Swords and Daggers

Unknown Creator-0770/0220

Hallwyl Museum

Hallwyl Museum
Stockholm, Sweden

From top to bottom:

Reportedly discovered in Sianfu, Shaanxi province
Possibly Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE)
Inventory number: XLIX:I:A.c.06.
Dimension: 23.9 x 3.3 x 10.7 cm

The design of this dagger is unusual. The blade and handle are cast in one piece. The tip gently angles at the top, giving the majority of the blade a different cutting angle from the tip. The central spine of the blade merges into the handle. There are raised studs dotting the top and bottom of the handle, with the middle section slightly bulging. This is to facilitate better grip. The handle flares gently into the pommel. There is a small hole in the middle of the handle, which may have been strung with a cord for attachment to a belt or perhaps a sheath.

Eastern Zhou dynasty, Spring and Autumn period (771 – 476 BCE)
Reportedly from Xuzhou, Jiangsu province.
inventory number: XLIX:I:A.l.17.
Dimensions: 39.9 x 3.9 x 6.8 cm. Pommel, Dia: 3.9 cm

The inscription on the blade of this sword reads, “Ruohoujie zhi zao,” meaning “Made by Duke Jie of Ruo.” The handle is conical in shape and ends with a round pommel. It was probably bound in textile for better grip.

Ruo was a small vassal state that was annexed by Chu State sometime after 622 BCE, which helps to date this sword. The fact that Ruo state was annexed by Chu State might help to explain why this sword was (reportedly) discovered in present-day Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, which was once part of Chu territory.

Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 – 221 BCE)
Reportedly discovered in Shouzhou (centered in present-day Shou County, Anhui province)
Inventory number: XLIX:I:A.l.05.
Length: 51.7 cm

This sword is one of the most decorated within the collection of the Hallwyl Museum. The blade is plain. The guard has raised spiral motifs that would have been inlaid with semi-precious stones, such as turquoise and crystals. The two ridges encircling the handle, which is common for this type of sword, is grooved. It would have been bound by textile for better grip. The pommel is decorated with finely cast linear geometric designs in four registers. The registers are bordered by lines that increase by one with each register as they move towards the centre of the pommel. The outer register contains groups of parallel lines arranged perpendicularly to each other, forming chevron-like designs. The next two registers are adorned with cross-hatched lines. The inner-most register is composed of six triangles, each made up of one triangle inside another, pointing toward the centre of the pommel. This sword was reportedly discovered in the vicinity of present-day Shou County in Anhui province. Depending on the exact time and location in which it was buried, the owner of the sword could have been from either Chu State or Wu State during the Eastern Zhou dynasty.

Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period (475 – 221 BCE)
Reportedly from Xuzhou, Jiangsu province.
Inventory number: XLIX:I:A.l.19.
Length: 43.8 cm

The blade of this sword is unadorned except for an engraved inscription that reads, “Youwu zhi jian,” or “the Sword of Youwu”. There are two ridges that encircle the handle of the weapon, which would have been bound with textile for better grip. The handle ends in a round pommel. Although much more elaborately decorated swords exist, the original owner of this weapon was probably a relatively high-ranking warrior. If the reported discovery location is correct, the burial location of this sword would have been in the state of Chu of the Warring states period.

Reportedly discovered in Shouzhou (centered in present-day Shou County, Anhui province)
Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 – 221 BCE)
Inventory number: XLIX:I:A.c.01.
Length: 18.7 cm

The handle of this dagger has two protruding ridges that wrap around its circumference. A round pommel is at the base of the handle, which may originally have been wrapped in textile for better grip. The V-shaped guard is the same design as is found on some swords (compare with XLIX:I:A.l.05., above). The main difference between this dagger and the design of some swords is that the dagger has a shorter blade, shorter than the handle in this example. It is possible that his dagger started out as a sword and the blade was shortened either through damage or repeated sharpening.


  • Title: Swords and Daggers
  • Creator: Unknown Creator
  • Date Created: -0770/0220
  • Location Created: China
  • Subject Keywords: Chinese Bronze Age, Weaponry, Daggers, Swords, Warfare
  • Rights: CC BY

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