The Jian has a straight, double-edged blade between 18 to 32 inches (45 to 80 cm). The guard can be described as two short wings pointing either forward or backward. The hilt was typically made of wood covered in rayskin, long enough for one hand, although some may have been designed for two handed use.
In Chinese folklore, the Jian is often called the "Gentleman of All Weapons", since it would have been mostly used by commanders and required a good deal of expertise to be used effectively. It was able to both slash and thrust, making it a versatile weapon. According to legend, it was so sharp it could slice through water without getting wet. The Jian and the Dao are the two most famous swords of ancient China.
It was tested against the Kilij. While the experts claimed it could cut it pig in half, it later proved to be incapable of doing so, and was much weaker in slashing compared to the Kilij. It did however prove to be a far superior thrusting weapon, going through the pig's soft tissue like nothing. Despite this the Kilij was given the edge for the greater amount of damage it could cause.