Sword of King Zhezhi Yushi of Yue

Warring States period (475–221 bc)

Length overall 52.4 cm, Width of guard 5 cm, Width of tip 3.6 cm

One of the museum’s Top Ten Treasures ‘A sword forged by the Yue people gives off an icy lustre once extracted

from its sheath’ (Cao Pi, 187–116). During the Spring and Autumn period, Yue was famous among the feudal states for the workmanship of its bronze weapons. This sword, which remains intact, has a golden sheen and sharp edges. It is accompanied by a black-lacquered sheath, which is so shiny that it looks like new. The silk strings tied around the hilt are also well preserved, which is not the case on any other sword of the Yue king unearthed or handed down till the present. The guard bears on both sides eight characters in the ‘bird-and-insect script’, with turquoise inlaid among them. Together with King Goujian’s sword, this is acclaimed as one of the two greatest Yue swords. (Zeng Zhaoming)