Diamond-patterned and turquoise inlayed, the ancient sword lay buried in a tomb hidden for over 2 millennia north of the Yangtze River.
A team of archeologists found a tomb amidst ground water – water which had flooded the tomb 2000 years ago. ( Scientists can tell these things). In the tomb was a skeleton, with a wooden box lieing next to the bones. It was 1965. One of the team members opened the box, to find a scabbard adorned with black lacquer. Excited, someone pulled out the ancient sword from its cover, which fit like a tight pair of kid-skin gloves.
The sword was shiny, beautiful, glistening. Light flashed of it’s pristine edges, inviting touch – the man who accepted the ancient sword’s invitation, found his fingers bleeding.
Untarnished, without a hint of rust, the sword came to light after over 2,000 years. The time of it’s creation – the Warring States which preceded Qin Shi – Huang’s unification of China – was identified by the eight characters engraved on the blade.
The swirling lines of Bird Script – one of the predecessors of modern day Chinese characters – said 越王勾践 自作用劍 –Yue Wang Gou Jian ( the state of) Yue King, ( named) Gou Jian – zi zuo yong jian – himself made use sword.
This could mean, the Yue king Gou Jian made the sword himself for his personal use, or it could mean, this sword was made for the personal use of King Gou Jian of Yue.
Blue crystals and turquoise line the sides of the ancient sword. Eleven concentric circles line the pommel, the hilt is is bound with silk. The sword was, and still is, exceptionally sharp, rumoured to be able to cut through swads of paper, certainly sharp enough to cut the hand of the man who took it out of it’s long slumber.
This remarkable, pristine, supremely sharp, expertly decorated, bronze sword of the ancients – The Untarnished Sword of King Gou Jian of Yue, was buried for two millennia in the heartlands of the Yangtze. Experts have analysed its metallic structure, its component parts. It’s mainly a bronze alloy, with aluminium, iron and nickel thrown in. The beautiful engravings were done with sulfide cuprum. Despite humid weather and burial in a water-logged tomb, the sword did not rust. I wish King Gou Jian’s metal-workers would hop aboard this Spaceship and bring their magic chemicals to rust-proof my car!
This video is only five and a half minutes long. If you have that time to spare, watch it – you’ll see more of this remarkable sword with its turquoise, its pommel, its exquisite patterning….