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Tuanlian jian...


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Hi folks..

 

Here is a project I'm finishing up. It's based on a Qing period 'militia jian' that was sold by Seven Stars Trading company a number of years ago and I was grabbed by it's rustic simplicity. Not a lot is known about these militia jian (or tuanlian jian as called by Scott Rodell the taichi jian swordsman) but it is assumed that they were stored in a village armoury and dolled out in times of war. They are certainly what you would call 'munition grade' and so far none have been found with scabbards. The example I found would be considered very highly made for this class.. and also much longer. Most were more in the range of 25".

 

So I wanted to make a version that was true to form in terms of hilt construction and handling.... but with a more contemporary feel to the overall finish. The blades on these were typically very 'lumpy' and poorly finished even if they were very well built in other respects. Many of them bore the seven star constellation theme on the blade in the form of brass plugged holes.. a powerful talisman in Chinese martial culture.

 

Mine has a 29" 5160 blade, wrought iron fittings and Castellian boxwood grip. Here are some pictures:

 

The original sword:

 

 

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I have lots of build pictures on my website: http://www.bigrockforge.com/a-tuan-lian-or-militia-jian/

As well as availability information. This sword is being sent to Scott Rodell for test cutting and handling evaluation. He is a scholar of the Chinese sword and an accomplished taichi jian swordsman and has handled an inordinate number of jian.. so it will be very valuable feedback for me.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

 

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I forgot to post specs: 1 pound 14 ounces and POB of 6.5 inches from guard. Many of these had a POB as much as 8 inches.. but I wanted mine to handle a little less clumsily. I actually have plans to make another version of this sword that would be considered more exact in terms of finish and balance. There is some interest amongst those who practice Chinese swordsmanship to compare the handling and cutting characteristics of these blades to the more finely built and balanced 'literati' jian.

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Beautiful work! I love the dragon, your efforts at carving are certainly paying off.

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Nice! Got to love that wrought.

What is your source for boxwood, if you don't mind me asking?

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Thanks for comments everybody!

 

Nice! Got to love that wrought.

What is your source for boxwood, if you don't mind me asking?

Collin... This isn't true boxwood (Buxus spp.) This is Castello boxwood which is pretty easy to get from woodworking companies like Woodcraft or Rockler.. or any place that sells turning wood. It is a South American species with similar characteristics. Sort of. It is very lovely stuff.. but not quite as magical as real boxwood .. although it does take carving detail just as well. True boxwood is pretty hard to find... I've been lucky with gifts. If anybody else wants to throw out their boxwood sources I would welcome them myself.

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Thanks for comments everybody!

 

Collin... This isn't true boxwood (Buxus spp.) This is Castello boxwood which is pretty easy to get from woodworking companies like Woodcraft or Rockler.. or any place that sells turning wood. It is a South American species with similar characteristics. Sort of. It is very lovely stuff.. but not quite as magical as real boxwood .. although it does take carving detail just as well. True boxwood is pretty hard to find... I've been lucky with gifts. If anybody else wants to throw out their boxwood sources I would welcome them myself.

Ah, I see. I'll try to find some of that, then. My efforts to find boxwood have been... futile. <_< If this variety carves just as well, I'll have to look into it. Thanks!

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nice! I have never had the juevos to make a forged guard on a jian. I applaud the courage and the outcome. Philip Tom scared me away from them a long time ago (although there is another story there that I won't post here). Still, the point is, that is a great example of our craft. Love it.

 

By the way, do you know the Chinese term for horimono?

 

great.

kc

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nice! I have never had the juevos to make a forged guard on a jian. I applaud the courage and the outcome. Philip Tom scared me away from them a long time ago (although there is another story there that I won't post here). Still, the point is, that is a great example of our craft. Love it.

 

By the way, do you know the Chinese term for horimono?

 

great.

kc

Thanks Kevin! For me these forged guards are a lot of fun.

 

I'm not sure on the horimono term.. but I would think the characters would be similar??

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That's killer Scott, as a jian enthusiast I salute your efforts! Nice dragon, too.

Edited by Salem Straub
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I was never much of a Jian fan, but between you and Kevin, are making a rapid convert of me. Everything about this sword is clean and understated in the best possible way.

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T

I was never much of a Jian fan, but between you and Kevin, are making a rapid convert of me. Everything about this sword is clean and understated in the best possible way.

Thanks Wes. Well I have to admit.. in a very humbling way.. that my own interest in jians came with the Green Destiny sword of 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'. I still love that movie and I love watching the graceful 'Wushu' style swordsmanship with those flimsy blades. But I've since learned about a whole new world in this genre... and it does not include flimsy blades. :-)

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