The Yanmaodao or the goose quill saber is a kind of Dao that has been utilized as a standard military weapon in the years 1368 to 1800 of the Ming Dynasty, as well as in the mid-Qing Dynasty.

During the evolution and development of the Peidao, the Yanmaodao seemed to be the next upgrade from the Zhibeidao a weapon that has been utilized by the military of China from the Warring States era throughout the Song Dynasty; it was also utilized by some Mongols on certain occasions.

Unlike the Zhibeidao that features a dead straight blade, the Yanmaodao features an arch right in the middle of its blade. The earliest pieces that have survived came from the Ming Dynasty and these have remained useful until the end of the eighteenth century. The technique of utilizing the weapon requires strong points of both the Dao and the Jian.

The Yanmaodao eventually lost its popularity by the end of the eighteenth century since the military troops and martial arts practitioners ended up utilizing other weapons instead.

The weapon featured almost straight grips yet downward handles that are curved were exhibited in numerous Ming artworks. During the end of the Qing rule, these curved grips became more common than the straight grips.

Historical Background

The sword was utilized during the Ming Dynasty and eventually, it was also utilized in the Qing Dynasty. Since this existed for about two-hundred seventy-six years, this specific saber was utilized for battle and prevented other empires from conquering the Ming Dynasty from 1368 to 1644.

This specific reign had a very notable and orderly government, plus it also featured remarkable social stability which has been associated with its strong and powerful army that had excellent expertise in utilizing the Dao. The Yanmaodao continued to be the weapon of choice in the Qing Dynasty even after the fall of the Great Ming.

Image Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art / CC0

Appearance of the Chinese Yanmaodao

The Yanmaodao is a straight-bladed sword that featured just a slight arch right at its center. The saber was primarily designed for cutting and slashing, plus the Yanmaodao is designed with a single-edged blade wherein one side is blunt and the other is sharp.

Although the wielder can only cut using one side of the weapon, its length allows for excellent rotation and spinning during fights; this was generally possible due to the long shaft holding the weapon’s blade which measures around twenty-six to thirty inches in length.

Additionally, the extended length of the Yanmaodao sword allows the wielder to attack their enemies at a safe distance which increases their chances of actually winning in battles; the blade features a thickness of around 5/8 inches while its width measures around 1.5 inches which allow fine and accurate slashes on the targeted area.

The Yanmaodao sword generally features a straight blade yet its cutting edge features a slight curve at its tip. The spine or back of its blade slightly sweeps upward to form a point while the back-edge of the Yanmaodao usually features a beveled spot to form a secondary edge.

The back-edge or false edge can vary from a very blunt spot to a fairly sharp one, yet it is not as keen as the weapon’s cutting edge itself. The Chinese Yanmaodao blades can sometimes feature a plain wedge-section and these can be created with single or more grooves that work excellently to lighten the blade while maintaining an adequate level of rigidity.

The Yanmaodao is fitted with a sturdy wooden handle that is designed for a perfectly firm grip; it has a long handle that measures around 5.5 inches which is adequate for single-handed attacks but can still accommodate two hands for reinforcements.

Normally this sword has a handle that features a knob on top, together with a rounded stopper to protect the wielder’s hand from slipping. This improves the grip during fierce attacks when a soldier may lose his grip on the weapon, ending up hurting himself with his own blade.

Moreover, the Yanmaodao sword is lightweight which makes it an ideal battle weapon, weighing only between 1.1 to 1.4 pounds.

Yanmaodao for Sale

Chinese swords for sale such as the Yanmaodao are readily available. One can choose a Yanmaodao for sale that is fully functional (specifically for training and target practice) or non sharpened for decorative purposes. These swords are perfect to add to one’s growing collection of traditional Chinese swords and armor.