Chinese Swords

Discussion in 'Military History' started by ABC78, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. ABC78
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    ABC78 Junior Member

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    I have a very limited knowledge of Chinese swords pop culture and media are basically just a wash of European amd japanese swords. There are very few books in English on Chinese swords in their quality design and effectiveness

    So please share your thoughts on the first chinese swords forged to the current ceremonial swords.
     
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  2. SteelBird
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    SteelBird Major

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    OK, I'll share my two cents...

    Chinese swords are separated into two categories very clear; the JIAN (剑) and DAO (刀). JIAN has two blades and DAO is single blade.

    Maybe you'd like to read this Wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_swords
     
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  3. siegecrossbow
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    siegecrossbow Brigadier
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    I think you meant "edge" when you referred to blade.
     
  4. Lezt
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    Lezt Junior Member

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    Chinese swords have a rich and diverse history.

    Notable ones are first generation bronze and steel swords; especially the chrome plated steel sword from the first emporer of china's tomb which is still sharp and can easily cut a piece of paper.

    Chinese swords are folded and that is the technology that was transfered to the Japanese, in which prior to the Ming, Chinese metallurgy was considered better and Japan would import Chinese swords while during the Ming, Japanese swords were better and thus were imported into China.

    China use both the diamond cross section as in the Katana, wedge cross section (for some daos) and parabolic point for swords,

    There are many different type of swords, to two handed horse chopping sabres, two handed long swords designed to parry blows, to short single handed versions. Similarly, there is a varity of curves, hooks, and guards.

    A better starting point might be:
    http://thomaschen.freewebspace.com/
     
  5. shen
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    shen Senior Member

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    I find it curious that after the bronze age, Chinese battlefield swords are predominately the one edge dao variety. While European developed the two edge sword for military use for a far longer period. Why is that? Was it due to difference in construction technique or battlefield requirement?
     
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  6. PanAsian
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    PanAsian Major

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    That is very much an untrue generalization and I would suggest you do some independent research on Chinese swords.
     
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  7. Brumby
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    Brumby Captain

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    I once saw a documentary listing the 10 top weapons used in Chinese Martial Arts. The sword as opposed to sabre is considered the king of Chinese weapons in martial arts. You will find it as the predominant weapon of choice even in Wuxia stories. The main reason is because of its flexibility as a weapon because the techniques used in sword includes both thrust and cut as opposed to sabre which essentially is cut. The finer details is best sourced from martial arts forum. You will find the inevitable discussions between the katana and Chinese sword but the discussions are more civil.
     
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  8. Equation
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    Equation Lieutenant General

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    Is the two handed Han sword the only one in Chinese history? I mean like two handed use like the Japanese Katana sword?

    [​IMG]
     
  9. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    Shen you have to remember that dispute the popular image European Swords were more then just knives. And there was one major factor in Europe that was not as large a one in Asia. Plate Armor. Lamellar armor was the armor of Choice for asia it started in the middle east and spread as far as Japan it's made of small metal plates with layers of leather and steel and bambo and more. It works a bit like fish scales to give cover via interlocking plates

    In Europe they started along the same line but for some reason rather then going with it. They went Iron man using larger higher density angled Plate armor. Sword makers in Europe had to contend with a different defense needing a different offence.
    Using a Cutting edge against Lamellar you might be able to find a gap and make a kill. but against plate steel it's steel on steel and chances of breaking the enemy armor are the same as breaking your own sword.

    The Weight of a Full samurai suit of armor, Which would be comparable to Chinese armor of the Same period is about 65 pounds Western plate covering the same area would be about 85 pounds That extra mass would destroy a attack with the cutting edge of a sword eastern or western. So getting through that required a change in tactics.As a result European Swords took on there double edge and cross guard
    So Knights in armor vs Knights in Armor would change how they used the sword.
    They would half sword placing one hand on the blade and turn the sword into a short spear to attack the gaps they would aim the point of the blade into the arm pit, the inner groin the slot of the visor. Places where they could Stab. Failing that they used the cross guard as a Hammer same for the Pommel, It's meant to club the Enemy to death.
    the edge of the blade it was used to but mostly for the enemies unarmored lesser troops the Grunts of the Army and those cases where they caught the enemy unprepared or where they were "Enforcing" the will of the lord over the peasants.
    As time went by and the fire arm became more popular Armor tried to keep up but eventually you start seeing slashing and cutting edges like the Chinese Types. The french falchion which could pass for a Dadao for example.
    by the 16th century European swords were thinning out loosing the secondary roles of Slashing, cutting and pounding in favor of piercing and stabbing eventually becoming the Rapier.

    Then came the Kilij.
    The Kilij Takes it's roots from China on the Horses of the Mongal Khans and spreads into the Fertile Crescent It developed into the Turkish Sabres used in the Crusades Until in the 15th century it took it's final Form. it's name is even derived form the Turkish verb meaning slaughter.
    Imported from the Turks Through Eastern Europe, The French via Napoleon's invasions and the USMC's Actions in Tripoli during the First Barbary war. The Kilij was the Father of the Cavalry saber a curved single edged waited blade meant for single handed use. it's designed to slaughter unarmored or thinly armored The Kilij was the Sword favored by Vlad the Impaler. Taking the basic design the European and American makers into the "Mameluke" Sword Which would by the 1840 and 1860s farther modified by thinning and lengthening the blade into the Cavalry saber which would be ironically adopted by the Turkish armed forces.

    if you compare Swords of that rough period the late 18th early 20th you find most every one on the same page those few uses of the sword being primarily curved single edge the Japanese Katana having survived the Meji, the Chinese miaodao, the European Saber The only break was the M1913 Patton Cavalry sword which favored a streight edge and point but really by then it was the end of the military sword and age of the Gun
     
    #9 TerraN_EmpirE, Mar 15, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
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  10. Equation
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    Equation Lieutenant General

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    Nice explanation TE, well done. Now what about the Arabian scimitar sword?
     
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