Chinese sword (nji-111)




This sword is being offered for a short time only. As collectors of Chinese arms know most of these weapons from China were seized and or destroyed in the past and are becoming very hard to find. The blade is most likely from the mid 17 Century to the mid 19th Century, maybe older. It is very hard to date Chinese swords unless it still retains the original mountings. Most Chinese blades are not signed or dated and dating can be a task. Opinions can vary from the many experts.This is an excerpt from an article by Philip Tom of Mandarin Mansion who reproduced the handle of this sword. As you can see the blade closely resembles the sword second from the left.

This particular sword was found many years ago in a consignment shop located very close to Boston’s Chinatown district. It was located in a very old building which has undergone Gentrification since. The building now has been converted to housing condominiums and the shop no longer exists. The blade was found in this saya with remnants of an old handle that was not restorable and stripped of its fittings. The shop owner at the time was told that this was most likely a 14 or 15 Century blade and was originally mounted with solid gold fittings and habaki that were stripped by the prior owner and refitted with this saya and wooden habaki. The saya is covered in a very old animal hide or shark like skin. The fittings are of iron and have intricate carvings of dragon and scroll like work.  A great tale indeed so I had to buy it!. We have had opinions that the blade was most likely early Qing Dynasty or possibly later.

This blade is very light and well balanced. The wavy laminations and billowing cloud like hamon is spectacular and like most very old blades there is some pitting to be found. Later blades generally can be found with fullers added during construction. Mandarin Mansion’s Philip Tom reconstructed the handle with fittings proper to the style of blade and Peter Dekker did the exceptional wrapping of the handle. This was originally restored for Tai chi Dao training.

Don’t miss out on owning a true piece of Chinese history as this style blade can only be found in musuems or if lucky enough private collections.


“Of geese and willows: yanmaodao and liuyedao”

By Philip Tom


The differences between 雁毛刀 yanmaodao (goose-quill saber and 柳葉刀 liuyedao (“willow-leaf saber”) in blade shape can be, to the novice, quite subtle and hard to discern at first blush. However, by picking up the weapon, hilt pointed away from you, the curvature can be checked by sighting down the cutting edge. Or, if looking at a photo taken at 90 degrees to the surface, you can check curve by holding a ruler or other straightedge against the edge of the blade in the image.

Overall views. Left two sabers yanmaodao, right two sabers liuyedao.

Close-up of the tip sections of the two yanmaodao.

In the evolution of the 佩刀 peidao or (“waist-worn saber”), the yanmaodao appears to be the next step up from the 直背刀 zhibeidao (“straight-back knife”) used by China’s military from the Warring States period until well into the Song Dynasty, and even by the Mongols on occasion. The zhibeidao, as its name implies, is dead straight, and sharp on one side only. The yanmaodao exhibits the beginning of actual curve in the blade. Earliest surviving specimens date from the Ming Dynasty, and it remained in fairly wide use until the end of the 18th cent. Later examples are rare. Technique utilizes the strong points of both 劍 jian and 刀 dao.

Blade characteristics:
1. Profile: Straight for most of length, the cutting edge has a curve only along the last 1/4 or so approaching the tip. The back or spine of the blade sweeps up slightly to form the point.
2. Backedge: There is USUALLY though not always a bevelled area, forming a subsidiary edge, on the spine running about 1/4 way back from the tip. This backedge (sometimes called “false” edge) varies from blunt to fairly sharp, though in no way as keen as the cutting edge itself.
The close up photo of blade tips compares several elements that can be found on backedges. They can be bevelled all the way to the tip, or else “blind”, i.e. ending short of the tip itself. The outline or contour of the backedge may be flush with the spine of the blade, or it may project in an offest fashion. Bevels that go all the way to the tip add an additional degree of acuity to the point, making it “sharper” on the thrust. Blind bevels seem to function mainly to adjust the balance, making the tip a little more “lively” without the structural problems of running a groove or fuller out to a fairly thin portion of the blade.
3. Surface features: Yanmaodao blades can have a plain wedge-section (without channels or grooves), see the left-most specimen in the overall photo. They can also be cut with one or more grooves, which serve to lighten the blade while maintaining a certain level of rigidity.”

Click to Enlarge Image
Click to Enlarge Image

Asking price: $4,800.00

  • Overall Length: 35-1/2″
  • Blade Length: 28-1/2″
This sword is on consignment.
Special Sale Price
On Hold
(shipping and insurance included)
Email us if your interested in this item and remember to include the order number for this item: fss-633.
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