swords from Shaoxing include the “Snow Lotus Sword” and the “Night Illuminating Sword.” Among them, the famous “Snow Lotus Sword” is a sword from the Song dynasty and is esteemed as the “Sword of the Martial World.”
Mount Tai, Shandong
Mount Tai is a homeland of swordmaking in Chinese history, and notable swords from Mount Tai include the “Longyuan Sword” and the “Taigong Fishing Sword.” Among them, the famous “Taigong Fishing Sword” is a Tang dynasty sword, said to be the sword used by Taigong while fishing.
The Longquan Sword
Longquan City in Zhejiang Province is renowned as the land of the treasured Longquan Sword. The production of Longquan Swords is believed to have originated during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, making them over 2,600 years old. The folklore surrounding Ou Yezi, the master swordsmith, is widely circulated among the people. Longyuan was the original name of the Longquan Sword. According to legend, during one instance when Ou Yezi was quenching a sword in water, a “five-colored dragon pattern” and the likeness of the Big Dipper appeared. The place where the swords were forged was then called “Longyuan,” and the swords were referred to as “Seven-Star Longyuan Swords.” In the Tang Dynasty, to avoid using the character from the name of the dynasty’s founder, Emperor Gaozu Li Yuan, the character “yuan” was changed to “quan.” Therefore, the swords became known as “Seven-Star Longquan Swords.”
Chinese sword fighting
Chinese sword fighting refers to the various styles and techniques of using swords in Chinese martial arts. Chinese swordsmanship is deeply rooted in Chinese culture and history, with a long tradition that dates back to ancient times.
Chinese swords, also known as jian, are characterized by their straight, double-edged blades and their delicate balance. The techniques used in Chinese sword fighting include thrusting, cutting, and blocking, as well as a variety of specialized techniques such as the flicking of the wrist to deflect an opponent’s attack.
There are many different styles of Chinese sword fighting, including tai chi sword, daoist sword, and wudang sword. Each style emphasizes different techniques and philosophies, and each has its own unique approach to swordsmanship.
In addition to being a martial art, Chinese sword fighting is also considered a form of art and cultural heritage. Many famous Chinese literary works, such as the classic novel “The Water Margin,” feature sword fighting scenes, and the Chinese sword is often depicted in traditional Chinese art and literature.
The sword techniques mainly include chopping, hacking, smashing, lifting, parrying, washing, intercepting, stabbing, stirring, pressing, hanging, and sweeping. Its characteristics are a combination of hardness and softness, with ease of movement, graceful and agile, just like the saying in martial arts that “the sword is like a flying phoenix”. It can be described as a beautiful art form in motion.
Today, Chinese sword fighting remains popular both as a martial art and as a cultural tradition, with many schools and instructors teaching the various styles and techniques to students around the world.
famous Chinese swordsman
The story of “Jing Ke’s assassination of Qin” is well-known, and its protagonist is Jing Ke. Jing Ke was the most famous assassin in the Warring States period, and he was also a controversial figure. Most people called him a brave anti-tyranny warrior, but a minority of people said that he was a second-rate assassin who cheated for food and drink. Regardless, Jing Ke eventually accomplished the feat of assassinating Qin, and even though the final assassination failed, he became famous for generations, leaving behind the tragic poem “The wind is bleak, the water is cold, and the hero is gone, never to return.”
Speaking of Jing Ke, let’s talk about another swordsman at the end of the Warring States period, Gai Nie. There are very few records about Gai Nie in history, only a story about Jing Ke and Gai Nie discussing swordsmanship is recorded in “Shi Shu.” The book records that when Jing Ke and Gai Nie had a big disagreement about swordsmanship, Gai Nie stared at Jing Ke angrily with his wide-open eyes, which frightened Jing Ke, and he hurriedly ran away. This shows that in addition to his superb swordsmanship, Gai Nie’s pair of fierce “leopard head, ring eyes” was also a great weapon.
Yue Girl, as the name suggests, is a woman, but this is not her real name. She is a mysterious woman mentioned in “Wu Yue Chun Qiu” who was consulted by the king of Yue about swordsmanship and passed on her martial arts skills to the army, which eventually led to the successful defeat of the Wu state. Because the author Zhao Yu didn’t know her real name, she was only recorded as a Yue girl, and her image has been passed down to this day.
Xiang Zhuang is known as the “number one swordsman in the Chu state,” and he was the cousin of Xiang Yu. The most famous story about him is “Xiang Zhuang dances his sword, intending to kill Liu Bang.” However, according to historical records, Xiang Bo protected Liu Bang under the guise of helping him with his sword, and it is unknown whether Xiang Zhuang was afraid of hurting his uncle or really lacked the skill to complete the task of killing Liu Bang, which is a bit of a shame for the title of “number one swordsman.”
