The rise of great powers behind the sword of Fu Chai, king of Wu

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Wu King fuchai sword returns to Suzhou for 2500 years

Recently, the Suzhou Museum announced that 58 pieces of Taiwan’s “Guyue Pavilion” old bronze weapons collected by the Suzhou Municipal People’s government with an investment of 42.5 million yuan will be publicly displayed in the museum from December 18 to March 22, 2015. It is understood that 31 of them were generously donated by Wang Zhenhua and Wang Shuhua, the owners of the “ancient Yue Pavilion”, and the other 27 pieces of Wu weapons were sold for friendship. One of them, the Wu King fuchai sword, known as the “eldest brother of Wu”, is the best preserved of the 9 known Wu King fuchai swords, which can be called a national treasure.

“Every time we touch it, we are careful. It is really too sharp. If we are not careful, our fingers will be cut.” Chengyi, assistant curator of Suzhou Museum and director of the cultural relics collection Committee, introduced that the Wu King fuchai sword collected in Suzhou Museum this time is 58.3cm long, 5cm wide, 5.5cm wide and 9.4cm long.

He told the reporter that among the known Wu Wang fuchai swords, this one is the most intact, and other swords were incomplete when they were unearthed. This handle is also the longest, and others are about 40 cm long.

According to Cheng Yi, its body is wide and long, with a layer of blue thin rust on it. The blade is extremely sharp. It can be called cutting iron like mud, blowing hair and breaking hair. “Before that, collectors had done experiments. They put a piece of A4 paper on the table. When no one pressed the white paper, the sword blade just scratched on the paper, and the paper was immediately cut in two.”

In addition, the body of the sword is obviously narrowed near the edge, and the double edges are curved. The case of the sword is in an inverted concave shape, decorated with animal face patterns and inlaid with turquoise. One side has been lost. There are two lines of cross inscriptions on the near grid of the sword body: “Wang fuchai, the assassin of Wu, used it in Yuan Dynasty.”



The mystery of bronze sword casting

Among the Wu and Yue bronze swords, the king of Wu and the king of Yue are the most remarkable. Fuchai sword, king of Wu, is 58 cm long. The front is introverted. There are blood grooves in the two clusters. The ridge and edge of the sword are obvious. There is a cast inscription near the grid: “attack wangfuchai, and use it from the beginning.”. The case of the sword is decorated with animal face patterns and inlaid with turquoise, slightly falling off. The stem has double hoops. The yuetu Goujian sword, which came out of Jiangling, Hubei Province, is 56 cm long. The front edge is restrained in a two degree arc posture. There are blood grooves in two clusters. The body of the sword is covered with diamond dark flower patterns. The bird seal inscription: “yuetu dock shallow (Goujian) self action (sword)” is found near the grid. Both sides of the grid are inlaid with blue glass and turquoise. The stem is equipped with double hoops. The head end of the sword is decorated with a very narrow concentric circle. This sword is well preserved and bright as new. The sharp blade is still sharp. It can easily cut copper, lead and paper. [details]

* the two bronze swords are similar in shape and system, representing the highest level of bronze swords in Wu and Yue regions, and can be called national treasures. So, how is such a beautiful and sharp sword forged?

* the tin content of 10% is a dividing line. Whether it is exceeded or not, the difficulty is very different. It is estimated that the tin content of the unearthed Yue king sword is as high as 17% ~ 19%. How did the ancients do it?

From the long Western Zhou Dynasty to the early spring and Autumn period, Wu was located in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and was an unknown barbarian country; However, since the middle of the spring and Autumn period, Wu gradually became powerful and became the king. In addition, it broke through the strong Chu in the west, threatened the Qi and Jin in the north, and subdued the Yue people in the south. It dominated the southeast and became one of the five hegemons in the spring and Autumn period. As a small country located in the southeast, which has always been regarded as a wild land, in just a few decades, it was able to compete with Qi, Chu and other big countries and achieve hegemony. In addition to political factors, from a material point of view, it played an important role in Wu’s leap from a small barbarian country to a hegemony at the end of the spring and Autumn period by innovating bronze weapons and giving full play to the advantages of Navy and infantry. After a series of innovations in the middle and late spring and Autumn period, the bronze sword of the state of Wu played an extremely important role in the naval and infantry operations of the state of Wu.

The state of Wu is dominated by water troops and infantry. Soldiers have many opportunities for close combat. Most of the weapons are short soldiers for infantry. Wearing a sword and holding a spear is the basic configuration of the weapons of the state of Wu. Most of the bronze swords in the Wu and Yue areas come from river waters, which is a reflection of the two countries’ water warfare. Many weapons were unearthed and collected from the reclamation project of Luyang lake, the capital of the river, which the state of Wu went north to fight for hegemony over Han. From the shape of the sword, it can be seen that they should be the cultural relics of the state of Wu in the spring and Autumn period. A large number of bronze swords and other bronze weapons have been unearthed in the rivers around the suburbs of Suzhou and in the waters of Taihu Lake, the main battlefield of Wu Yue hegemony, such as the bronze sword unearthed in Dongshan Taihu Lake, the bronze dagger unearthed in langdachuan, Wujiang Wanping, the weapons unearthed in Hengjing, Wuxian County, the agricultural tools unearthed in the Fengmen river of Suzhou, and the bronze hoards in the northeast of the city. It can be seen that the state of Wu made full use of its advantages in water warfare and chose to fight from the north by water.

The sword has always been called “the emperor of hundreds of soldiers”. The oldest “ancestor” in the sword family is the bronze sword. From the short as a dagger in the Shang Dynasty to the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, the bronze sword created by the sword casting masters in Wu and Yue has reached the perfect state of combining hardness and softness. Its smelting technology has been ahead of the Western European continent for nearly a thousand years, and its exquisite skills are still amazing to the world. [details]

Compound sword: the peak work of long bronze sword

In the bronze age, copper tin alloy was used to cast swords. If there was more tin, the swords would be sharp but easy to break; If there is less tin, the flexibility of the sword will be significantly increased, but the attack power will be greatly reduced. In order to solve this problem, the composite sword, the peak of the bronze sword casting process, came into being.

Dark grid pattern sword is the most noble

In the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, with the continuous improvement of sword casting technology, the scholar bureaucrats began to wear swords. They paid more attention to the decoration of the bronze sword. Gilding, gold and silver inlaying and other decorative means were applied to the bronze sword. A good bronze sword is somewhat similar to today’s luxury goods, showing the identity and status of the owner. Such a bronze sword is not only a weapon, but also a ritual weapon.

Don’t rashly “maintain” the bronze sword

Do not rashly “maintain” the bronze sword. The rust and damage on the bronze sword are actually very important historical information. Do not transform and clean according to your own ideas. Keep the original appearance and avoid secondary damage to cultural relics.

The bronze sword of “local fraud” is the most confusing

Most of the surviving bronze swords are plain swords without any words or decorations. Therefore, people with ulterior motives engraved inscriptions on them to achieve the effect of ‘value-added’. The inscriptions on the bronze sword are usually thin, and most people are not very familiar with the seal characters, so this way of fraud is very deceptive.

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