• Fri. Mar 31st, 2023

Ancient Chinese Coin Swords: Demon Fighting Weapons of the East


Dec 25, 2022

Some of the fascinating discoveries from historic China are coin swords. Coin swords, often known as money swords, are an historic sort of feng shui talisman that has been round for the reason that Qing dynasty. These distinctive swords, whereas giant and complicated, weren’t utilized in bodily fights with others. As an alternative, Chinese language coin swords have been used to thrust back evil and are regularly nonetheless utilized in Daoist rituals.

A Chinese language coin sword-shaped talisman constructed from Qing dynasty period money cash on show on the Museum of Ethnography, Sweden. (Etnografiska Museet /  CC BY 2.5 )

Coin Swords: Highly effective Daoist Demon Fighters

Though it’s not totally clear when the primary Chinese language coin sword was crafted, legend holds that the primary one was created someday between the twenty sixth and twenty fourth centuries BC. It’s believed that they have been created throughout the reign of the  Yellow Emperor , certainly one of China’s mythological emperors and  Daoist patron saints. Across the seventh century BC, these fascinating coin swords grew to become related to the notion that they may very well be used to struggle evil spirits. Nonetheless, this info was not but widespread and was solely practiced in small communities.

Huangdi Temple – Statue of Huangdi, the “Yellow Emperor” (Gary Todd /  Public Domain )

These swords grew to become rather more common over a millennium later, throughout the  Liu Song dynasty . At this level, coin swords have been getting used repeatedly in spiritual rituals. Daoists used these swords of their rituals probably the most, absolutely believing that they have been the important thing to driving out  evil spirits . Believers within the swords unfold the phrase that demons and different evil entities have been frightened of the swords due to  Zhong Kui , a  Daoist deity . Zhong Kui was often called the vanquisher of evil beings, and usually wielded a sword to slay these entities. Younger Daoists have been taught handcraft these money swords rapidly to guard themselves and their family members from these spirits. Later, swords typically had extra components, comparable to astrological engravings, to present them extra religious energy. 

Zhong Kui, the demon queller, is seen waving his sword at 5 bats representing the 5 blessings, as if symbolically bringing these fortunes all the way down to somebody as recipient, depicted in a late nineteenth or early twentieth century xylograph ( Public Domain )

Daoist rituals nonetheless use Chinese language coin swords repeatedly of their practices. In some rituals, a  Daoist priest  will wrap a crimson material across the hilt of the sword to convey its full religious energy out. In houses, each actual and duplicate money swords may be hung up within the dwelling above beds, doorways, home windows, or some other space of entry or vulnerability to maintain evil away. Evil spirits that see a coin sword in a constructing won’t enter out of worry that Zhong Kui will use it to destroy them. 

Daoists consider that probably the most highly effective swords are these crafted from cash produced throughout the  Qing dynasty . A few of these cash have the title Kangxi Tongbao inscribed on them, as this emperor reigned for a whole cycle of the Chinese language calendar (60 years!). Cash swords produced together with his title are thought-about to be stronger, attributable to their affiliation with longevity. Plus, the title Kangxi interprets into ‘prosperity’ and ‘good well being,’ which solely additional strengthens the importance of those swords.

A coin sword talisman constructed from Qing Dynasty-based imitation money cash. (Donald Trung /  CC BY SA 4.0 )

What Makes a Highly effective Demon-Combating Coin Sword?

Coin swords have a singular composition to make them work correctly. Usually, the sword can be product of cash wrapped round an iron rod as a sturdy basis. If the coin sword was significantly giant, it could have a core of two iron rods to make it stronger. The  Chinese coins  would then be certain collectively by string, twine, or wire and wrapped across the iron core. Each element of the sword issues, together with colour. More often than not, the twine or wire holding the cash collectively can be crimson or gold, as these have been typically colours signifying royalty.

Chinese language coin swords weren’t simply randomly crafted. Most of them have been product of a set variety of cash, in order that they may very well be simply replicated sooner or later. A common coin sword would usually be product of 18 cash on the blade, 10 on the hilt, 6 on the deal with, and a pair of across the deal with butt. The sword would even be 3 cash thick in all areas to make it sturdier. Doing the mathematics, meaning these swords have been usually constructed with a minimum of 108 copper-alloy Chinese language cash. 

Shut-up of a coin sword hilt (wrea90 /  CC BY SA 4.0 )

On common, these coin swords are round 2 toes (0.6 meters) in size and 1-2 kilos (0.45-0.9 kilograms) in weight. Nonetheless, the burden may very well be extra, relying on the varieties of cash used and the general measurement of the sword. Coin swords that have been scaled as much as be bigger would after all weigh extra. Shorter swords took fewer cash to supply and would due to this fact be lighter. Some Chinese language coin swords have been made with faux cash, which might typically lead to a lighter sword.

It is very important be aware that the varieties of coin used to make the sword does matter considerably. People who consider within the energy of Chinese language coin swords additionally consider that these swords can solely work correctly if made utilizing cash produced throughout the time of a single emperor. Mixing cash between completely different dynasties is taken into account dangerous luck and can lead to a defective sword. It’s also believed that historic cash are simpler than trendy cash, as they might have extra energy to fend off evil spirits attributable to their age. 

nineteenth century Qing Dynasty coin sword and equipment on show in Munich, Germany (Dr. Meierhofer /  CC BY SA 3.0 )

Struggle Evil with Your Personal Sword, or Go to One Your self

We’ve all seen gadgets constructed from cash, however Chinese language coin swords actually take it to the following degree. These swords are fascinating to see in actual life and are typically nonetheless made as we speak. There are various artisans, each out and in of China, who specialise in making these money swords for  feng shui  or different religious functions. A few of the most historic Chinese language coin swords are additionally on show at a wide range of museums worldwide, so that you don’t essentially must go to China to see one for your self. For those who ever end up needing to struggle evil, end up a Chinese language coin sword to present you a hand.

Prime picture: Coin sword product of an iron rod with Chinese language money cash of the nineteenth century tied to it with crimson and inexperienced string within the form of a sword, with hanging ornaments. Supply: British Museum /  CC BY NC SA 4.0

By Lex Leigh

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