Lot 43: Chinese Long Iron Sword (Jian) with Bronze Guard
27 October 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
China, Qin Dynasty, ca. 220 to 206 BCE. This is a beautiful example of a long, thin sword, known as a jian, with an iron blade and tang and a sloping, trapezoidal guard. The original shape of the sword is evident, with a low spine evident along most of the length of the blade. The jian was a double-edged, light, straight sword first made in the Spring and Autumn Period (7th century BCE). This one comes from the Qin Dynasty, the time of the famous terracotta warriors, when the First Emperor had strong control of ancient China. It is a one-handed version, with a blade nearly at the limit of the longest blades they made for the jian. In Chinese folklore, the jian is known as the "Gentleman of the Weapons". This sword was made by three plate construction (known as sanmei). A core of hard steel (iron and carbon) was sandwiched between two plates of softer steel, with the central plate protruding slightly to allow for a sharp edge. This is a really gorgeous ancient Chinese weapon, one of the nicest I have seen from the Piscopo collection, which was one of the finest collections in the US! Size: 33.5" L x 2.2" W (85.1 cm x 5.6 cm)
Ancient Chinese Weapons, pp. 100-101, 4-128-130.
Provenance: Ex-Estate of John Piscopo. Mr. Piscopo was one of the largest collectors of ancient weapons in the US with a collection that spanned all cultures, all ages.
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Condition Report: Corrosion and patina to the iron and bronze, but the shape is clear.