Encyclopedia > Jian

  Article Content

Jian

Jian (劍 also, Chien in a different transliteration, Gim in a different Chinese dialect, and Kim in Korean) is a double-edged straight sword used during the last thousand years in China.

Historical one-handed versions have blades varying from 18-32 inches in length. The weight of an average sword of 28 inches blade-length would be in a range of approximately 1.5-2 pounds.

A guard protected the hand from an opposing blade. The shape of the guard could be described as short wings pointing either forward or backward depending on the era and region of manufacture. A grip behind the guard would accommodate one hand plus 2 or three fingers of the other hand. Some two-handed Jian were used, although not nearly as common as the one-handed version. The end of the handle was finished with a pommel for balance. Sometimes a tassel hangs from the pommel. There are some Kung Fu forms which utilize the tassel as part of that swordsmanship style. On the whole, however, the tassel today is primarily decorative.

Jian were originally made from bronze, then iron and steel as metal technology advanced. The swordsmiths of China are often credited with the forging technologies that traveled to Japan to allow swordsmiths there to create the legendary Katana. These technologies include folding, inserted alloys, and differential hardening of the edge. Some early Chinese Dao (saber) (single-edged swords of various forms) closely resemble Katana.

Effective use of the Jian required considerable skill based on good training and long practice. Even in early centuries, Jian were largely surplanted by Dao on the battlefield. The Dao were easier and deadlier to use for the average soldier or civilian. The straight-bladed jian became largely relegated to a weapon for personal defense, training, ceremony, and decoration. The martial arts of China (Kung Fu) still train with Jian.

Today, few historical Jian survive due to a time in the 1800s when a Chinese Emperor decreed the destruction of all weapons outside of his own armies. Contemporary Jian versions are often forged (shaped with heat and hammer) and assembled by mostly traditional methods for training of practitioners of Chinese martial arts around the world. These Jian vary greatly in quality and historical accuracy.

A very badly made sword is often referred to as a "Sword Like Object" (SLO) by collectors and fans of swords. SLO's are examples of extremely poor sword design. Such an item is often too heavy, usually fails to be properly balanced for its intended use, and is often made of stainless steel. There is consensus among sword experts that stainless steel is a poor option for sword construction as it breaks too easily given the stresses involved.

Contemporary Jian are also sometimes forged (artificially aged and misrepresented as original antiques) for sale to tourists and collectors who cannot distinguish them from true antiques.



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
Brazil

... to machine politics) Integralism (influnential Brazilian fascist movement in the 1930s) Much of the material in these articles comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 ...

 
 
 
This page was created in 51.7 ms