Many people have never heard of the name Chong Da. He was an early Western Han dynasty general and was known as the “Western Han Sword Saint” at the time. Later, he was appointed as the Marquis of Qu Cheng, and most people called him Qu Cheng or Marquis Qu Cheng, so most people are unfamiliar with Chong Da. Chong Da was good at thrusting with his sword and became famous for it. The poet Ruan Ji in the Three Kingdoms period wrote in his “Yong Huai” poem, “The youth learned swordsmanship and surpassed Qu Cheng,” which shows that Chong Da’s swordsmanship was superb and has deeply touched the hearts of later generations.
Cao Pi wrote a book called “Dian Lun,” which records a swordsman named Wang Yue. The book tells the story of Cao Pi’s experience of not studying swordsmanship. He claimed that his swordsmanship was passed down from Shi A, and Shi A learned from Wang Yue. Therefore, Wang Yue is Cao Pi’s martial arts ancestor.
Gong Sun Danniang
Gong Sun Danniang is not the mother of Gong Sun Ce or Gong Sun Sheng. She is a peerless beauty who is good at singing and dancing in the Tang Dynasty. Not only does she not age, but she is also a beautiful swordswoman. She dances with a sharp sword instead of a fan or long sleeves. This kind of dance is called “sword dance.” It is said that her “sword dance” is not only graceful but also carries a strong sense of strength.
There should be no one who does not know the poet Li Bai. Li Bai’s Tang poetry is well-known to all, and his love of alcohol is widely spread. In addition to these, Li Bai is also a swordsman, and his swordsmanship is first-class. In “Letter to Han Jingzhou,” he mentioned that he was “fifteen years old and good at swordsmanship, and competed with all the feudal lords.” In the preface to “Li Hanlin Collection,” it is even said that he was “young and chivalrous, and killed several people with his own hands,” which shows that Li Bai had real skills.
As mentioned above, Li Bai was mentioned, and it is impossible not to mention Pei Min, who was known as the “Sword Saint.” According to records, Pei Min was Li Bai’s master, and Li Bai could rank among the top ten swordsmen, naturally including this “Sword Saint” Pei Min. Emperor Wen of Tang praised Pei Min very highly, and once ordered that Li Bai’s poems, Zhang Xu’s cursive script, and Pei Min’s sword dance be collectively known as the “three unique things of the Tang Dynasty,” which shows that his swordsmanship is not just empty talk.
Wang Yansheng was a founding general of the Northern Song Dynasty. He successively served the Later Tang and Later Jin regimes before choosing the right side in the Chenqiao Incident and supporting Zhao Kuangyin as emperor. Since then, his future has been bright. His swordsmanship is recorded in “Biography of Wang Jianer” in “Song History,” which states that he was “cruel and strong, and good at swordsmanship,” and his nickname was “Wang Jian’er.” Although it does not describe how superb his swordsmanship is, it fully shows that he is a “sword fanatic.”
Chinese sword dance
Chinese sword dance is a traditional form of dance that involves the use of a sword as a prop. It has a long history in China and is still performed today in various settings such as cultural events, martial arts competitions, and theatrical performances. The dance involves intricate movements of the sword, often accompanied by music and other forms of traditional Chinese dance. It is considered both a form of art and a demonstration of skill and bravery, as the performer must maintain balance and control while wielding a sharp blade. The origins of the Chinese sword dance are not entirely clear, but it is believed to have originated from ancient martial arts practices and has evolved over time into a unique form of dance that is both beautiful and impressive.
sword at Chinese funerals
The funeral hall should not place any treasures or weapons of violence, including swords. Instead, it should display the deceased’s portrait and offerings of incense and candles. The atmosphere should be solemn and respectful, as any lack of reverence would be a great disrespect to the deceased.
A burial sword, or a sword buried together with the deceased, was a custom in ancient times. People liked to carry swords in life, and after death, they would be buried with the sword they used. This is why many ancient swords have been unearthed from excavated tombs. While most burial swords from ancient times were not problematic, a few were believed to bring bad luck and were considered a sign of impending death for the living.
Chinese sword in feng shui
Many friends in life are fond of collecting sword-like items and like to place them in their homes during housewarming or new home construction, in order to dispel evil spirits, attract wealth, and maintain peace. Swords can suppress evil spirits and have the effect of warding off bad luck in feng shui. However, from a feng shui perspective, the effect of placing a sword at home is two-sided: the positive effect is to ward off evil spirits and protect the home, while the negative effect is to accumulate negative energy, causing the owner to have excessive metal energy and many unwarranted disasters. Feng shui swords can be divided into several types according to their materials: steel sharp swords, money swords, peach wood swords, etc., and their placement methods naturally differ according to their different materials and meanings.
