48.7 x 4.0cm overall; 40.0cm blade; 8.7cm handle
The object has features of a classic Chinese sword of the period from late Spring & Autumn (770-476 BCE) to Warring States dynasties (475-221 BCE). The long blade has a central edge on both sides, and the lower third is narrow to form a slender ogive. The blades are nearly rhombic in section. The guard is broad and thicker than the blade, and is decorated with geometric ornaments, originally heightened by incrusted turquoise particles (now missing). From a saddle between the rounded shoulders of the guard, the stout, solid handle rises with two ring-rolls and a pommel in the shape of a generally conical disk.
This type of sword made its appearance around 500 BCE. It was probably around the beginning of the Han dynasty that bronze swords had gone out of fashion (outnumbered by iron ones).
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 15 October 2002.