During the Han Dynasty, steel swords co-existed with bronze, before replacing it 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 swords such as this Han Dynasty Sword to be within arsenals throughout the Warring States period.
This sword 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, it contains 6,600 layers. It is regarded as the higher quality steel from this manufacturer and has a more finished polish that brings out its additional steel 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 fittings are of handmade brass and the scabbard is of darkened wood. The grip and some of the scabbard is tightly wrapped with black nylon cord. The sword comes in a wooden gift box with a boxed cleaning kit and a silk embroidered sword bag.
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