Steel Sharp Swords
Swords are not only artistic and ornamental, but also have a deterrent effect in feng shui. However, because swords are also weapons with the information of injury and disaster, it is important to use the correct method when placing them in the home.
Swords should not be placed in the bedroom, let alone hung above the bed, because weapons have a strong negative energy that can disturb sleep and are very dangerous for children.
Swords are suitable for placement in the entrance or study of a home.
Swords are suitable for placement in the entrance of a home, or on the left wall when entering a study, and it is best to place them on a shelf on the left side of the living room. The position of the Green Dragon is suitable for placing swords, and it is strictly forbidden to place them in the White Tiger position on the right.
Swords should not be hung up, but placed horizontally with a sword stand.
Swords should not be hung up, but must be placed horizontally, and the sword head should not face seating or sleeping positions. A sword stand must be used when placing swords in the home. Place the sword stand horizontally on a table so that the sword does not convey negative energy. If hung up, there is a risk of the sword falling and injuring someone.
If there is no suitable placement position or if only hanging swords are collected, they must be hung in the entrance of the home with the tip of the scabbard one meter above the ground. When hanging a sword, there should be no other calligraphy, paintings, or decorations. In addition, bookshelves can be placed on the opposite wall where the sword is hung, but it is not advisable to place other furniture such as cabinets. There should also be no statues of gods or Buddhas.
Swords used for feng shui must have spiritual energy.
In theory, swords have the ability to ward off evil spirits and influence feng shui. However, in practical applications for adjusting feng shui, swords must have spiritual energy in order for their effects to be apparent. Spiritual energy can come from various sources, such as master craftsmanship, excessive killing, famous master blessings, and fortuitous opportunities.
The placement of swords for suppressing negative energy depends on the individual situation.
Most people place swords to ward off negative energy, but the type of negative energy must be analyzed first, and different methods must be used to resolve different types of negative energy. It is not advisable to blindly use swords to suppress or dispel negative energy.
The Money Sword is handcrafted using ancient bronze coins and silk threads. The best time to make it is at noon on May 5th of the lunar calendar. It is made by stringing 108 bronze coins together and then blessing it. In Taoism, the Money Sword is used by Taoist priests to capture ghosts and subdue demons, and some folk Taoist temples use it to ward off evil spirits. It can also be hung in front of a residence to ward off evil and block negative energy.
The Money Sword has higher artistic and ornamental value and has the effect of attracting wealth, driving away evil spirits, and dispelling yin energy in Feng Shui. Its effect varies depending on its placement. As the Money Sword is also a sharp weapon and carries the message of disaster and injury, it is important to use it correctly when placing it in a home.
- The Money Sword is an item used to ward off evil spirits. It is best not to hang it if there are no ghosts in the house or if the Feng Shui is correct.
- The Money Sword has the function of attracting wealth. If it is hung in the wealth position of a study or living room, it can attract wealth. However, it is forbidden to place the Money Sword in the kitchen or in a position facing the kitchen, as this can lead to loss or dispersion of wealth.
- The Money Sword has a strong killing aura. If it is placed randomly in a bedroom, kitchen, or dining room, it can affect the health of family members and increase the likelihood of external injuries.
- If there are Feng Shui problems in a house, such as external killing energy or shooting from the corners or edges of walls, the Money Sword can be hung in a position facing the door or window to resolve the negative energy.
- If there are frequently ghosts in the house, hanging a Money Sword can ward off evil spirits. However, it should be handled with care and hung with the sword tip pointing downwards in a position where the negative energy is present.
- When hanging the Money Sword, it is essential to first ask a Taoist priest to measure the auspicious position with a compass to avoid harming the homeowners or neighbors.
Peach Wood Sword
In Chinese folklore, peach wood has always been an important tool for warding off evil, and the peach wood sword is also a popular Feng Shui treasure for dispelling evil and attracting good luck. Although the peach wood sword belongs to the same category of Feng Shui tools as the money sword, it mainly serves to ward off evil spirits and ghosts. If a house is located near a funeral home, cemetery, or other places with heavy Yin energy, hanging a peach wood sword in the home is the best choice. A peach wood sword with the Big Dipper constellation carved on the blade is even more effective in dispelling evil and ghosts, and it is best to pair the sword handle with a red tassel.
Since the peach wood sword is a tool for protecting the home, it must be hung correctly:
- Choose an auspicious time to hang the peach wood sword.
- The peach wood sword can solve Feng Shui problems such as a front door facing a road or a wall corner, and can also dispel the harmful energy of windows facing chimneys, water towers, buildings, gas stations, and temples.
