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19th C. Chinese Taoist Shuangjian Swords with Bagua or Trigram Pommel

( ID: cs1011 )

An exceptional pair of Chinese swords, dating to the mid 19th C. This pair, or shuangjian, features various design elements that can be attributed to a Taoist follower, particularly the Trigram or Bagua pommel.

The bagua (Chinese: 八卦; literally: "eight symbols") are eight trigrams used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. Each consists of three lines, each line either "broken" or "unbroken," representing yin or yang, respectively.

The trigrams are related to taiji philosophy, taijiquan and the wu xing, or "five elements". The relationships between the trigrams are represented in two arrangements, the Primordial (先天八卦), "Earlier Heaven" or "Fu Xi" bagua (伏羲八卦), and the Manifested (後天八卦), "Later Heaven," or "King Wen" bagua. The trigrams have correspondences in astronomy, astrology, geography, geomancy, anatomy, the family, and elsewhere.

It is highly uncommon to see Daoist symbology in Chinese swords of such clear distinction and the quality of this sword pair visible throughout from the fine chiseling of the dragon head crossguards to the carved buffalo horn grips. The scabbard is beautifully mounted with dyed green rayskin and finely chiseled brass mounts.  The blades are inlaid with the seven star motif.

Overall length is 28", blades are 21".

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