Li Lei holds ancient bronze sword.
A man in Northwest China’s Shaanxi province recently had a stroke of luck and stumbled on a 3,000-year-old bronze sword at work.
The 26-year-old Li Lei, a worker with a local cement company in Danfeng County, happened to find a metal plate shaped object stuck on the clay plug on Oct 26, which turned out to be an ancient sword.
Upon hearing the news, Li’s colleagues began talking about the treasure and asked him to sell it.
Li knew it was illegal to sell cultural relics and sent the sword to Danfeng Cultural Relics Bureau on Oct 28.
The bureau asked local experts to examine the sword and they studied its length, weight, shape and other major factors.
The 46.5-cm-long sword weighs 610 grams and is in turquoise color, with decorative designs on its hilt. It could be dated back to more than 3,000 years to the kingdom of Chu in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), according to initial assessment.
"The sword blade must have gone through the treatment process of chromium salt, a chemical material that can provide bronze products good rust and corrosion protection. The sword is still in good integrity and very sharp," Liu Junmin, curator of Danfeng Museum, told Hua Shang Daily.
Danfeng was once the border between the kingdom of Chu and Qin during the Warring States Period and that's why the sword was discovered in the county, Liu added.
Lu Qinghe, deputy director of Danfeng Cultural Relics Bureau, said based on the edge of blade and the old custom that a sword should be buried together with the owner after his death it seems the sword must have belonged to a warrior of Chu.
However, Liu said there is still not enough evidence to identify the sword's owner and questions remain on its casting technique.