Opening for Dao Sword Guards

Sword typology and Edge Weapons forms of the Chinese Empire and related cultures with an emphasis on their relationship to Swordsmanship.

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bond_fan
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Opening for Dao Sword Guards

Post by bond_fan » Sun May 22, 2011 9:36 am

Anyone have any idea how the Chinese or Japanese determine the location of the slit in which the sword is put on a sword/tsuba for either a Chinese or Japanese saber/katana?

I just made one out of jade (Nephrite) yesterday. Pictures to follow later today.

bond_fan
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Re: Opening for Dao Sword Guards

Post by bond_fan » Sun May 22, 2011 6:07 pm

Photo of the black jade (Nephrite) sword guard I carved. As soon as I get a sword for it I will cut out a space in the middle to accommodate the blade. In its high polish finish it looks like a metal tsuba made of shakudo. I may even attempt to carve the remaining fittings if I can find enough of the black jade and when my carving skills get better.

Image

Michael
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Re: Opening for Dao Sword Guards

Post by Michael » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:23 pm

bond_fan wrote:Photo of the black jade (Nephrite) sword guard I carved. As soon as I get a sword for it I will cut out a space in the middle to accommodate the blade. In its high polish finish it looks like a metal tsuba made of shakudo. I may even attempt to carve the remaining fittings if I can find enough of the black jade and when my carving skills get better.
This is beautiful! How does jade perform as a guard? I would imagine that it's heavy and brittle.
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bond_fan
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Re: Opening for Dao Sword Guards

Post by bond_fan » Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:58 pm

In archaic times many of the sword fittings were made of nephrite, because it was one of the hardest and toughest stones they could find.

I can't say how it would perform in an actual fight. Basically, I made it for looks not fighting though.

Michael
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Re: Opening for Dao Sword Guards

Post by Michael » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:14 am

bond_fan wrote:In archaic times many of the sword fittings were made of nephrite, because it was one of the hardest and toughest stones they could find.

I can't say how it would perform in an actual fight. Basically, I made it for looks not fighting though.
Well as I understand it, nephrite and jadeite were prized for their ability to make very hard tools in early Chinese history. However, this would have been pre-iron age. Since the blades we use are most certainly made out of steel, pre-iron age ideas about tool construction don't really apply.
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bond_fan
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Re: Opening for Dao Sword Guards

Post by bond_fan » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:59 pm

There are documented proof (Photos) of Han dynasty and Warring States bronze and steel swords with nephrite fittings, as well as their use in earlier times such as Zhou dynasty:

http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/hi ... n_hil.aspx

http://thomaschen.freewebspace.com/photo.html

http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_ ... ID=5199148

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Re: Opening for Dao Sword Guards

Post by Aidan O'Brien » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:03 pm

Actually both Jadeite and Nephrite are extremely tough as opposed to brittle. The properties can be better explained by Jon Palombi, since he works with both as part of his everyday job.

Considering that they require either excessive amounts of work and/or diamond drill bits to even to affect, they're probably far more resilient than brass or possibly iron guards. (They crack under heat, not so much impact.)

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Re: Opening for Dao Sword Guards

Post by Aidan O'Brien » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:07 pm

bond_fan wrote:There are documented proof (Photos) of Han dynasty and Warring States bronze and steel swords with nephrite fittings, as well as their use in earlier times such as Zhou dynasty:

http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/hi ... n_hil.aspx

http://thomaschen.freewebspace.com/photo.html

http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_ ... ID=5199148
And those are absolutely gorgeous.

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Jade saber guards

Post by Philip Tom » Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:02 pm

There are several examples of Korean sabers, byeolun geom, in museum collections in S. Korea, with jade disc guards of tsuba form. They do not appear appreciably thicker than their metal counterparts. A few have been published in the exhibition catalog The History of Steel in East Asia (Macau: Museu de Arte de Macau, 2007).

The blade tang aperture's location is determined by the position of the tang relative to the width of the blade at the shoulders. If it is symmetrically positioned, then the position of the hole should be a no-brainer: you want the same distance between the edge of the guard and the edge/spine of the blade for a symmetrical arrangement. In the old days, jade carvers drilled a hole and lengthened the aperture with wire saws and files which depended on abrasive slurry for cutting effect.
Phil

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