During the Han Dynasty, steel blades co-existed with bronze, before replacing them entirely. Metallurgical improvements allowed for swords of both varieties to become longer than earlier short swords. The Han Dynasty had many novel manufacturing improvements; ironworking was a state-run enterprise and one province had large blast furnaces built that could produce several tons of iron per day a feat not matched by the west until the eighteenth century. The Chinese even coated their metal weapons in chromium-oxide a protective layer that would not be used again until the 20th century. Their advancements allowed for blades such as this Han Dynasty dagger, to be within arsenals throughout the Warring States period. Daggers such as this, though of bronze, were found in the tomb of Qin Shi Huang; The Emperor buried with the famous Terracotta Army.
This Han Dynasty dagger was made in Longquan, a region that was central to sword production in the Song Dynasty. The blade is folded high-carbon steel of 1045 and 1065 containing 3,800 layers. Folded steel was a common blade-making technique in China as it minimized impurities and melded hard and flexible steels together for a compromise containing both qualities. The hilt, guard and fittings are handmade brass and the scabbard and grip are of darkened wood. The sword comes in a wooden gift box with a boxed cleaning kit.
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