Jin-Shi Chinese Swords
JIN SHI SWORDS AT A GLANCE
||Primarily T10 Tool Steel blades, fittings are brass or iron, Ebony and rosewood used in handles and scabbards|
||Most Sharpened, some specified as non-sharpened iaito|
||$200 to $700|
Though extremely popular in movies, pop culture and the martial arts, Chinese swords have always been slightly less popular than Japanese or European models among collectors. The Chinese designs that are available in the market are enjoyed by many, but there seems to be a popular belief that they are less suited for combat than sword from other cultures. The common perception of Chinese swords seems to be that they are thin, rather flimsy, and used with very flashy (but ineffective) moves.
This is a misconception that Chinese sword collector turned sword designer Garrett Chan has resolved to change.
From the man himself:
"As a sword collector, I saw the relative abundance of quality European and Japanese swords. I wondered why, despite the popularity of Chinese martial arts, there was such a misrepresentation of Chinese swords. Everything I saw was a fantasy design, so light and flimsy you could wear it as a belt, or so heavy that no sane person would want to use it...with variations in between. It's been that way since Wushu (a contemporary performance oriented art) became a widespread phenomenon. The techniques in Wushu called for light swords that made sounds and moved noticeably. Since then thin bladed flexible swords have become the norm for Chinese martial arts. In fact it's been that way for so long that some people believe that those are what Chinese swords actually are like! I can't even begin to count how many people have been surprised by the fact that a jian can sever limbs with ease. I believe that now is the time to reverse that trend."
Chan has, with this in mind, started the Jin-Shi Trading Co., a manufacturer of Chinese swords based on actual ancient designs.
Using antiques as a starting point in terms of weight, balance and geometry, Chan designs modern recreations with exacting standards. He not only uses antiques for his designs, but period-accurate writings as well (including a Ming Dynasty military manual). Some of the antiques that Jin-Shi low and mid range swords are based on are actually in Chan's personal collection, so they are reproduced accurately down to the fittings! The higher end swords are based on other antiques that are in much larger (and more expensive) collections elsewhere in the world. He has decided, though, to have some modern interpretations of the fittings and style, allowing for contemporary influence in form without losing the historically accurate functionality
Warranty info: Ten Thousand Year Warranty:
"In Imperial China, we would be subject to cruel and unusual punishment if our swords failed on the battlefield. In the 21st century, we offer a lifetime guarantee on sword failure. Our guarantee is transferable and is valid as long as Jin Shi is around to honour it. We do not anticipate going out of business any time soon."
MAIN PRODUCT LINES
Jin Shi focuses on Chinese Swords targeted to people who simply want a sword that functions, feels, and looks like a sword that would have been used back in the good old days - at a reasonable price. Something that a man or woman could trust to do the job when necessary.
Product offerings include various swords that they feel are representative of the specific time period. Custom work is accepted on a per case basis.
Entry level and medium end swords will be primarily made from T10 Tool steel, with 56/57 HRC and a semi-mirror hand polish. The medium end swords will be the same, but with cast fittings, better mirror polish and high end woodwork. High end swords will be forge folded steel (1050, 1065) with a hardness of 56/57 HRC for cutting edge, low 40's HRC for parrying surfaces. There will also be a host of other options, including mirror polish/waterstone polish option and more.
More details to follow as their website is updated.
At this point in time, there are no known issues with Jin-Shi swords. However, this is because it is such a new company! As this is Mr. Chans first foray into swordmaking, it is likely there will be some kinks to iron out, so there may be issues that will arise. Only time will tell how the modern takes on ancient Chinese designs will pan out, but many in the collecting community have been awaiting these swords with bated breath... so there will certainly be plenty of people to test them in the early days!
What's YOUR experience with this brand?
Do you own one of the swords made by this company? Or know any good stories or information not covered here? Share it!
What Other Visitors Have Said
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Jin Shi swords
As far as I understand, Jin Shi do not make their own swords. They are called "Trading Corporation" and they retail the swords made by other sword makers. …
I have a Jian from Jin-Shi. I own several other swords of varying types, and some are Chinese. The thing is when anyone wants to know which is my favorite, …
Jin-Shi Dragon motif custom jian
Dealing with Garrett was a pleasure. With his advice and assistance (I being an utter novice), a jian of the proper weight and size was selected and ordered. …
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