65MN Spring Steel Tang Dynasty Two Handed Silver Jian
Amazing Value - Fully Functional Hand Forged 65MN Spring Steel Blade. Amazingly fast and agile with highly detailed fittings.
This is the kind of sword that many unscrupulous vendors try to pass off as much more expensive than it actually is, simply because it looks like it SHOULD be expensive..!
Most sellers who wanted to try and trick you by saying this is a high end sword would simply have it folded on the cheap, but as you probably know that is the WORST thing you could to to an entry level blade - so we certainly have not - the blade here is forged from 65MN (Manganese) Spring Steel, through hardened and able to flex to more than 45 degrees and return to straight (see the video, also with some tatami mat cutting).
But the best part of this sword is not just how nice it looks, nor how affordable it is and how well it cuts, but the HANDLING. Weighing just 2.1lbs and with a point of balance 3.75" from the guard - in one hand it is fast, but when used two handed is crazy fast and a true joy to cut with.
Historically, it is a Tang Dynasty Sword (618-907AD) which is considered by many scholars to be the high point of Chinese Civilization. In earlier periods such as the Warring States, two handed swords were a battlefield weapon, but at the height of the of Tang Dynasty, the sword became the symbol of the literate gentleman - which they used both for self defense and self cultivation. With such a sword, the legendary Tang swordsman Pei Min was claimed to have been able to cut four arrows in the air while riding from horseback, which is no mean feat!
How to Use
Materials and Construction
Featured positive reviews:
I’m a novice when it comes to Chinese swords, but when I saw this blade for this low price, I couldn’t pass it up. It’s a beautiful piece that really brings to mind the dual purpose of a Chinese sword – deadly and impressive to look upon.
The double-edged jian dates back to at least 500 BC, and probably further back than that. The lengths of the blades increased along with Chinese metallurgical technology, and from what I’ve been able to piece together, the blades grew narrower as time went on. Early jian, such as the Sword of Goujian, bear a resemblance to the gladius.
This sword is listed as a Tang dynasty jian. My Google-fu has failed to find any historical examples of Tang dynasty jians, so I can’t really comment on the historical accuracy.
I’m a beginner when it comes to cutting with a sword.
The sword shipped from Ryujin’s warehouse in Los Angeles, and since I live nearby, it arrived only a day or two after shipping. It came in a decorative box that I found to be pretty tacky, especially because the inside faux-silk lining covers up cheap foam.
When I opened the box, the sword took my breath away – it’s simply gorgeous. The decorative elements on the scabbard and handle are stunning. One of the red glass “gems” fell out as soon as I took the sword out of the box. This was easily fixed with a bit of super glue, and gentle taps with a hammer (covering the glass with several layers of cloth).
Most of the measurements are with a simple measuring tape, so they’re probably off by a small amount. I calculate the weight by weighing myself, then holding the sword and weighing again. I've included quick conversions to metric.
Blade length: 30 3/16” (~76.7 cm)
Handle length: 10” (25.4 cm)
Overall length: 40 3/4" (103.5 cm)
Guard width: 2 3/4" (~7 cm)
POB: 3 3/4” (9.5 cm)
Weight (blade only): 1.9 lbs (862 g)
Weight (blade + scabbard): 3.5 lbs (1.58 kg)
Distal taper: 0.269" (6.8 mm) at guard, 0.216" (5.5 mm) halfway up blade, 0.1595" (4.05 mm) near tip
65MN Spring Steel. Listed as hand forged, and the video of the sword bending to 45 degrees implies it has a spring temper, although I am NOT going to test that by bending my sword! I can flex the sword by hand a small amount, but it’s pretty stiff.
The sword came sharpened. Overall, it’s quite sharp, cutting paper easily. On one edge about 1/2 – 2/3 the way up the blade there’s a spot that tears paper rather than cutting – possibly a burr or slightly dull spot. It cuts through water bottles quite easily, even with my awful edge alignment skills.
There’s no actual pommel on this sword. A decorative element sits over the handle, but there’s definitely no peen or threaded nut.
The grip is made of wood with a very smooth finish. The oval design makes for a good grip. The decorative elements covering what I assume are the pins in the handle are a nice touch, although one of them has a loop-like metal piece that rattles around and does feel a little awkward when gripping the sword.
The scabbard is a beautiful piece, with a lot of metal decorative elements wrapped around a textured leather covering. Inside is a wood core. Sadly, the scabbard does a very poor job of holding the sword – it slides out with no resistance whatsoever.
This jian handles very easily one-handed, and feels like it’s barely there two-handed. It’s a very lively blade that flies through the air with ease.
It cuts bottles with ease. I presume the thinness of the blade means it won’t have a lot of cutting power on thicker targets, such as tatami mats, but I’m not skilled enough at cutting yet to spend the money on them.
The jian in the Tang dynasty was seen as the gentleman’s weapon, so the beauty of the sword was an important factor. This blade easily fulfills that requirement, and it’s quite the effective weapon as well. Although some of the metal decorative elements feel a little cheap when held, that shouldn’t be surprising at the price.
- Handles very well
- Cuts nicely
- Fit of the scabbard is very loose
- Metal decorative elements feel cheap
The Bottom Line
If you’re interested in a budget jian that looks great, I recommend this sword without reservation. The blade is of high quality for the price, and the decorative elements are quite beautiful. Ryujin’s budget Chinese weapons line is quite a bargain.