- Hanging a peach wood sword is suitable for homes or shops that have encountered sinister events, have rooms where blood has been shed, are located close to funeral sites, or have long-term patients with undiagnosed illnesses. It can be hung on the living room wall facing the front door or on the wall facing the window to ward off ghosts.
- If you have frequent nightmares at night, you can place the peach wood sword under your bed.
- The peach wood sword can also dispel Peach Blossom Sha, and placing it in the Peach Blossom position can break the negative effects of excessive romantic encounters and opposite-sex harassment.
The specific Peach Blossom position varies depending on the person’s zodiac sign:
(1) For those born in the Year of the Rat, Dragon, or Monkey: the Peach Blossom position is in the west.
(2) For those born in the Year of the Horse, Dog, or Tiger: the Peach Blossom position is in the east.
(3) For those born in the Year of the Rooster, Ox, or Snake: the Peach Blossom position is in the south.
(4) For those born in the Year of the Rabbit, Sheep, or Pig: the Peach Blossom position is in the north.
The peach wood sword must not be placed on or below metal objects. As a pure wooden product, the peach wood sword is subject to the Five Elements Cycle, where metal restrains wood. Therefore, it cannot be placed together with metal objects, especially not above or below them.
The specific hanging positions for the peach wood sword are as follows:
(1) Hang it on the middle of the door.
(2) Hang it on the wall where the door can lean against when opened.
(3) Hang it on the east wall of the living room at a similar height as a regular clock. The orientation and direction of the sword should be based on the actual situation.
Remember: the peach wood sword belongs to the category of tools for protecting the home, and it should not be hung on the bedroom wall or placed in an infant’s bedroom.
Actually, in addition to its ability to ward off evil spirits, peach wood swords also have the ability to ward off malicious people and resolve love entanglements in feng shui. Mr. Jiang Qun will explain the different uses of peach wood swords and their corresponding usage methods.
I. Warding off evil spirits
Peach wood swords are objects for warding off evil spirits. If your home is often unlucky or accidents happen frequently, you should hang the sword on the wall directly opposite the entrance, slanting it with the sword tip facing downwards and the tip of the sword within 1 to 1.5 meters from the ground. If you have hung the peach wood sword for several years and your home has been running smoothly, you can store it in the bottom of your wardrobe or a clothes box.
If there are evil things happening in your home or shop, bloodshed in a room, or the place is near a funeral home, or there is a long-term undiagnosed illness in your home, it is suitable to hang a wooden sword on both sides of the main door to ward off evil spirits. You can hang it on the living room wall directly facing the front door or on the wall facing the window.
If you have nightmares at night, you can place the peach wood sword under the bed. Do not place it at the head of the bed, as the sword has a strong killing power and may hurt you. Also, do not place the peach wood sword in the bedroom if there are babies or pregnant women.
II. Resolving bad luck
Peach wood swords can solve feng shui problems such as facing the front door, road, or wall corners, and can also resolve the bad effects of windows facing chimneys, water towers, buildings, gas stations, etc.
III. Resolving malicious people and love entanglements
Peach wood swords can be used to resolve malicious rumors and love entanglements. You can hang the sword by the window. “Xuanyang Pavilion’s Malicious People Resolving Bag” contains a small peach wood sword that can be hung on the desk or office table with the entire bag, which can resolve malicious rumors without affecting your image.
As an important feng shui item, peach wood swords need to be blessed and consecrated properly. If you need this service, you can contact Mr. Jiang Qun directly and make an appointment for him to personally bless it.
IV. Daily precautions
- It is best to store the peach wood sword when there are babies or pregnant women in the house.
- Do not place the peach wood sword too high.
- The tail of the sword should not face places where people frequently move, but can face the ground or wall corners.
- Do not face the sword towards a deity.
- Do not face the sword towards the toilet.
Chinese sword in Yin and Yang
In Chinese culture, the sword is often associated with the concepts of Yin and Yang. The Yin represents the soft and gentle aspect, while the Yang represents the strong and assertive aspect. Therefore, the sword is seen as a symbol that balances these two opposing forces.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the sword is also used as a tool to diagnose and treat illnesses. Practitioners use the sword to detect and remove blockages in the body’s energy channels, known as meridians.
Additionally, in feng shui, the Chinese sword is believed to have the power to protect against evil spirits and negative energy. It is often hung in homes or placed in specific areas to ward off bad luck and promote good fortune.
Overall, the Chinese sword holds a significant cultural and spiritual meaning in Chinese society and is valued for its symbolic and practical purposes.
