The Weapon That Defied Time; The Ancient Sword of Goujian

Kane Khanh
30/07/2023

Crafted more than 2,000 years ago, there is not a single trace of rust on the sword and it remains as sharp as the day it was crafted.

The sword of Goujian was crafted more than 2,000 years ago by an exceptional weaponsmith in China. Found more than two millennia later, archeologists were baffled to find that the sword’s blade was as sharp as the day it was first crafted, showing no signs of tarnish whatsoever. An archeological mission excavated the item during excavations of fifty ancient tombs belonging to the period of the Springs and Autumns (722 to 481 BC) in China’s Hubei Province.

The Goujian sword at the Hubei Provincial Museum. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The Goujian sword at the Hubei Provincial Museum. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

While the ancient tombs reveal a plethora of ancient artifacts, one of those tombs was decorated by a sensational weapon whose structure and sharpness had not been changed despite being crafted more than 2,000 years ago. The item was recovered from the tomb and eventually moved to the Hubei Provincial Museum, carefully sheltered in a virtually airtight lacquered wooden box.

Unlike any other

Measuring 55.6 cm long and weighing 875 grams, the ancient weapon was a true ancient masterpiece manufactured with an alloy of copper and Tin.

The handle of the time-defying sword. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The handle of the time-defying sword. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

It was intricately decorated with both blue and turquoise crystals, and covered with ancient ideograms. The gilt was wrapped in silk moorings, while 11 concentric circles formed the weapons knob. The exact meaning of the symbols carved on the sword was unclear. However, scholars in the traditional Chinese language eventually deciphered the inscriptions and translated their meaning.

The sword is as sharp as it was more than 2,000 years ago. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The sword is as sharp as it was more than 2,000 years ago. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The sword belonged to King Goujian (496 – 465 BC) and was referred to as the Goujian Sword. With no rust on it, the scholar studying it could not believe the sword’s condition after more than 2,000 years. Its blade was as sharp as day one, almost as if time had not affected the sword.

It is likely that the chemical composition, along with the almost airtight scabbard, led to the exceptional state of preservation. Its unprecedented quality, intricate decoration, and rich history saved a spot for this formidable, time-defying weapon in the list of the most exotic and rare swords ever discovered in China.

Damage t

Even though the artifact remained nearly untouched for 2,000 years, in 1994, the Sword of Goujian was loaned for an exhibition in Singapore and damaged. As the sword was being removed from its case, the person in charge knocked the weapon, causing a 7mm-long crack to appear on the sword. Since the incident, China has not allowed the sword to be removed from the country.

Related posts