Prior to World War II, butterfly swords (paired short swords) were virtually unknown outside of southern China. This changed at the close of the 1940's, when the Communists took control of mainland China, forcing many Kung Fu masters to flee the oppressive regime and establish new schools elsewhere. Currently, due to the spread of Kung Fu, the once obscure swords have become so popular that they transcend many geographic boundaries and many martial styles.
They are popular because, compared to other swords, they have so much to offer in a relatively small package. Typically, butterfly swords come in pairs that are cleverly nested together so they appear to be one sword not two. When they are drawn, they can be quickly separated and wielded in both hands to make wickedly effective chops, slashes and thrusts. The "D" shaped guard offers protection to the hand and enable a skilled practitioner to effectively oppose enemies wielding much longer weapons.
note: blades are highly polished steel. Some of the photos above may look strangely angled - that was to reduce glare and reflection. These are so well polished that you could use them as a shaving mirror - or if your Kung Fu is really good, you could use one as a mirror and shave with the other!
blade width: 2 5/8"
blade thickness: 3/16
steel: 1050 high carbon spring steel
grip: 4 3/4"
guard: 5 1/2" x 8"
weight: 1 lb 14.4 oz (one sword)
scabbard: leather, fits both blades
weight: 4 lb 10.2 oz (both swords in scabbard)