Chinese sword in the five elements
In traditional Chinese culture, the five elements (metal, wood, water, fire, and earth) are believed to represent different aspects of the natural world and are associated with different symbolic meanings. The Chinese sword can also be associated with the five elements, as follows:
Metal: The Chinese sword itself is often made of metal, and its sharp edge is associated with the metal element. In Chinese culture, metal is associated with strength, sharpness, and determination, all of which are qualities that the sword embodies.
Wood: The handle and scabbard of the Chinese sword are often made of wood, which is associated with the wood element. Wood is associated with growth, flexibility, and vitality, and these qualities are important for any martial artist or sword practitioner.
Water: The fluid movements of sword fighting are often associated with the water element. Water is associated with flexibility, adaptability, and flow, and these qualities are also important for sword practitioners.
Fire: The energy and passion of sword fighting can be associated with the fire element. Fire is associated with strength, courage, and creativity, all of which are qualities that a skilled swordsman must possess.
Earth: The earth element is associated with stability, grounding, and endurance. These qualities are important for any martial artist or sword practitioner, as they must be able to maintain their balance and stay focused even in the midst of intense combat.
Overall, the Chinese sword can be seen as a symbol of balance and harmony between the five elements, as well as a representation of the martial arts and the skilled practitioners who use them.
Chinese sword in Taoism
Swords have had an inseparable relationship with Taoism for thousands of years, and a typical image of a Taoist includes a Taoist robe, topknot, long beard, and long sword. It is a Taoist’s dream to use the sword to eliminate violence and promote goodness. In Taoist ritual activities, the “sword” is a divine object for subduing demons, and in Taoist consciousness, the “sword” represents “Dharma.”
- Firstly, the sword is the basis of self-defense in Taoism. Traditional Chinese martial arts are often divided into “Wudang in the south, Shaolin in the north,” and Wudang Sword and Shaolin staff have naturally become the representatives of the southern and northern styles of Chinese martial arts, respectively. Wudang Sword is a lightweight weapon, with techniques mainly consisting of hooks, hangs, points, picks, stabs, flicks, and chops. Practitioners are required to carry the sword with them, and to integrate the sword with their body, their qi, and their spirit when using it.
- Secondly, for Taoist disciples, swords also represent righteousness and determination. Therefore, we often see in TV dramas that young Taoists going on a journey or their masters will give them a treasure sword, intending to remind them of the Taoist spirit. If they encounter worldly attachments, they should act decisively and cut off the dust of the world. Thus, the sword has become a necessary item for Taoists on their travels. Because of the sword’s special status in Taoism, many Taoist immortals are called “sword immortals,” such as Lu Dongbin, one of the Eight Immortals and one of the Five Northern Patriarchs. “Sword immortal” has also become a school of Taoism, and later someone created the novel “Shushan Jianxia Zhuan” (Legend of the Sword Heroes of Shushan) and adapted it into a movie, which became widely known.
- Thirdly, the sword also represents the governance of a country. In Zhuangzi’s “Nanhua Jing,” it was mentioned as the “Emperor’s Sword,” where Zhuangzi said, “The sword of the emperor, using Yanxi Stone City as its point, Qidai as its edge, Jin and Wei as its spine, Zhou and Song as its blade, Han and Wei as its clip, wrapped by the four barbarians, surrounded by the four seasons, entangled by Bohai Sea, and bordered by Changshan, controlled by the Five Elements, discussed by punishment and virtue, opened by Yin and Yang, held by spring and summer, and moved by autumn and winter. This sword is unparalleled, invincible when lifted, and irrefutable when closed. It can break through the floating clouds and cut off the earth’s marks. Once this sword is used, all the lords will submit, and the world will be peaceful. This is the emperor’s sword.” The sword itself is neither good nor evil, and good and evil lie in the heart of the person wielding it. Even the best sword will be of no use without a kind and benevolent heart, so Taoism says “the ultimate way has no adversary.”
- Lastly, swords are used to subdue demons in many Taoist stories.In the history of Taoism, there are many stories of Taoist priests wielding swords to subdue demons, the most famous of which are probably the stories of Xu Jingyang slaying a dragon with his sword and Master Jingming Xu Zhenshi also slaying a dragon. These stories are well-known to most people.
In Wu Zeng’s “Neng Gai Zhai Man Lu” written during the Southern Song Dynasty, there is a special record of the story of “Xu Jingyang making an iron pillar to suppress a dragon”: “During the Jin Dynasty, Master Xu Zhenshi was appointed as the magistrate of Jingyang. At that time, a dragon was causing havoc in Jiangxi province. Jingyang and his disciple Wu Meng fought it with their swords and eventually made a large iron pillar to suppress it.”
