Iron, silver, gold, turquoise, wood, and textile; L. overall 33 in. (83.8 cm); L. of blade 28 1/4 in. (71.8 cm)
Bequest of George C. Stone, 1935 (36.25.1464)
This sword is a representative example of the most familiar Tibetan form, well made and of fairly good quality. The blade has a prominent hairpin pattern, the hallmark of traditional Tibetan blades, consisting of seven dark lines alternating with six light lines, caused by the different types of iron that were combined during the forging process. The different styles of swords found in Tibet can be distinguished by several basic features, which include the type of blade, the form of hilt, the type of scabbard, and how the sword was designed to be worn. Traditional Tibetan texts divide swords into five principal types, each of which has a main subtype, for a total of ten basic types. These are in turn subdivided into dozens of further subtypes, many of which may, however, reflect legends and literary conventions rather than actual sword forms.