Thursday, February 26, 2009

Goujian Sword and Fu Chai Spear

In my previous post about the Sword of Goujian and the Spear of Fu Chai, I had mentioned that there will be more updates and photos on the subject of these two treasured artifacts from ancient China. In this and the next few posts I intend to do just that.

To recapitulate, both of the actual artifacts can be viewed at the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan.

Please refer to my earlier post for details of the museum display etc.

This is the famous Sword of Goujian which is more than 2500 years old. Despite the age, the sword is still gleaming and is very sharp.

There is an interesting story of how this particular sword came to be made for King Goujian. But I shall probably cover that in another post.

This is the reputed spear of King Fu Chai of Wu Kingdom who reigned from 495 BC to 473 BC. His father was King Helu who died from injuries he received in a battle against Goujian's Yue forces.

The spear has Fu Chai's name crafted on it.
It existed at the same time as the Sword of Goujian..making it more than 2500 years old too.
If you look closely at the mid section of the spear head, you can clearly see the groove running from the tip to the base of the head. This is what was known as a " blood groove...for the the blood of the victim to flow out after he has been speared.


OCENON said...

The groove was made for weight and strength not blood!

Nice photo hard to comy by.

unk Dicko said...

You may be right here...Ocenon.
What I described as 'blood groove'came from some sites describing it in those terms.
Thanks for the info!

jorgenric said...

Good find on the spear picture.

Apparently the "blood groove" is technically called a fuller. According to whomever has edited the wiki, the purpose of the feature can depend on the maker of the blade.

More interesting reading:

Made more interesting by the material composition of the blade, the context of which you can find here:

Anonymous said...

I may be wrong but i have always understood the purpose of a fuller to be to allow air to enter the wound thus preventing a weapon being difficult to remove due to suction.

Anonymous said...

Every sword buff I have met has said that that is the purpose of the groove, to prevent the sword from being stuck inside the person because the flesh and blood will literally close around the blade and create so much suction/pressure that it becomes extremely difficult to remove the blade from their stomach.

Anonymous said...

yes, especially for chest wound. This is taught in bladed martial arts still today such as arnis, where I first learned about it and how to prevent suction round the weapon. l wonder how the blade composition compares with the Katana? Does anybody have insight on this?

Robert said...

Well this essentially a bronze sword, a very well crafted one but basically a bronze sword. Katanas are steel, and so with their craftsmanship I'd expect the best katanas to be superior to the Sword of Goujian, however, I don't know specifics of the strength of Goujian's Sword. This makes it hard for me to say how it would stack up against more average katanas, or other iron/steel swords, as the Sword of Goujian is clearly an exceptional example of a bronze sword. But, I would at least expect exceptional steel swords, such as the Ulfberht swords, fine katanas, and blades of Damascus steel.