There seems to be a discernable trend during the early Ming period for jian guards to be rounded in profile, and to
be decorated with the facial features of the lion or those of some other unidentified mythical creatures.
This Ming stylistic feature could also be seen on jians manufactured as recently as the 1920s-30s, during which
Chinese "Longquan" swordsmiths had produced large numbers of jians equipped with such fittings...
Left to Right:
1) The Ming Imperial Presentation Jian (featured earlier) with a lion face
2) Early 1400s Ming period jian , presently in the collection of a Chinese museum
3) Another early 1400s Ming period jian, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
4) Republican era (1920s-30s) "Longquan" jian.