Central China, 1965. A team of archaeologists are exploring a network of subterranean tombs when they locate an ancient, water-logged casket. Prizing it open, they find a human skeleton and a sealed wooden box. Within that box is a sword – a beautifully crafted instrument that no one had set eyes on for some 2,400 years.
Swords have long represented power within human societies. For warriors of so many cultures and times, swords have been seen to symbolize strength, chivalry and masculinity – as well as war. Indeed, this is reflected in the plethora of hero myths that have survived through the ages, from King Arthur and Excalibur to the Greek myth of Perseus.
Specifically, the so-called Sword of Goujian – discovered in the Chinese tomb in 1965 – is an incredible cultural treasure. Its workmanship is sublime and its physical properties are extraordinary. And its discovery in modern times has allowed historians to take a look back into an ancient world.