Speaking of scalawags!!!!
I knew this topic would draw ye in , Cap'n Mark!
and that ye would be lurking in these waters,
Excellent and well put points, as to be expected with your knowledge of these subjects, and I'm always glad to see you come in.
As well noted, I also dont think there were set rules or guidelines (no matter what the Pirates of the Caribbean take is) for pirates as far as treatment of prisoners or any of these matters, and more than any precise description of thier activities, habits, appearances, use of weapons or any other form of consistancy.
While we are trying to establish whether these hu dei shuang dao butterfly knives were known among river pirates, it would seem best to consider that they probably were in the same incidental degree that most weapons forms would have been known. River pirates, from what I understand, engaged in 'protection' arrangements, which of course would not have been that far removed from security, such as body guards etc. as previously discussed. It would not be hard to imagine that martial artists would enter into many avenues of plying thier trade.
Naturally, as colonial presence became more prevalent in these Chinese regions, the interpretations of travellers, embellished narratives and romanticized fiction made note of the use of such frightening weapons in martial arts demonstrations. The huge bladed oxtail type daos, and large chopper type weapons were all grouped collectively in these interpretations as 'execution swords', probably from a number of cases where they were seen used in this manner. Thus does not mean that every oxtail dao was an executioners sword, nor the chopper type bladed weapons.
Not at all surprising about the 'pirate king' being succeeded by his wife!!
who was probably running the whole show anyway
Trust me, I have exwives who would terrify the the most ruthless pirates, and easily pound them into submission
All best regards,