The two-handed Taotie Jian has a tempered and sharpened blade of 5160 high carbon steel. The metal guard and pommel are cast with the lost wax method to give them sharp relief and are given an antiqued bronze finish. The stylized mask of the Taotie beast, inspired by Shang and Zhou Dynasty bronzes, features prominently on the sword fitting. The long wooden grip is overlaid in tightly wrapped cord.
The sword has a companion scabbard of wood with a glossy black finish. Its metal fittings are crafted to match its sword.
An ancient beast from the depths of Chinese mythology, the Taotie is a voracious monster with an appetite so unending that the creature has become a representation of gluttony. Punished by the Gods for its flesh-rending excesses, the Taotie had most of its body removed and was left just its head and massive maw. This discipline by the divine powers did nothing to curb the appetite of the Taotie, though it served as a stern warning against gluttonous excesses.
The Taotie Jian is quite an agile sword, and it handles much like a longsword. The blade is swift in the strike and its long taper gives it a form well-able to deliver a conclusive thrust. This sword is clearly inspired by the historical examples of long, two-handed Jian swords from the Han Dynasty.
Elegance and Danger This is my second sharp purchase, and my most expensive sword purchase to date. I say that to convey that I am not an expert.
However, this sword is by far the most elegant weapon I have ever seen or held. Every bit as formidable as a standard HEMA Longsword (at 51.5″ inches long), but with a lighter weight that allows it more agility at the cost of power. It feels absolutely dangerous, fatal even, in the swing, but the real danger seems to lie in its ability to quickly shift to a thrusting position. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the 7″ ricasso, but it looks grisly in-hand and I hate to think of what it would do to anything that made it all the way up the blade to the hilt.
The blade is well-crafted, straight as a line, and appropriately sharp – nearly as sharp as a quality kitchen knife. It would absolutely take an arm clean below the elbow with a full swing. The tip is so sharp you could just walk into something. I doubt you’d even need to thrust. All of the fittings feel solid as the blade. The only minor issue I have with mine is that one tiny thread from below the wrapped-cord grip popped through about halfway up the grip. It’s a minor issue. I wouldn’t even discount a star for it. This weapon is a beauty and feels solid as a hammer.
If I practice with it enough to wear out the cord grip, the only regret I’ll have is that I didn’t buy a second.
If you’re a fan of long two-handed swords but you prefer elegance over brute force, this is a fantastic choice worth every penny.