Bronze/iron use in warring states/qin china.

Dec 2012
446
I recently was reading about the warring states kingdoms of China and the sources seems vague when iron weapons and tools became common place and there was even an author Ian Morris who claimed that bronze weapons were the norm in the early Han! Does. Anyone know what iron usage was like in the warring states and qin times and when it became common place?
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,947
Australia
If the Chinese had good access to copper and tin resources, there would have been no need for iron. Bronze weapons and armour are superior to those made from iron. Iron doesn't surpass bronze in terms of performance until the intricacies of quench-hardened steel were understood.
 
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Dec 2012
446
If the Chinese had good access to copper and tin resources, there would have been no need for iron. Bronze weapons and armour are superior to those made from iron. Iron doesn't surpass bronze in terms of performance until the intricacies of quench-hardened steel were understood.
yes I think you are right though bronze works of ancient china were of fairly good quality
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,722
its also very interesting that there were steel swords early as the spring and autumn periods
Why? That is not so different than other areas. The qualification between iron and steel is rather loose. China had some good smelters and standardized production relatively early- the main difference is when something becomes mass produced as there are anomalous finds of various qualities of steel and iron all over wherever was producing such items.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,947
Australia
Producing high-carbon steel is easy in a primitive smelter. It is harder to produce steel with less carbon. The easiest way to decarburise steel is to put it back in the smelter along with some more ore.
 
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