An 11-year-old boy swimming in the river in China’s Jiangsu Province stumbled across a unique and highly rare artifact recently.
Yang Junxi discovered a rare Chinese bronze sword while he played near the Laozhoulin River in Linze Township of Gaoyou County. The young boy lunged into the river and upon coming back up for air, he felt the tip of the sword cut his skin. Junxi took the relic home and gave it to his father.
Upon hearing the news, people from afar began trekking to the village where the family lives. “Some people even offered high prices to buy the sword, but I felt it would be illegal to sell the cultural relic,” said Yang’s father.
Eventually Yang sent the sword to Gaoyou Cultural Relics Bureau in early September. The bureau arranged identification of the item with a joint team of cultural relic experts on the items material, length, shape and major factors towards giving notification to such an early item.
Initial findings indicate the sword dates back to more than 3,000 years, around the time of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties.
“There was no characteristic or decorative pattern on the exquisite bronze sword. Made in a time of relatively low productivity, its owner would have been an able man with the qualification to have such artifact,” said a bureau investigator.
“The short sword seems a status symbol of a civil official. It has both decorative and practical functions, but is not in the shape of sword for military officers.”
Strangely, this is the second bronze artifact found in the region after a bronze instrument was dug up in nearby Sanduo Township.
The sword was found in the Laozhoulin River, which crosses the ancient Ziying River – which was excavated in the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC).
It also interlinks the ancient Han Ditch as the “predecessor” of China’s Grand Canal, the worlds longest artificial waterway with a history of more than 2,400 years.
The relics Bureau and municipal museum of Gaoyou City has sent the collection certificate to Yang and his father. In that same certificate package is a cash reward for the honor and deeds in protecting and donating the cultural relic instead of selling it to the black market trade.