Swords with Scabbard Mounts

Date: ca. 600

Culture: Chinese

Medium: Iron, bronze, gold, silver, wood

Dimensions: 30.65.1: L. 39 1/4 in. (99.7 cm); 30.65.2: L. 40 1/4 in. (102.2 cm)

Classification: Swords

Credit Line: 30.65.1: Gift of George D. Pratt, 1930; 30.65.2: Gift of Clarence H. Mackay, 1930

Accession Number: 30.65.1, .2


These swords are said to have been found in an imperial tomb at Mang Shan, near Luoyang, Henan Province. The P-shaped scabbard mounts, which probably derive from the long swords worn in West and Central Asia by the nomadic Sarmatian and Sasanian horsemen, allowed the weapon to hang at an angle and served as a prototype for the Japanese tachi (slung sword). The ring pommel on one sword encloses a phoenix head and on the other takes the form of two confronted dragons.