Sunday, November 25, 2007

If you ever need inspiration for a magic weapon...

...take a page from the PRC:

"The Sword of Goujian (Traditional Chinese:越王勾踐劍 , Simplified Chinese: 越王勾践剑) is an archaeological artifact of the Spring and Autumn Period found in 1965 in Hubei, China. Renowned for its sharpness and resilience to tarnish, it is a first-level protected artifact of the People's Republic of China currently in the possession of Hubei Museum."

"In 1965, while performing archaeological survey along the second main aqueduct of the Zhang River Reservoir in Jingzhou, Hubei, more than 50 ancient tombs of the Chu State were found in Jiangling County. The dig started from the middle of October in 1965, ending in January, 1966. More than 2000 artifacts were recovered from the sites, the most interesting of which was a bronze sword."

"In December, 1965, 7km away from the ruins of Jinan, an ancient capital of Chu, a casket was discovered in Wangshan site #1. Inside, an ornate sword was found on the left of a human skeleton."

"The sword was found sheathed in a wooden black lacquer scabbard. The scabbard had an almost air-tight fit with the sword body. Unsheathing the sword revealed an untarnished blade, despite the tomb being soaked in underground water for over two thousand years. A simple test conducted by the archaeologists showed that the blade could still easily cut a stack of 20 pieces of paper."

"On one side of the blade, two columns of text were visible. In total there are eight characters written in an ancient script. The script was found to be the one called "鸟虫文" (literally "text of birds and worms"), a variant of zhuan that is very difficult to read. Initial analysis of the text deciphered six of the characters, "越王" (King of Yue) and "自作用剑" (made for (his) personal use)."

"The remaining two characters were likely the name of this King of Yue. From its birth in 510 BC, to its demise at the hands of Chu in 334 BC, nine kings ruled Yue, including Goujian, Lu Cheng, Bu Shou, Zhu Gou, etc. The exact identity of this king sparked an active discussion/debate among archeologists and Chinese language scholars. The discussion was carried out mostly in letters, and it involved famous scholars such as Guo Moruo. After more than two months of exchange, the experts started to form a consensus that the original owner of the sword was none other than Goujian, the King of Yue made famous by his perseverance in time of hardship. So the entirety of the text reads "越王勾践 自作用剑", meaning "(Belonging to) King Goujian of Yue, made for (his) personal use)".

"The Sword of Goujian is 55.6 cm (21.9 in) in length, including a 10 cm (3.9 in) hilt. The blade is 5 cm (2 in) wide. In addition to the repeating dark rhombi pattern on both sides of the blade, there are also decorations made of blue crystals and turquoise. The grip of the sword is bound by silk, while the pommel is composed of 11 concentric circles."

(Information from Wikipedia--full site is: )

Nothing like a 2500 year old sword that still has a sharp edge, and hasn't tarnished in over two milennia. Madness!

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