Village jian

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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josh stout
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Village jian

Post by josh stout » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:28 pm

Phillip Tom suggested I put together some photos showing the diversity of village jian. Here are a few examples, some of which I have posted before, and some of which are new.
Josh

Village jian with guard useful for blocking, catching and hooking.

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... ord014.jpg

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... ord016.jpg

Later 19th c. jian. Edges are flat for first third of blade.

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... 991011.jpg

Jian style guards on zhibeidao.

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... C_1079.jpg

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... C_1077.jpg

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... C_1078.jpg

Clipped tip common on these jian like zhibeidao

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... C_1081.jpg

And another.

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... C_1082.jpg

Nice steel on village made zhibeidao.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... C_1080.jpg

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... C_1085.jpg

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... C_1088.jpg

Assorted jian.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... C_1055.jpg

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... C_1057.jpg

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... C_1054.jpg

19 c. long handled jian.

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... 899103.jpg

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... 899100.jpg

Ming style jian.

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... 899102.jpg


http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... 899100.jpg

Heavy bladed “militia jian”.

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/pekhopai/01-1.jpg

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/pekhopai/00.jpg

Ming style large pommel.

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... pbiWX2.jpg

Tibetan style guards.

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... ion343.jpg

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... ion347.jpg
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... ion346.jpg

Northern style guards.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... ion338.jpg

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... ion342.jpg

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... CE5899.jpg

longquan duan jian with village repaired guard and scabbard.

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j65/p ... esfiRP.jpg
hidup itu silat, silat itu hidup

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J HepworthYoung
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Re: Village jian

Post by J HepworthYoung » Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:24 pm

Very informative.

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Re: Village jian

Post by Graham Cave » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:07 am

These appear to be tigers faces :
Image

They have the typical wang 王 character on the forehead, furry faces, wide nose, round eyes, rudimentary teeth and fangs.........and the ears are quillions. Unusual to see a face oriented this way on a guard, I can't remember seeing a face that didn't look toward the duifang.

c/f ....Peter Dekker's authentic tengpai
Image

There are no ears on this particular shield, but Peter is currently making a tengpai for me....and this one will be to an authentic design which does have ears. I'll post pics when it's finished.

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Re: Village jian

Post by josh stout » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:45 am

Yes, it is some kind of tiger/lion face oriented the wrong way. We have discussed this set before, and Nick Wardigo mentioned that the face is oriented in a similar manner to Vietnamese things. The big eyes and nose combined with the trefoil lotus pommel appear to be influenced by Tibetan designs. Also notice the remnants of gilding over-painted with red. Overall it is a very unusual set of village shuang jian.

They are clearly of village make, but with more character than most.
Josh
hidup itu silat, silat itu hidup

-Suhu

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Re: Village jian

Post by Graham Cave » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:03 pm

josh stout wrote:Yes, it is some kind of tiger/lion face oriented the wrong way.
Interesting that you think they could be lions. The only depictions I've seen with the wang on the forehead, have been those of tigers. Can you post pics of lions with the wang for stylistic comparison?

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Re: Village jian

Post by josh stout » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:16 am

I was remembering an old thread about these shuang jian where Peter referred to these faces as lions (viewtopic.php?f=15&t=445&p=2196&hilit=shuang+jian#p2196). Because the example he shows is an antique shield, I suspect he meant tiger. Thanks for making me check my assumptions.
Josh
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Peter Dekker
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Re: Village jian

Post by Peter Dekker » Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:19 am

Hi guys,

Checking the thread, it has definitely been a mixup from my side.

In Chinese depictions, lion wouldn't have a Wang character on their head, would have a more dog-like appearance and have curly manes.

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Re: Village jian

Post by bond_fan » Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:48 pm

Do you have pictures of the tang?

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Re: Village jian

Post by Graham Cave » Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:43 pm

josh stout wrote:I was remembering an old thread about these shuang jian where Peter referred to these faces as lions (viewtopic.php?f=15&t=445&p=2196&hilit=shuang+jian#p2196). Because the example he shows is an antique shield, I suspect he meant tiger.
Thanks for the link, I've not seen the thread before.

I was interested to see this shield :
Image
I wonder if Peter may have initially been right about lions as well as tigers...........?

The decoration on this shield has curly bits around the edges............. features which are associated with lions rather than tigers.

Also the character on the forehead is not exactly a 王 wang.

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Re: Village jian

Post by Peter Dekker » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:45 am

This is rather interesting, because the head on this shield indeed has some features that were exclusive to lion in Chinese art which may have been the reason why the maker didn't go for a very outspoken "wang" character such as on the heads of Tiger.