The sword used by Master Xu Zhenshi to slay the dragon also has a mythical origin, which was obtained from a divine being. In the “Jingyang Xu Zhenshi Biography” by the Taoist master Gao Dao Bai Yucan, it is recorded: “Once, Xu Zhenshi was resting in Xinlin when suddenly five young girls appeared, each holding a treasure sword to offer to him. Xu Zhenshi was amazed and accepted them.” The disciples of Master Xu Zhenshi once said of this magical sword: “My master’s sword can split the heavens, crack the earth, distort the stars, reverse the rivers, and no evil can withstand it. It is a precious treasure of divinity.”
Unfortunately, after Master Xu Zhenshi, the whereabouts of this sword became unknown. According to the Tang Dynasty writer Zhang Zhuan in his book “Chao Ye Qian Zai,” the sword was hidden in the water and later found by a fisherman: “A fisherman caught a stone in his net, and it made a loud noise. When he struck it, the sound could be heard for dozens of miles. During the Tang Dynasty, Prince Zhao was the governor of Hongzhou. He broke open the stone and found a pair of swords, one with Xu Jingyang’s name and the other with the name Wan Ren.”
Chinese sword in Confucianism
During the Han Dynasty, the culture of respecting Confucianism was very popular in Chinese society. According to traditional beliefs, not only should people conduct themselves in a proper and upright manner, but even their swords should be held in a dignified manner. The Han sword had a straight blade with two curved arcs extending from it, and was simple when sheathed but sharp and striking when unsheathed. The Han sword accurately represents the gentle, courteous, and rounded internal style of Chinese Confucian culture.
The saying “the sword is the weapon of a gentleman, used for self-defense” reflects this principle. After the Han sword, Chinese swords began to develop in the direction of decoration and martial arts, and completely withdrew from the battlefield.
When the sword is sheathed, it is not a weapon for killing, and it is very inconspicuous and can even be deeply hidden from sight. However, once the sword is unsheathed, it whistles with killing intent and can strike down enemies from ten paces away without any hesitation.
Confucian culture is hidden in the Han sword: a true martial arts master is not arrogant, and those who are arrogant are often not true masters. This is the Confucian culture of China, which embodies the philosophy of “hiding” and “revealing”.
The sword is not only a defensive weapon, but also an artwork and collectible. Even during the Song Dynasty, when scholars valued scholarship over physical prowess, many intellectuals still hung a sword in their study to show the integration of literature and martial arts. There are countless poems and writings that praise the sword in ancient Chinese literature. The earliest known sword poem comes from the ancient poem “On the Mulberry Road”: “The Lu sword at my waist, worth a thousand pieces of gold.” Many literati also developed an inseparable bond with swordsmanship.
Chinese sword in Buddhism
In the transmission of Buddhist culture, the sword and knife are also weapons of Buddhism used for cutting and slashing. According to the Baibaokou Chao Biliyunjialuo Fa, “The knife is a tool for eliminating the thieves, and the staff is also used for this purpose.” Therefore, as a tool for holding, the knife has the function of subduing evil thieves.
The common deities who hold knives include the gods of the four heavenly kings, the dragon kings of the eight great dragons, such as Angara dragon king. The gods of the four heavenly kings, including the god of the state and the god of growth, hold the knife in their left arms, while the Angara dragon king, one of the 28 attendants of Guanyin, holds a dragon in his left hand and a knife in his right hand. In addition, the vajra envoy and the military tea Li Ming queen also hold knives as their tools.
The sword is a weapon with a smooth line, a ridge in the middle, and a blade on both sides. According to the Baibaokou Chao Budongfa, “The sword is the pure Bodhi mind and wisdom body. It can subdue heavenly demons and external paths, and internally kill all sentient beings’ ignorance, afflictions, delusions, and obstacles.”
Therefore, as a tool for holding, the sword can not only subdue external paths but also represents a pure Bodhi mind. The most influential deities who hold swords are Vajrapāṇi and Acala.
Vajrapāṇi emits a golden light all over his body, holding a lotus in his left hand and a sword in his right hand, symbolizing the subjugation of all demons and the elimination of sentient beings’ afflictions. Acala has seven braids on his head, holds a simple in his left hand, and a sword in his right hand, symbolizing the cutting of afflictions and evil demons to make sentient beings convenient and free.
