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Chinese names for every part of your jian.

parts of a sword, jian

The picture above shows parts of a sword with both Chinese and English names. Most people who practice Chinese swordsmanship don't need to know these terms and are content with knowing the difference between the blade, guard and pommel. It's nice to have a reference to the more technical terms, just in case you might need them one day, so I've enjoyed researching this little dictionary for the Chinese Swords Guide. Some of these parts of a sword actually have up to three Chinese names. I've only included the most commonly used.

Pommel - JIANTAN The pommel is used for balance and for holding the hilt onto the tang.

Guard - HUSHOU The guard of a jian provides some measure of protection for the hand - not much in the case of the jian. It has two short ears or quillions which angle up towards the hand.

Grip - JIANBA A jian grip is long enough for one and a half hands.

Spine - JIANJI The spine is the ridge running down the center of a jian blade.

Tip - JIANFENG The tip, by this definition is the first zone of the blade - about 5 centimentres.

Point of tip - JIAN JIAN'ER The tip by this definition in Chinese is the point. Some jian had more rounded points. This probably has more to do with use and resharpening than anything else.

Blade - JIANTI This just means the whole length of the blade.

Forte - JIANGEN The top fifth of the blade near the guard. It is the strongest place for deflection.

Middle of the blade - ZHONGREN Everything that isn't the Jianfeng or the Jiangren.

Edge - JIANREN Both edges are known by this term but each edge also has its own name.

Top Edge - SHANGREN The top edge is the thumb edge, even if you are cutting upside down. This is known in European styles as the false edge.

Lower edge - XIAREN The lower edge in front of where the fingers of the hand are gripping. Also known as the leading edge.

Scabbard - JIANQIAO The casing for protecting the blade when not in use.

Tassel - JIANPAO There is a hole in the grip or pommel of a jian for the tassel or lanyard. All parts of a sword are there for a reason. The tassel was probably used as a lanyard, although it may also have had an offensive purpose.

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