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Japanese sword construction methods logo

Construction methods of Japanese swords

This article will describe several methods by which the Japanese joined higher and lower carbon steels into their blades.
Asian arms in old European paintings logo

Asian arms in Dutch master paintings

Dutch masters' fascination with exotic Asian wares shown in a series of paintings.
Republican duanjian

Ma Zhi Zhen Republican duānjiàn

Rare type with stylized bat guard and baitong mounth.
Longquan duanjian by Wan Zi Hao

Longquan jiàn by Wan Zi Hao

A Chinese shortsword made by a well-known Longquan maker.
Unusual Taiwanese sword logo

Southern Taiwanese sword

A Taiwanese sword with a long blade of asymmetrical cross-section; the left side is flat and the right side has a ridge on the upper portion of the blade
Vietnamese all metal kiem straightsword

All-metal Vietnamese kiem

A very rare ceremonial variety with copper scabbard inlaid with different alloys, and a brass blade.
Fine Dayak mandau logo

Headhunter chief's mandau

A fine Dayak headhunter sword with an exceptionally carved hilt.
Silver overlaid Chinese hook sword

Silver overlaid Chinese hook sword

Typical Chinese hook sword, with seldom-seen fine silver wire overlay.
Fine Kutch horse head shamshir

Fine Kutch horse head shamshir

The style typical of Kutch, the execution far above what is normally seen on work from that area.
Kanenori in itomaki-no-tachi logo

Echizen Kanenori tachi

A fine, Circa 400-year-old blade in 19th-century tachi mountings.
Early Indian sword logo

South Indian cobra tip sword

An early fighting piece with strong reinforcing langet and broad, cobra shaped tip.
Vietnamese dha logo

Vietnamese dha in early style

Wih fine embossed silver mounts and an unusual blade with spiked tip.
Old mandau with laminated blade logo

Old mandau with laminated blade

The unusual blade is paired with a unique, probably also very early, hilt.
South Kalimantan parang logo

South Kalimantan parang

Of typical South Borneo workmanship, but formed like a mandau from Kutai.
Very old mandau

Very old mandau with stars

With exceptional, well crafted and heavy blade.
Fine Kenyah mandao logo

Good Kenyah mandau

A very nice Kenyah mandau with engraved blade and most of its hair intact.
Fine long glat mandau logo

Fine long glat mandau

A testament to why the Long Glat were known as expert blade makers.
Sumatran sword with gold covered hilt

Sumatran sword with gold covered hilt

A fine example, probably meant for Palembang royalty.
Shimazu clan daisho logo

Shimazu mon daishō

A pair of daishō with blades forged by the Takada smiths of Bungo in the north of Kyūshū.
Mandailing sword logo

Mandailing sword

A very rare sword of a type that may be attributable to the Mandailing people of West Sumatra.
Padang highlands sword

Padang highlands sword

A rare type of Sumatran sword, often attributed to the Padang Highlands
Rare Sumatran sword logo

A rare Sumatran sword

With a blade often associated with the Mandailing of Sumatra.
So-op mandau hilt

So-op

Dayak word for their sword hilt.
Thai Niello sword

Thai gilded silver niello sword

Straight gold inlaid blade and silver-gilt niello mounts.
SE-asian-dha-musashi-namako-tsuba-logo

SE Asian dha with "Musashi tsuba"

In excavated condition, with copper alloy hilt.
Khyber sword

Khyber knife

The English name for the peculiar slashing weapon used around the Khyber pass.
Khyber knife logo

Unusual khyber knife

With forge folded, overlaid blade.
Unusual Vietnamese truong dao logo

Unusual Vietnamese trường đao

With forward swept iron guard and swollen grip.
Caucasian qadara logo

Transcaucasian kindjal

With a rare single-edged blade with tight fullering.
Northern Vietnamese saber logo

A Tonkinese saber

Northern Vietnam, 19th century
Tibetan hairpin forging logo

Thur

Tibetan term for their "hairpin forging" of blades.
Philip Tom sword evolution drawing

A sketch of East Asian sword evolution

Some time ago, Philip Tom sent me a bunch of his old research files on Asian arms for me to study.

Qing dynasty dadao logo

A large Qing dàdāo

Large and heavy example with the notable Umlauff provenance.
Tibetan silver overlaid shortsword logo

Silver overlaid Tibetan shortsword

With a rare, finely forged double hairpin blade.
Yunnan knives pair logo

Pair of fine Yunnan knives

Carrying Chinese silver marks on their scabbard mounts.
Large Qing military sword

Large Qing military sword

Probably of Southern origin, with a straight blade and flaring tip.
Archaic Asian shortsword

Archaic Chinese shortsword

Probably of Chinese origin, resembling some of the earliest Japanese swords in existence.
Nakago logo

Nakago (茎 / 中心)

Japanese word for the tang of a sword
Outstanding set of Chinese hudiedao / wudipdou / batjamdo logo

Outstanding set of húdiédāo

A set of the rarer long and wide variety with very well-carved hilts and good overall finish.
Chinese jian

Qing jiàn in later mounts

Qing period blade in very nicely made early 20th century mounts.
Southern Chinese hudiedao

Southern Chinese húdiédāo set

Wide-bladed pair with eccentric hilt features. Complete with scabbard.
Southern Chinese saber marked H. Hunt 1876 logo

Chinese military saber marked 1876

Southern Chinese officer style saber with later inscription H.Hunt 1876.
Village dao logo

Chinese village dāo

A simple utilitarian weapon, probably made for rural martial artists or militia.
Signed paidao

Qing páidāo (shield knife)

With Tongzhi reign marks, corresponding to the year 1863.
Qing tuanlian jian

Late Qing tuánliàn jiàn

Long yet light, with unusual flower-shaped iron guard.
Huyadao logo

Hǔyádāo (虎牙刀), "tiger tooth sword"

Mandarin name of a Chinese-edged weapon with a 1:1 hilt-blade ratio.
Tuanlian jian logo

Large Ming tuánliàn jiàn

A large piece dating from the Ming-Qing transition period of the 17th century.
Southern Chinese bannerman huyadao

Southern Bannermen Hǔyádāo

A pair, both with Banner markings, one Manchu and one Hanjun.
Echizen Kanesada blade in spectacular koshirae

Echizen Kanesada in striking koshirae

Blade with fine dragon horimono. The mounts signed Sōmin and Masatatsu.