Mandarin Mansion Wooden Jian

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Mandarin Mansion Wooden Jian

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Thu Aug 24, 2006 11:31 am

Product Tested: Mandarin Mansion Wood Jian

List Price: from 32 euros

Company Website:


Test Results:

Solo Basic Cuts, Form, & Drills Practice Test-
Mandarin Mansion submitted two of their wood jian for product testing. Both have 28 1/2" (72.5 cm.) blades. One weights 1 lb. 14 oz. (855 g.) & the other weights 1 lb. 7 oz. (650 g.). I found both to handle well in comparison with antique jian I have handled. The heavier model tends to feel heavy in the hand when one first picks it up, but it plays quite well once one starts it moving.

Structural Integrity Test- Unlike steel swords intended for test cutting practice, wooden swords do not need to tested for extreme durability. It is, however, important that they are more than strong enough not to break in full power training of techniques. (Please note that only advanced, seasoned students should attempt full power training with wooden weapons of this type). Swords that can break or splinter during any two-man drills or free swordplay pose an obvious threat to the users.

To test these wooden jian in a realistic fashion, I first repeated banged them together, lightly at first, listening for any sound & feeling for any vibration that would warn me of a crack that could break the sword. Striking the edges together, the flats together & edges to flats, I slow increased the power used to strike the blades together. I then repeated this process with a student holding one sword out. During this step in the testing process, I used far more strength in striking than I ever would in free swordplay, including two-handed blows. The result of this testing was that there was hardly even any small dents in the swords. They both proved to be perfectly, sound structurally. (Wood being an organic substance, there is no way to know if there are any internal, unseen flaws that could cause one to break unexpectedly. Anyone purchasing a new wooden sword should test its structural integrity before using it for demanding play).

Historical Design Authenticity- Both the weights & lengths of the examples provided are within the norm for Qing dynasty jian. The same is true of the overall proportions of the guard to hilt, grip to blade length etc.

Rating- Mandarin Mansion's Wooden Jian are excellent training tools. It can be quite difficult to reproduce an accurate model of a steel sword in wood. While no wooden jian is ever going to play & handle just as its steel counterpart does, the Mandarin Mansion Wood Jian gets as close to it as can be expected.

The added thickness of the sides of the guard vs. the blade thickness is an important detail of real jian that is often overlooked. Mandarin Mansion's Wooden Jian address this structural detail quite well by adding a wooden plate to thicken both sides of the guard. (See photo below).


What I'd Like to See- The grip of these wooden jian are the correct shape on the plane parallel to the blade edges, however they need a bit more curvature on the plane parallel to the blade ridges. In this plane, the grips do not taper at either the guard or pommel ends. This isn't too great a problem, anyone with a rasp & some sand paper can easily shape the grip to the size of their own hand.

I'd also like to see these swords well oiled before they leave the factory.

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