“Fifty year ago, a rare and unusual sword was found in a tomb in China. Despite being well over 2,000 years old, the sword, known as the Goujian, did not have a single trace of rust. The blade drew blood when an archeologist tested his finger on its edge, seemingly unaffected by the passage of time. Besides this strange quality, the craftsmanship was highly detailed for a sword made such a long time ago. Regarded as a state treasure in China today, the sword is as legendary to the Chinese people as King Arthur’s Excalibur in the West.” (Ancient-Origins.net)
I stumbled across this interesting article about a pretty incredible jian sword, a double-edged straight sword, quite different from the later dao sword, a slashing weapon descended from the southeast Asian dha.
As mentioned above, it is both an early and extraordinarily well-preserved jian. It is of cast bronze, with a tin-edge, along with traces of lead, iron, and sulfur compounds which are believed to contribute to the blade’s corrosion resistance.
“Researchers analyzed ancient bronze shards in the hope of finding a way to replicate the technology used to create the sword. They found that the sword is resistant to oxidation as a result of sulphation on the surface of the sword. This, combined with an air-tight scabbard, allowed the legendary sword to be found in such pristine condition.
Tests also show that the sword-smiths of the Wu and Yue regions in Southern China during the Spring and Autumn Period reached such a high level of metallurgy that they were able to incorporate rust-proof alloys into their blades, helping them survive the ages relatively unblemished.
It is a really interesting article (and site in general). Read the whole thing.