Han Dynasty Bronze Dagger-Axe (ge), China (3154A-BHK)


H: 4.375″  W: 7.5″  D: 0.25″

First developed in the Shang dynasty, the Chinese dagger-axe (ge) was used as a military weapon through the Han dynasty. A dagger-shaped blade was mounted to a pole or shaft and secured using its tang (shank) and the holes on the two sections of its body. In general, dagger-axes have been found without a shaft as they decomposed or were removed. This piece comes with its uniquely made box. With expected minor losses, mineral deposits, some corrosion, verdigris forming naturally over time, and the loss of its point this dagger is in good condition despite its great age. It is very similar to the other ge on our site (3154B-BHK).


Chinese dagger-axes were made of stone during the Shang dynasty as ancient military weapons but were later cast in bronze. Jade versions were made for ceremonial purposes and were sometimes found in tomb coffins containing Chinese nobles, aristocrats and the wealthy. This suggests they were symbols of power and high status and may have also had ritual significance. Weapons like the ge were found in an area below the coffin of  high ranking officials with servants or sacrificed victims who guarded the deceased and kept him safe in the afterlife. A spear might also be added to a Han metal dagger-axe (ge) at the end of the pole or wood shaft so it could be used as a close-quarter thrusting or swinging metalwork weapon but its use virtually disappeared after the advent of chariots and tightly packed military formations.

Additional information

Dimensions 12 × 9 × 6 in


Materials and Technique

Bronze/brass/copper alloy

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 4.375” W: 7. 5 D: 0.25”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 11.11cm W:19.05cm D: 0.63cm


Good condition, see description

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size