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Traditional Chinese swords are divided into Jian and Dao. Jian first appeared in the 13th century BC, while Dao appeared in the Song Dynasty of China (960-1279). Both types of swords have played a key role in the country's history, providing fighters with the weapons needed to defend the land from invading forces. But although there are some common characteristics, Jian and Dao are two unique swords. So, what is the difference between Jian and Dao?
Straight and Scimitar
As shown in the photo here, Jian has a straight blade. This is one of the salient features of this traditional Chinese sword style. All Jian have a straight blade, which runs vertically and does not bend to any side. In contrast, all or most Dao have a restricted blade.
Initially, all Chinese swords, including Jian, were designed with straight blades. However, Chinese swordsman soon discovered that the use of curved blades can achieve excellent versatility. The blade is bent, and swords and similar swords can bend slightly under pressure to protect them from injury. This eventually paved the way for newer and more effective swords, and some even believed that curved Chinese swords like Tao influenced Japanese sword practice and paved the way for world-renowned swords like katana and wakizashi.
Single-edged and double-edged blades
Another major difference between Chinese Dao and Jian is that the former has a single-edged blade while the latter has a double-edged blade. In other words, both ends of Jian's blade were sharpened extremely sharply. With Dao, only one end of the blade is sharpened. The other end of the blade remains dull.
With two sides instead of one, Tao is more difficult to maintain. The samurai were forced to sharpen two edges, not just one. In addition, the use of two blades increases the risk of damage to the sword on impact. This prompted the Chinese swordsman to invent Dao featuring a single-edged blade.
To recap, there are two main differences between Chinese Tao and sword. Jian is a straight blade and Dao is a curved blade. The Jian blade has two blades, and the Dao blade has a single blade. There are countless different types of Jian and Dao, but they all have these defining characteristics.