Ming militia jian
Overall length

68 cm

Blade length

53.5 cm

Blade thickness

Base 10mm
Middle 6.5mm
Near tip 4.5mm

Blade width

Base 37mm
Middle 31mm
Near tip 26mm

Weight

887 grams

Point of balance

12.5 cm from handle side of the guard

Origin

China, Ming dynasty

Materials

Iron, steel

Dating

Probably 16th or 17th century

Sold

Interested?
Anything similar for sale?

Contact me

Description

An early Chinese militia jiàn most likely dating from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). These were probably used by ah-hoc defense armies such as rural militias. For an introduction on this type of weapon, see my glossary article: Chinese militia jiàn

Blade

Of fairly standard size and weight for a 16th to 17th-century militia jiàn, it has a thick and heavy blade that is of sanmei construction with a high-carbon hardened edge plate between protective layers of tougher steel. The blade has obviously seen action, with several cuts made into the tougher steel by another weapon.

Crossguard

Its most unusual feature is the asymmetrical crossguard, with one end pointing slightly up and the other pointing slightly down. The same effect is seen on a saber carried by a northern huntsman on a 15th-century painting in the Freer and Sackler gallery. Crossguards were common on Chinese and steppe weapons well into the Ming dynasty, mostly on sabers but also seen on jiàn. They were supplanted gradually by discoid guards and more elaborate zoomorphic guards on later jiàn.

Conclusion

A practical fighting jiàn of the late Ming, exhibiting a rarer early form of crossguard.


 

Ming militia jian
Ming militia jian
Ming militia jian
Ming militia jian
Ming militia jian

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me

Presented by the local Dai nobility to a British customs officer in 1936.

€2000,-

With designs of four dragons in scrollwork around a "wish-granting-jewel"

€3500,-

A rather well-made example of its type.

€1500,-

Of a type also issued to the Qing Vanguard.

€475,-

A purely Chinese guard and not a very orn

€175,-

Most likely used by the multi-cultural crews of pirate fleets that roamed the South China seas.

€250,-
ARTICLE
A typology of Chinese sabers
Introduction Historical references on Chinese saber types are scar...
Read the article
ARTICLE
Spears of the Qing dynasty
In this article I highlight a number of spears used by the Qing dyn...
Read the article
ARTICLE
Measurements of a Manchu bow
Made in the famous Changxing workshop in Chengdu, which as the subj...
Read the article
ARTICLE
Military sabers of the Qing dynasty
According to Chinese symbolism, the strength and martial spirit of ...
Read the article