|Ganjiang and Moyie Swords|
|Ganjiang was a swordmaker who made two very famous swords during the Spring and Autumn Period. Some sources say that Ganjiang and OuYezi had the same teacher, while others claim that OuYezi was Ganjiang’s teacher and his wife Moyie was OuYezi’s daughter. Either way Ganjiang is the second most famous swordmaker in the long history of China.According to the stories, in 494 BC when Goujian the King of Yue was about to be taken prisoner by the forces of Wu he sent three of five famous swords that he’d had made by Ou Yezi to the King of Wu, a collector of swords, an act of submission. It is said that the King of Wu was so impressed that he ordered Ganjiang to make him a sword. To make these weapons Ganjiang collected the iron essence of the Five Mountains and the metal efflorescence of the valleys of Six Unions. He attended upon Heaven and waited upon Earth; Yin and Yang shone together; the Hundred Spirits approached and observed; the Chi of heaven descended; but the essences of metal and iron did not melt, sink and flow. Ganjiang recalled that when his teacher had this problem it was because the essences of Yin and Yang were not in harmony. Ganjiang determined that he needed more Yin essence. He asked his wife Moyie to cut her hair and clip her fingernails and once these were thrown into the furnace the transformation began to occur. To add to this Yin essence Moyie had also gathered three hundred maidens to work the bellows and stoke the charcoal. The metal and iron melted and Ganjiang was able to produce two swords, a Yang sword that he called Ganjiang which had a tortoise shell pattern and a Yin sword that he named Moyie which had an eel-skin texture. (It has been suggested that the afore mentioned tortoise shell pattern is just another way of describing the diamond pattern which adorns the Sword of Goujian, King of Yue.) Ganjiang presented the Yin sword Moyie to the King of Wu who was greatly pleased.In most cases this is where the story ends.However in some versions of the legend the King of Wu discovered that a pair of swords had been produced and Ganjiang had kept the Yang sword for himself. The king was so outraged that he had the swordmaker killed. Moyie who was pregnant at the time raised her son to hate the man who’d killed his father and it was her wish that when he was old enough he take the Ganjiang sword from its hiding place within the hollow of a thousand year old pine tree and kill the king.The Sword of Guang, King of WuThe only extant weapon attributed to Ganjiang is the Sword of Guang. Guang was a prince from Wu, with greater aspirations. Not content to be general of the armies of Wu, Prince Guang had his cousin King Liao slain so that he could ascend the throne. Some versions of the tale have the assassin drawing a sword which lay hidden in a roasted fish, the king’s favorite dish, to cut down the king thereby associating Prince Guang with the famous Yuchang – Hidden in Fish Sword. After his ascension Prince Guang took the name of King Helu. This sword which was still exteremly sharp when found was unearthed in the 1990’s. It now resides in the Suzhou Museum.Sword of Guang (Helu) King of Yue, attributed to Ganjiang|
54cm long, 5cm wide.Detail of the Wu Guang sword that bares the inscription
“Wu King Guang personal sword, used in war
against the people of the Yue Kingdom.”It is interesting to note that the handguard portion of this sword where the blade meets the handle has a pattern that allows for the inlay of gems or glass beads that is virtually identical to that of the Sword of Goujian, King of Yue.