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Thread: Reference works on Jian type swords? Any good books?

  1. #1

    Question Reference works on Jian type swords? Any good books?

    This is my first post here so hello everyone.

    I have been trying to find a good reference book (site or whatever) on Chinese Jian, so far with little luck. There is some info here and there on the web but no comprehensive references and the books I see people refer to seem to be in Chinese, out of print or both. I should mention that I am a beginner at Chinese swords so I don't know much at all. Basically I'm looking for a primer and/or more comprehensive work on this topic. The history, construction and typology of the weapon.

    So my question is: could someone point me to a good book dealing with the Jian?

    Thanks,
    Steve

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
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    623
    Various books on swords in general will have a chapter on Chinese swords, and books on taiji jian will often have a short chapter on jian, but none come to mind as good enough to be worth getting the book for.

    The best book I know of is "Iron and Steel Swords of China", http://www.amazon.com/Steel-Swords-C.../dp/7533253582 which is in Chinese, but has plenty of pictures. Covers Chinese swords (both dao and jian) by dynasty, so even without reading Chinese, you have a bunch of pictures of jian, sorted by dynasty.

    For www resources, the best I know of is the GTRC forums, especially their Chinese Historical Arms forum: http://forum.grtc.org/

    A basic typology is easy:
    (a) jian (the basic ordinary jian), which can be subdivided further by dynasty
    (b) two-handed jian
    (c) short jian
    (d) twin jian
    (e) executioner's jian
    and some would add
    (f) village jian (of crude local manufacture, so stylistically different, but functionally you could classify them as mostly short jian or regular jian)
    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Timo Nieminen View Post
    Various books on swords in general will have a chapter on Chinese swords, and books on taiji jian will often have a short chapter on jian, but none come to mind as good enough to be worth getting the book for.
    I was worried that might be the case. Thanks anyway for the tips and typology. Much appreciated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Netherlands
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