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Welcome To Thomas Chen's dedicated website on Chinese swords of the past 2 millenia.

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(Ruled 1736-1795) Emperor Qianlong's goosequill sabers (yanmaodao):

The 1st saber has a scabbard that is covered with slivers carved from the bark of a rare type of peach tree.

The 2nd saber is named "Tai-ah", a name given by Qianlong, the same name as that of a famous sword forged by the legendary swordsmith "Ouye" of the Warring States Period. Notice the beautiful and exquisite gold and silver inlay on the scabbard that is reminiscent of Warring States Period stylistic motifs and art.

Click on the pics above or below to see all the 4 sabers on this webpage in enlarged size.


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The 3rd piece is a Royal Imperial saber with gold-gilded iron fittings and a handle long enough for a two-handed grip. Notice the magnificent golden dragon head tunkou (collar at the forte). The gold-gilded motifs on the fittings are dragons rendered in the archaic and ancient style of the Warring States Period to the Han Dynasty. These stylistic dragon motifs appear very frequently on the jades and bronze vessels of those ancient times.

To have a look at another similar piece plus other Royal Imperial swords and sabers, please click to: http://chineseswords2.freewebspace.com/photo.html

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The 4th saber is one of Emperor Qianlong's goosequill sabers (yanmaodao) with gold beads embedded in the shark-skin wrapping over the scabbard, shaped like dragons; intricate rubies also adorn the fittings.

Notice the use of a diamond-shaped ridged cross-section for two-thirds of the blade's length, plus one short fuller and one long fuller.

This saber appears to be one of the several Imperial sabers, commissioned by Emperor Qianlong and by other high-ranking officials, and made by the Imperial Workshops, which have the ridged cross-section and 2 fullers, one short and one long, on both sides of the blade. They were most likely modelled after one specific type of Japanese sword blade design known as "naginata naoshi katana", which in turn was modelled after the Japanese naginata polearm.

I have also encountered at least 3 other virtually identical Chinese antique examples.