The lightweight jian is a sword defined by its straight, double-edged blade. A perfectly symmetrical sword, its guard is conventionally triangular and takes the form of two short wings on either side of the blade; nevertheless the overall profile keeps protrusions to a minimal. Its grip, terminating in a pointed lobe for a pommel, matches the sleekness of the blade.
Techniques for wielding the jian effectively in combat is an art form reflective of traditional Chinese martial arts. Unlike the destructive style of the dao, the jian requires far more elegant and precise maneuvers that complement the agile style of an Assassin such as Shao Jun.
By the 16th century, the jian and its art was a millennia-old tradition in China, and it became the primary weapon of the Chinese Assassin Shao Jun. Accordingly, she wielded one in her journey to Italy with her Mentor Zhu Jiuyuan to seek the help of the legendary Mentor Ezio Auditore da Firenze against the Templars that had purged their Brotherhood. In at least two ambushes by Chinese Templars in Florence and at Ezio's villa, she made great use of the weapon to dispatch her enemies.
Upon her return to China in 1526 as one of the only surviving Chinese Assassins, Jun continued to rely on her jian throughout her campaign to assassinate the Eight Tigers, a group of corrupt eunuchs that led the Chinese Rite of the Templar Order. It is with the jian, and not the Hidden Blade as is usual for an Assassin, that she assassinated six of the Tigers, including their leader Zhang Yong at the Great Wall in 1532, whereupon she was able to begin the process of reviving her branch of the Assassins.
- In Chinese, jiàn (劍) is the common word for "sword" though it properly refers to any double-edged straight sword regardless of cultural origin. This is in contrast with the word dāo (刀) which refers to any single-edged, curved sword or saber.