In addition, the deities who hold swords also include Manjusri, Mahasukhavati Bodhisattva, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, Akshobhya Bodhisattva, Prajna Paramita Bodhisattva, Vajriputra Bodhisattva, Mahavairocana, Subduer of Three Existences, Nanda Dragon King, Upasnada Dragon King, Seven Tathāgatas, Shakyamuni Buddha, Indra, Brahma, Mara, Asura, gods of growth, Rakshasa, etc.
double-edged sword idiom
“The meaning of “double-edged sword” is a sword with blades on both sides, used to describe the dual nature of something, which can have both positive and negative effects. A single-edged blade is a knife, while a double-edged blade is a sword. In ancient times, the sword was considered a superior weapon and a symbol of military commanders. People admired the sharpness of the sword because it could give the wielder a sense of power, courage, and chivalry, making the enemy fearful, and it had a strong killing power.”
Sword and gourd
Sword and gourd are both important cultural symbols in Chinese culture.
The sword, or jian in Chinese, has a long history and is considered one of the four major weapons in ancient China, along with the spear, the bow, and the battle-axe. The sword has been used for both practical purposes, such as for self-defense and in warfare, as well as for symbolic purposes, such as in traditional Chinese martial arts and in ceremonies. The sword is also associated with certain deities and heroes in Chinese mythology and folklore, such as the God of War Guan Yu, who is often depicted holding a large jian.
The gourd, or hulu in Chinese, is also an important symbol in Chinese culture, representing good luck, longevity, and prosperity. The gourd is a type of fruit that grows on vines, and in Chinese mythology, it is said to contain the elixir of life, which grants immortality to those who drink it. The gourd is also associated with the Daoist sage Laozi, who is often depicted carrying a gourd, which is said to contain his magic elixir. In addition, the gourd is often used as a decorative object in Chinese art and is also used in traditional Chinese medicine to hold and store herbal remedies.
The sword and gourd are sometimes paired together as complementary symbols, representing both the power and strength of the sword, as well as the nourishing and life-giving properties of the gourd. Together, they are often used as auspicious symbols in Chinese art, literature, and culture.
Chinese sword vs Japanese sword
Chinese and Japanese swords have distinct differences in terms of their design, history, and cultural significance. Here are some of the key differences:
- Design: Chinese swords are generally straight and double-edged with a pointed tip, while Japanese swords have a curved blade and a single-edged cutting edge.
- Material: Chinese swords are usually made of high-carbon steel with a hard edge and soft back, while Japanese swords are made of a specific type of steel called tamahagane, which is created by smelting iron sand and charcoal together.
- Historical context: The Chinese sword has a longer history, with archaeological evidence dating back to the Bronze Age, while the Japanese sword evolved during the Heian period (794-1185).
- Cultural significance: In Chinese culture, the sword was a symbol of power and authority, used by officials, generals, and warriors. It was also associated with martial arts and the concept of chivalry. In Japanese culture, the sword was seen as a sacred object, with a spiritual essence known as “ki” or “chi”. It was also used as a symbol of samurai honor and loyalty.
- Combat style: Chinese swordsmanship emphasizes speed, agility, and versatility, with techniques such as the “wind and fire wheels” and “flicking the whip”. Japanese swordsmanship, on the other hand, focuses on precise strikes and parries, with techniques such as the “draw cut” and “thrusting thrust”.
Overall, both Chinese and Japanese swords have their own unique features and cultural significance, and are important parts of the respective martial arts and traditions in each country.
Chinese sword vs katana
Chinese swords and katanas (Japanese swords) have distinct differences in terms of design, construction, and usage.
Chinese swords typically have a straight blade with a double-edged point, while katanas have a curved blade with a single-edged point. The curvature of the katana blade allows for more efficient slicing and cutting motion, while the straight blade of the Chinese sword is better suited for thrusting and stabbing.
Chinese swords are usually made of harder steel with a higher carbon content, resulting in a sharper and more durable blade. Katanas, on the other hand, are made with a softer steel core, surrounded by harder, more brittle steel. This allows for a sharper edge, but also makes the blade more susceptible to damage.
Chinese swords were traditionally used for a variety of purposes, including military, martial arts, and ceremonial occasions. Katanas, on the other hand, were primarily used by samurai warriors in feudal Japan. The katana was an essential weapon in close combat and was often paired with other weapons, such as the wakizashi (short sword).
In summary, while both Chinese swords and katanas are formidable weapons, they have distinct differences in design, construction, and usage. The straight blade of the Chinese sword is better suited for thrusting and stabbing, while the curved blade of the katana is more efficient for slicing and cutting. The construction and usage of the two swords also differ significantly.
Chinese sword vs saber
Chinese sword and saber are both important weapons in Chinese martial arts and have been used in Chinese history for centuries. While they have some similarities, there are also some notable differences between the two.
The Chinese sword, also known as Jian, is a straight, double-edged sword with a blade typically between 70-90cm in length. It has a very thin blade and a narrow point, which makes it suitable for thrusting and quick, precise movements. The Jian is known for its speed and agility, and its use requires a high level of skill and precision.
