I am excited to offer for sale most certainly the most ancient sword I have ever hand the privilege to own. A Chinese Cast Bronze Two Ring Jian Shortsword, which comes from almost certainly from the earliest part of the Eastern Zhou dynasty, the “Spring and Autumn” period (771 – 476 BC), but can be no later than the “Warring States” period (475 – 221 BC). The earliest bronze Jians found during the Zhou period have blades a mere 28 – 46 cm long. These short stabbing weapons were used as a last defence when all other options had failed. By the late “Spring and Autumn” period Jian blades had lengthened to around 56 cm in overall length. My sword blade measures just 44 cm long and 4 cm across at the shoulder, narrowing gradually down to 3cm as it approaches the blade tip. This is an incredibly ancient weapon and in wonderful condition for it’s potential 2,792 years! The weapon has acquired a lovely blue-green patination to it’s cast bronze surface. Swords of this type are called “two-ring” swords because of the prominent rings located on the hilt grip. The Chinese term for this weapon in “Jian”, which refers to a double-edged straight bladed sword. This style of Jian is generally attributed to either the Wu or Yue state. This sword has a pointed tip and a short 44cm long blade which may indicate a very early Jian type. The blade has a medial midrib and tapers towards the point. The cutting edges are still keen. It has a very shallow, short guard. The thin handle would originally have had some leather, or other material wrapped around it to form a grip. At the top is a broad round pommel. The “Spring and Autumn” period was a period in Chinese history which corresponds roughly to the first half of the Eastern Zhou period. The period’s name derives from the “Spring and Autumn Annals”, a chronicle of the state of Lu, between 722 and 479 BC, which tradition associates with Confucius (551 – 479 BC). During this period, the Zhou royal authority over the various feudal states eroded as more and more dukes and marquesses obtained de facto regional autonomy, defying the king’s court in Luoyi, and waging wars amongst themselves. The gradual “Partition of Jin”, one of the most powerful states, marked the end of the Spring and Autumn period, and the beginning of the Warring States. The Warring States period in Chinese history was one of instability and conflict between many smaller Kingdom-states. The period officially ended when China was unified under Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di in 221 BC. Provenance: This sword was purchased by the previous owner’s family from a top Auction house in Zurich, Switzerland many years ago and has been in the same family ever since.
Chinese Bronze Two Ring Jian