- Museum number
Sword with a grip topped by a carved and lacquered pommel, a carved and lacquered guard, and an iron blade enclosed within a lacquered wooden scabbard. There are traces of gold on the pommel. The scabbard has carved and lacquered wooden fittings of a slide and a chape, in design of intertwined dragons and reptiles, matching the designs on the sword pommel and guard.
- Production date
Length: 85 centimetres (with scabbard)
- Curator's comments
- This long sword with elaborate lacquered fittings was probably not for combat but part of an elite gentleman’s outfit. Lacquering was a distinct craft that thrived particularly in southern China, but these openwork fittings, like their jade counterparts, may have also imitated metal designs from the steppe. The enclosed blade is made of iron, which became available in China by the 300s BC and had by then replaced bronze as the major material for weaponry. The production of iron and salt was nationalised by the Emperor Wu of Han, increasing government wealth and further reducing regional powers.
- On display (G33/dc9a/s3)
- Acquisition date
- Registration number