On the other hand, the Chinese saber, also known as Dao, has a single-edged curved blade, typically between 60-100cm in length. The Dao is heavier and more powerful than the Jian, making it suitable for slashing and chopping. The curved blade allows for more effective cuts and is particularly effective against opponents wearing armor.
In terms of techniques, the Jian is primarily used for quick thrusts and precise cuts, while the Dao is used for more powerful and sweeping strikes. The Jian is often associated with elegant and flowing movements, while the Dao is associated with more direct and forceful techniques.
Overall, both the Jian and Dao have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and their effectiveness depends on the skill of the wielder and the situation in which they are used.
Chinese sword vs blade
The term “blade” is quite broad and can refer to any type of edged weapon, including swords. Therefore, it’s not really a comparison between two distinct types of weapons like the Chinese sword and the saber.
However, if we consider the Chinese straight sword, which is a type of Jian, and compare it to the curved saber, which is a common type of sword in many cultures, including China, we can highlight some differences.
The Chinese Jian has a straight, double-edged blade, and a guard with a circular or rectangular shape. It is primarily a thrusting weapon but can also be used for cutting. The blade is typically made from high-quality steel, with a sharp point and a balanced weight distribution. The Jian is often associated with elegance and grace in Chinese culture and is considered a symbol of martial arts mastery.
On the other hand, the saber has a curved blade that is typically single-edged, with a guard that curves with the blade. The curved design allows for a more efficient cutting motion, making it a powerful cutting weapon. Sabers are often associated with cavalry and military use and have been used in various cultures throughout history, including China, Europe, and the Middle East.
In terms of fighting style, the Jian is known for its quick and agile movements, and its ability to perform complex techniques, such as binding and trapping. The saber, on the other hand, is often used with sweeping and slashing movements, taking advantage of the curved blade’s design to deliver powerful strikes.
Overall, while both the Chinese sword and the saber have their unique advantages and characteristics, they are suited for different combat situations and styles.
Chinese sword vs European sword
Chinese sword and European sword have significant differences in their design, construction, and usage.
Design: Chinese swords usually have a straight blade, while European swords have a curved blade. The Chinese sword typically has a single edge, while European swords often have a double edge. The Chinese sword also often features a guard to protect the hand, while European swords usually have a complex hilt with a guard, pommel, and grip.
Construction: Chinese swords are typically made of a single piece of metal, while European swords often have a blade and hilt made separately and then attached. Chinese swords were traditionally made using a process called “pattern welding,” in which different types of steel are layered together to create a strong and flexible blade. European swords, on the other hand, were often made using a technique called “fullering,” in which grooves are added to the blade to reduce weight and increase flexibility.
Usage: Chinese swords were often used in martial arts and for self-defense, while European swords were primarily used for warfare. Chinese swordsmanship emphasizes agility, speed, and precision, with movements designed to flow smoothly and fluidly. European sword fighting, on the other hand, involves more aggressive and forceful movements, with an emphasis on power and strength.
In summary, while both Chinese and European swords have their unique characteristics and purposes, they differ in terms of design, construction, and usage.
dream of sword meaning
- Dreaming of a treasure sword implies that you will be threatened and face danger or conflict.
- If a woman dreams of a sharp sword, thieves or robbers will visit her residence.
- Dreaming of carrying a treasure sword indicates that you have a special talent or ability, or you will receive support from friends.
- If you dream of stabbing someone with a sword, it suggests that you will be attacked by enemies. You should be vigilant and take precautions.
- If you dream of someone else stabbing you with a sword, it indicates that your troubles will pass, and you will have unexpected gains. Your career will develop, and you will live a happy and pleasant life.
- Dreaming of giving a sword as a gift suggests that you will be promoted, hold a high position, and have good luck in your career.
- If someone else gives you a sword in a dream, or hands you a sword, it suggests that you will be promoted, appreciated by higher-ups, and have power and status.
- If a businessman dreams of receiving a treasure sword as a gift, it indicates that he will defeat his competitors and have a prosperous business.
- If a soldier dreams of someone giving him a sword, he will receive a higher military honor.
- Dreaming of snatching a sword from someone’s hand indicates that you have the ability to solve chaotic situations, ward off enemy attacks, and overcome difficulties.
- If you dream of a sword inserted in a scabbard, it suggests that you will receive important help when needed.
- If you dream of a sword hanging on the wall, it indicates a happy and peaceful life.
In conclusion, the Chinese sword is an important part of Chinese culture and history. It has been used for thousands of years and has many variations, each with its own name and unique characteristics. Whether used for combat, as a symbol of power, or in traditional ceremonies, the Chinese sword remains an iconic part of Chinese culture.