During the Tang Dynasty (618907) the single-edged Dao was a popular weapon, having muscled out the Jian for military preeminence centuries earlier. Notice how the blade bears a resemblance to the katana? During the Tang Dynasty, many Chinese and Korean smiths emigrated to Japan where their metallurgical skills were in demand. From these Tang smiths the Japanese would adopt the swordmaking techniques of folded steel and the use of clay for differential hardening. Even as late as the 12th century, many Japanese smiths were claiming fabled Chinese smith Ganjiang as the original patron of their skills. After the Japanese mastered the skills of sword-making to new heights, Japanese blades became collectors items by the Chinese Song Dynasty nobles.
This Tang Dao 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 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.