Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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Royston 20th December 2017 12:20 PM

Chinese Glaive
4 Attachment(s)
A recent addition to the collection

I am calling it a Chinese Glaive until those with more knowledge correct me.
Just over 6 ft long with a 22 inch head.
The mounts are iron.
The pole could be original, it's certainly old.

I will clean this up after the festivities and post some decent pictures.

All comments welcome.

Merry Christmas


mariusgmioc 20th December 2017 12:37 PM

Is the blade sharp, or at least appears to have been sharp? How thick is the spine of the blade at the base and about 5 cm (2") from the tip?



Timo Nieminen 20th December 2017 08:05 PM

Any chance of a close-up of the symbol next to the hook?

Ren Ren 20th December 2017 08:12 PM

Very nice Vietnamese subject, not Chinese :)
Possible, the end of XVIII century.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Royston 20th December 2017 08:35 PM

1 Attachment(s)

It is sharp.

The base is 9mm thick
5cm from the top it is 2mm

Timo - see photo, it is the same symbol each side.


kronckew 20th December 2017 08:52 PM

Interesting oldish guandao/yanyuedao, a traditional chinese weapon still practised in their martial arts. There would have been an iron ring thriu the blades hole to suspend a red tassle.

mariusgmioc 20th December 2017 09:28 PM

Hello Roy and thank you for the measurements!

It appears it is a genuine fighting Guandao. A great blade!

Congratulations and happy cleaning! :)

kronckew 20th December 2017 10:18 PM

they also were used in SE asia, particularly Vietnam, these may likely be Viet, as someone pointed out to me, the haft fittings look like viet examples.

Timo Nieminen 20th December 2017 10:54 PM

Originally Posted by kronckew
they also were used in SE asia, particularly Vietnam, these may likely be Viet, as someone pointed out to me, the haft fittings look like viet examples.

Similar fittings also in Thailand, and in China. China being large and diverse, it isn't surprising to see varied range of fittings on Chinese examples. Korean ones have fittings similar to northern Chinese examples, SE Asian ones are often similar to southern Chinese examples. Thai blades can look a lot like Japanese blades (Imports re-mounted locally? The Japanese exported naginata to SE Asia).

Ren Ren 21st December 2017 09:58 AM

Originally Posted by Timo Nieminen
Thai blades can look a lot like Japanese blades (Imports re-mounted locally? The Japanese exported naginata to SE Asia).

In 1635 Tokugava regime strong prohibied weapon export from Japan, including blades. After 1635, 7 - 10 years, not more, sword and blades exported illegal by dutch and portugese vessels.
In Vietnam, Siam, Kambodga making weapon in japonese style, possible, by help bladesmiths and other craftmen from japanese diaspora.

Royston 21st December 2017 02:54 PM

Thanks everyone.
I will clean in the new year and post some more photos.

sakimori 24th December 2017 11:11 AM

Doesn't look like much Chinese to me,judging by the fitting.If there is any possibility the pole arm was made in China,it's most probably crafted in the southern&western region. ;)

Philip 28th December 2017 03:05 AM

it's most likely Vietnamese / comparative terminology
The elongated, slightly tapering ferrule with the numerous raised rings is a typical Vietnamese mounting for most pole weapons. The normal Chinese fashion is to have a wide (maybe 4 in. on average) sleeve below the guard, and two narrower rings below, in between which which are the iron rivets anchoring the tang into the shaft (these rivets usually peened over floreate brass escutcheons). Chinese tangs tend to be longer and stouter than Vietnamese equivalents, because the latter culture area generally anchored the tang into the socket with resin adhesive as was the usual case in neighboring Thailand, Laos, and Burma. Thus, a smaller tang was considered adequate.

These Vietnamese polearms as posted here are referred to as "phang", or the more sinified term "yem-nguyet-dao" (reclining [i.e. crescent] moon knife). The latter is a direct derivation from the Chinese "yanyuedao" (also analogous to Korean "unwoldo" which has the same meaning and identifies the same weapon). The popular term "guandao" is a relatively modern "dojo-ism" common in the martial arts world. It never appears in Chinese military texts dealing with this weapon or its usage. The weapon first appears in Chinese texts in the 11th cent. or so and was always referred to henceforth as yanyuedao. The story that it was invented by Gen. Guan Yu during the Three Kingdoms period, centuries earlier, is without foundation although it is an unshakable folk truism.

Philip 28th December 2017 03:23 AM

European counterparts
In a European context, the yanyuedao / yem nguyet dao could be classified as a fauchard rather than a glaive, by virtue of the projecting prong or spike halfway up the spine. In some catalogs the term glaive is applied to weapons having a smoothly concave spine; the Japanese naginata is a close equivalent.

Some scholars, like Arturo Puricelli-Guerra, do simplify things by just calling both types "glaives" although he does state that the "true" glaive has its point in-line with the axis of the shaft, and acknowledges that in centuries past the term falco / falcione (hence, fauchard) was also current.

For those curious about the parallel development of these knife-like polearms in the Western world, I recommend his well-illustrated article "The Glaive and the Bill" in ART, ARMS, AND ARMOUR (ed. Robert Held, 1979). In Europe the fauchard morphed by the 17th cent. into a magnificent but unwieldy piece of ceremonial regalia for the bodyguards of patrician families, unlike the halberd and partizane which retained a nominal battlefield role into the following century.

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