Features that would be more Tiger than lion are:
1. Curly eyebrows and manes all around.
2. Hair of this animal is all blue.

Lion not being native to China, their depiction was more fantastic than that of tigers. For example, on ranking badges the lion rank always appears to be either a blue or a white animal. All of the lion ranking badges in Beverly Jackson & David Hugus' LADDER TO THE CLOUDS are blue. None of the tigers in this book have curly manes, nor curly eyebrows.

Most of these badges date from about the mid. 19th century, around the time this shield was probably made. The shield in question already stands out above others in quality of weave and execution of the design, but having a lion instead of a tiger on its face would make it even more unusual.


If we were to speculate as to why one would chance a tiger for a lion on a shield, here are my thoughts:

The first that comes to mind is that perhaps it suited the rank of the shield's owner. Those with lion rank, were either Banner Captain General, Commandant of Division, Brigade General, Major General or Colonel. (LADDER TO THE CLOUDS, pp 135.) One would think that these ranks were rather high for someone to serve as a front-line skirmisher but would the shield perhaps have had a ceremonial purpose for the commander of a large body of rattan shield bearers.

It makes more sense for higher ranked, non-fighting military men to change the design as the tiger stood for fierceness but also sounds like "to protect" in Chinese. Tigers were known to ward away evil, and were used as such on children's hats and door plaques as well. Its symbology would undoubtedly give the superstitious rank-and-file something to hold on to when facing the perils of the battlefield. Non-fighting officers would need less of this protection as they would probably not serve on the front line, and instead some may have chosen a symbol to affirm their high status.

Apart from being on the second highest military rank badge, lions were also put at the doors of the homes of officials to affirm their high status so perhaps the bearer wasn't that high in military rank, but was entitled to show the lion symbol at his door to show off his rank and status.

-Peter
Knowing is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.


-Bruce Lee

http://www.mandarinmansion.com
Antique Chinese Arms & Functional reproductions

http://www.manchuarchery.org
Fe Doro - Manchu Archery

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Linda Heenan
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Re: Village jian

Post by Linda Heenan » Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:07 am

If anyone would like to check out the animal or bird iconology depicting rank, I've listed some of it here: http://www.chinese-swords-guide.com/ancient-china.html
Contributions welcome at the Chinese Swords Guide - now with RSS http://www.chinese-swords-guide.com

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Re: Village jian

Post by David R » Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:53 am

Many thanks to Mr Stout for producing this brilliant resource.

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Qing militia jian

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Wed May 16, 2012 7:38 am

For comparison, I thought everyone might like to see this jian. This is the largest example of the these "village" or "militia" jian I have ever encountered. Though these jian lack much finish, that is they are just barely polished to shape & have very rudimentary fittings, the steel of the blades is usually quite good. Which is as it would have to be, if it was going to function well at all.
Attachments
3307.MilitiaJian.JPG
Chinese Qing Dynasty Jian
3307.MilitiaJian.JPG (807.88 KiB) Viewed 8369 times

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Qing militia jian hilt

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Wed May 16, 2012 7:41 am

Here's the full catalog desciption of this jian-

Tuanlian Jian
Militia Sword
28” Blade, 34” Overall

The blade inlaid with seven brass dots, representing the seven star constellation that points to the pole star, of sanmai construction with a wavely pattern welded body mounted in solid iron fittings & with a wood grip. Overall in very good condition.

Over the years I have encountered a number of jian similar to this piece. Mounted in what might be called rudimentary iron fittings, & always lacking a scabbard, yet with substantial well forged blades. Furhtermore, while the blades are of good qualty, they are never finely finished, & as in the case of this example, often show signs of having seen combat. Some of these jian appear to be quite old. Overall, they appear to be of provincal origin, constructed in a utilitarian fashion with combat in mind, quite unlike jian that tend to be assoicated with the literati. This combination of a good quality blade with simple yet very functional hilt, has lead me to believe that these jian were mounted locally for use by village militia. This would explain why one has yet to appear with an associated scabbard. In other words, they were not personal arms, meant to be carried on a regular basis, but were likely stored at a barracks & issued when needed. As a practitioner of Chinese Historical Swordsmanship, I find such jian quite interesting, as they likely represent the type that were most often used by the average man when forced to defend his home.
Attachments
3307.Hilt.JPG
3307.Hilt.JPG (2.06 MiB) Viewed 8369 times

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