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Imperial swords and sabers preserved in the Musee De Armee in Paris
and the Forbidden City Palace Museum in Beijing:

The first 4 groups of pictures are courtesy of Alex Huangfu of

Above: Personal saber of Emperor Kangxi (ruled 1662-1723), with an unusually broad blade and bronze fittings decorated with archaic dragon motifs. The handle is long enough for a 2-handed grip.

Above: An exquisite royal saber with intricate flowery patterns on the scabbard and beautiful Indian diaper patterns on the fittings made from "koftgari" gold inlay... The floral patterns are definitely reminiscent of Indian / Persian tastes...

Above: 2 royal swords with fittings decorated with animalistic motifs commonly seen on the bronze artwork of the Shang Dynasty, Spring and Autumn, and Warring States Periods...

Above: Emperor Qianlong's sword with rayskin-covered handle and fittings decorated with precious stones... One side of the blade almost entirely consists of gold metalwork depicting a dragon....

Above: Another of Emperor Qianlong's swords with fittings adorned with pearls and precious stones. The name of this weapon is inscribed on the blade -- "Shen Feng" or "Divine Edge"......

Above: Emperor Qianlong's jian. The iron fittings are decorated with gold, with a scabbard covered with rayskin tinted in red, a non-traditional colour. If I'm not wrong, the fish motifs on the fittings represent the carp, a symbol of prosperity and abundance...

Above: Emperor Kangxi's personal 2-handed saber, preserved in a Buddhist temple. Note the "tunkou" in the form of a golden dragon. The blade is similar to the blades used by some minority tribes in Yunnan Province and most likely (as Philip Tom postulates) was a gift from these peoples to the Emperor or a Chinese copy made in the Imperial Workshops. Check out the "qilin" or "Chinese unicorn" depicted on the fittings on the handle and scabbard.

Above and Below: Emperor Qianlong's series of sabers with jade handles of various designs...