Language: Mandarin Chinese
Source: Classical literature


Sǔn () literally means "tenon", it's also the word used for a sword tang.1

The Chinese sword tang is typically peened over at the pommel, so the owner may never see it. For this reason, Chinese tangs are rarely marked and usually left with a relatively coarse finish.

Saber tangTang on a Ming dynasy saber blade.

Manchu tangRare example of a marked tang on a 17th century Manchu saber.
The marking probably had to do with the production process.

Also see

Alternatively, dīngdāo gēntiě (釘刀根鐵) is used for tang.2

For a complete overview, see: A Chinese saber glossary.

1. Qinding Gongbu Junqi Zeli (欽定工部軍器則例) or "Imperial regulations and precedents on weapons and military equipment by the Ministry of Public Works", 1813. Chapter 36.
2. Wuti Qingwen Jian (五體清文鑑) or "Five languages compendium"
A Qing imperial dictionary in Manchu, Mongolian, Uighur, Tibetan and Chinese of 1766. Published under the Qianlong emperor.

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Built around a beautifully forged blade, in full polish, revealing a burl grain pattern.


A fine Chinese straightsword blade, of typical Qing form with a rather wide profile.


A rather well-made example of its type.


Used to move imperial orders from the emperor’s quarters to the recipient.

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Made of heavy silk with gilt copper alloy mounts.


With staghorn grip finely carved with plum blossoms.

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