Chinese coins are wide used as decorative and design items for their symbolism.
They can often be observed as motifs on partition walls, accessories for other items such as the merchant ship and wealth vase, and can even be found on linenware such as bedsheets and pillow cases.
But among the various items and products made with coins, few are as dramatic as the Chinese coin sword which can sometimes take your breath away.
The Chinese name of the coin sword is be xie jian (避邪劍) which literally translates to evil-warding sword.
This sword that wards off evil is primarily used as protection against sha chi that threatens the loss of wealth and health.
It’s powers do not come from the associated wealth symbolism that comes with coins. But with the metal energy of the coins that are made of bronze or brass, the design form of the coins, and the dynasty origins of the coins that carry the Emperor’s name.
As such, the power of the swords will depend very much on which Emperor is represented on the coins.
While people might debate which were the most successful dynasties in Chinese history, it is generally accepted that the period reigned by Qian Long emperor (1736-1795 A.D.) was one of the most prosperous chapters in Chinese history.
However, Kang Xi Emperor (who was Qian Long’s grandfather) is generally considered as the most complete era (1662-1723 A.D.) as he ruled for a complete 60 years. Essentially completing one full Chinese generation of the sexagenary cycle.
So it’s no surprise that most coin swords we find in marketplaces these days are made with coins of either of these eras.
If specificity matters to you, then note that Qian Long coin swords are more associated with protection against wealth loss, while Kang Xi coin swords lean more towards protection against harm.
Coin sword design
During ancient times, authentic coin swords were constructed with 2 thick metal rods that set up the structural integrity. Then 108 coins were secured and fastened with red strings onto the framework.
All coins must be of the same dynasty without being mixed with others.
The 108 coins consisted of:
- 18 coins on the surface of the blade that is 3 coins thick
- 5 coins on each side of the hilt that is 3 coins thick
- 6 coins from the hilt to the butt of the handle that is 3 coins thick
- 1 coin on each side of the handle butt that is 3 coins thick
Coin sword particularly constructed for attracting wealth luck are usually tied with red, yellow and gold threads as these are the colors of royalty.
At this point, it’s worth noting that the form factor of Chinese coins has deep meaning.
The circular shape represents heaven. While the square hole in the center represents earth. Being used by human symbolizes the unity of heaven-earth-man.
When Taoist priests use them for rituals for ridding evil, a red cloth wrapped on the hilt. They can also sometimes use a peach wood sword as an alternative.
Coin sword placement
The emperor coin sword is a feng shui item with aesthetics that one would either love or hate.
Some people find it too over-the-top to display in their homes or office premises. Others find them absolutely gorgeous and blends nicely with their interiors.
Even though the metal sword has deep connections with symbolism, because it is associated with protection, homeowners can still hang them on walls or put them on display for aesthetic reasons without negative connotations.
Having said that, it’s not uncommon for symbolic feng shui experts to recommend homeowner to place coin swords in these sectors too for specific reasons of countering sha chi.
For example, these swords are often used as a remedy against the 5 yellow. And can be appropriate when the misfortune star arrives into specific sectors of the house including the east or southeast sectors.
Users must also be mindful that there is a yin and yang side of the coin sword.
The side made up the of sides of the coins containing the 4 Chinese characters calling on emperors is the yang side. This is the side that should always face up and be exposed when put on display.
When setting them up on a wall for instance, the yang side should be the side that is displayed.
Placement of the coin sword should also never be in front of the user, but behind instead. Otherwise, it would be attacking you instead of defending. And when situated behind you, it should not be pointed at your back for obvious reasons.
For example, if it is set up in the living room, then it should be behind the sofa instead of in front.
Some people might notice that coin swords are commonly found in the office of Chinese companies. They are usually displayed behind the seats of senior management executives. This is to prevent sabotage from corporate politics and defend against aggressive internal competitors.
The orientation of the sword is also positioned with it’s tip pointed downwards and slanted. And if there is a supposed target:
- Towards the door to protect against sha chi entering from it
- Toward other structural source of sha chi that it is meant to protect the user from
Finally, practicing Taoists would often bring this item to the temple to charge it with incense smoke, wrap it in red cloth, bring it safely home, and then remove the cloth before placing it on display.
So don’t be surprised to hear about this ritual when researching into this topic.