Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Chinese Swords and Swordsmanship: the Qing Wodao #chinese sword

 Chinese Swords and Swordsmanship: the Qing Wodao #chinese sword

"The Qing imperial regulations, the Huangchiao Liqi Tushi, lists no less than 7 types of Chinese two-handed sabers with long grips issued during the dynasty. In this episode, Scott M. Rodell looks at a rare variant, the Qing period Wōdāo (窩刀). This dao was issued to the Lùyíng (綠營), the Green Braves. 

The Lùyíng were the ethnically Han Army. Manchus, Mongols and some Chinese who joined the Qing cause early on formed the Eight Banners. With the majority of Han people being drafted into the Lùyíng or Green Braves. The Wō character used here is a homonym for the Wō in Wōkòu (倭寇). In that case it means Dwarf Bandit a derogatory term for the Japanese. Here is has the meaning of a small place, or a place where animals live, or a place where a group of bad people gather. So this sword is the Qing take on the Katana. The regulations stipulate that the blade be curved like a Lùyíng Piāndāo  (綠營㓲刀), the slicing saber which is depicted in the regulations with an accelerating curvature, as see on this example. 

Some have mistaken the Wōdāo, this Chinese version of a katana, with the Miáodāo (苗刀). There are however two important differences, the blade and hilt lengths. The Wōdāo has a 31” blade that is balance by the long grip such that it is easy to wield with one hand. The Miáodāo is a true two-handed saber with on average a 35” long blade . While they make look the same in a photo, any practitioner will notice the difference straight away. They are indeed two very different weapons" Scott Rodell.

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