The Long Sword and Scabbard Slide in Asia by William Trousdale

By William Trousdale

Bargains with the foundation, improvement and diffusion of the lengthy equestrian sword and its specific suspension machine.

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Throughout the Western Han, development of the Grain Class slides is to be noted chiefly in the subtle alterations of profile. T h e decor itself gives little hint of these changes beyond the fact that the comma-spiral of Late Eastern Chou is replaced by the knob grain, and that those slides with squared grains and those with "stepped-T" patterns of incised lines point to the earlier rather than later part of the period. 22). T h e grain pattern is inherently the simplest of the three principal classes of decor, its potential for continued dynamic variation less than that of cither the Geometric or Hydra Class.

80 Of the ten swords of Late Eastern Chou date found, or associated, with scabbard slides, seven of the swords were bronze while only two were iron, and one combined an iron blade with a bronze hilt. 1 had wholly decomposed, but is presumed to have been iron. The ratio is quite reversed in Western Han. Of the nineteen swords found, or associated, with slides, only two are of bronze while seventeen are of iron. 88 All of the iron swords are tanged, double-edged types. 6) , were provided with jade guards of essentially the same form.

Below the aperture, the upper plate is extended further than on Late Eastern Chou Grain slides, curving inward at the lower end less than ninety degrees and cut off squarely to form a blunt ridge. T h e aperture henceforward never intrudes into the area of the upper plate, but is always projected inward from the underside of the upper plate. There is a general tendency for the aperture to become longer, harmonious in proportion to the expanding length of the slide, though there is no clear correlation in this relationship.

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