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Third, its shape is unique, like a cross between a Katana and western cavalry saber with a ring at the end. What is that ring for? I thought, perhaps, one could attach a lanyard to the ring to avoid being disarmed.
This saber appears to be one of the several Imperial sabers, commissioned by Emperor Qianlong and by other high-ranking officials, and made by the Imperial Workshops, which have the ridged cross-section and 2 fullers, one short and one long, on both sides of the blade. They were most likely modelled after one specific type of Japanese sword blade design known as "naginata naoshi katana", which in turn was modelled after the Japanese naginata polearm.
The YANMAODAO (Goosequill saber) has a blade which is essentially straight up until the beginning of the backedge, at which point the cutting edge begins a gentle curve to a slightly upswept tip. Of all forms of peidao, it is stylistically the most archaic because its shape is so influenced by the zhibeidao of earlier times. The blade is straight until the curve begins around the centre of percussion. The center of percussion is the point on the blade with the least vibration on hard contact, the spot on the blade that transmits the most power to the target in a hard chop. This type of sword seems to have lost its popularity by the end of the 18th century.
The yanmaodao was designed to combine the best features of both the curved saber and straight sword. The arc of the cutting edge towards the point, as well as the thickness of the blade's back, enabled a swordsman to deliver more penetrating cuts than he could with the straight, double-edged jian. Yet the lack of curve for most of its length, plus the double-edged tip afforded by the back-edge, enabled him to execute both long thrusts and short "pointing" jabs that he would not be able to perform effectively with a more curved blade.
Surviving specimens and portrayals in art indicate that the yanmaodao was quite widely used in China from the Ming through the first half of the Qing. It appears to have lost popularity by the 19th cent., and is now little-known among students of martial arts. Perhaps the reason for its decline was that Chinese sword schools developed preferences for more specialized weapons, whose strong points fulfilled the needs of their particular fighting systems. In the world of swords, the design requirements for optimal cutting and thrusting efficiency are on opposite poles. A blade design that attempts to combine the attributes of sword and saber will achieve a "mid-range" versatility at the expense of the strong points at either end of the spectrum.
The willow-leaf saber or LIUYEDAO also made its debut during the Ming. It is characterized by a narrow but fairly stiff blade, tapering towards the point, and with a gentle curve which begins ahead of the forte. Generally, the blades are grooved and are provided with a backedge. The somewhat greater curve of the liuyedao makes it a better cutting weapon than the yanmaodao although it changes the balance sufficiently to make it less accurate for the thrust. It is characterized by the blade having a gentle curve throughout its length. The steepness of the curve increases as it moves towards the tip.
Liuyedao were perhaps the most widely-used sabers in Chinese history. Beginning in the Ming Dynasty, they became the sidearm of choice for military men in all branches of the service, and retained this status until the fall of the Qing in 1911. It is not difficult to understand this weapon's enduring appeal. The blade is well-suited for powerful, slashing cuts delivered either on foot or from the saddle. Its moderate arc makes it a usable thrusting implement as well.
Isaac888 wrote:p/s... any intention of joining the association?
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