Zhou Sword

Dublin Core

Title

Zhou Sword
Jian

Subject

Sword
China
Weapon

Description

Jian is the Chinese term for a double-edged straight sword. The jian/sword discussed here refers specifically to the bronze type made during 481-221 BC, of which this is an example.

The bronze jian were first used by the Zhou dynasty during the late Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. However, they were only worn as secondary (backup) weapons by troops armed with spears and dagger-axes. This means they would only be used if the spear or axe was lost, destroyed, or otherwise rendered ineffective.

The jian developed from the dagger. Daggers were also used as secondary weapons, and continued to be used alongside the jian.

Swords did gain a certain “mystique,” as unique weapons to be worn for display purposes, like daggers. With the rise of iron, bronze swords became irrelevant, and were replaced by curved swords for cavalry, elaborate display swords, and iron swords.

Creator

Zhou China

Date

c. 481 - 221 BC

Contributor

Zhou Dynasty

Rights

Held by Madison Art Collection, JMU

Relation

Similar examples can be found in the Macao Museum of Art, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Hunan Provincial Museum.

Format

Sword

Physical Object Item Type Metadata

Materials

Bronze

Physical Dimensions

Overall length: 47.7cm
Blade length: 40cm
Hilt length: 7.7cm

Accession Number

76.1.778

Note

Missing circular pommel and hilt rings

Files

https://s3.amazonaws.com/omeka-net/29837/archive/files/687e201905a8cfc1fb64b07d6872dd17.JPG

Citation

Zhou China, “Zhou Sword,” Exhibits, accessed January 22, 2019, http://derekenglehistory.com/omeka/items/show/9.