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BRONZE SWORD

Place of Origin: SICHUAN, CHINA

Date: Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.)

Overall: 420mm

Reference: 280

Status: Available

Full Description:

This bronze Chinese short sword shows an elegantly preserved form and attractive patina.

The hilt is particularly unusual – although its circular pommel and collar of flattened-diamond section are to be expected, the hilt is conical where other examples would be thin and cylindrical with small disc-shaped mouldings. Yet more surprisingly, the hilt is also hollow. The reason for this is unclear, but it may perhaps have made the blade lighter and so easier to wield, or it may be that the hilts were simply cast this way – we cannot be sure.

The blade itself exhibits a graceful form of flattened octagonal section, tapering gently until the final third where the blade narrows and tapers again to the tip. The original bronze-yellow of the sword has been welcomely taken over by patches of reddish-brown and moss-green, imbuing this object with an archaic charm.

The hilt of the sword would have originally been bound “with rope so much so that a handle is formed.”[1] Our example is identical to one preserved in The Provincial Museum of Sichuan, China – particularly in terms of the unusual hilt-form.[2]

 

[1] The Provincial Museum of Sichuan, Ba Shu Bronze Ware, published by the Provincial Museum of Sichuan, 1992, p. 241.

[2] Ibid, p. 108.