Melee Weapons
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July 15, 2015, 9:50 pm

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Legendary Chinese Broadswords (Daos)


A collection of Chinse Broadswords (Daos) from history and folklore (3rd in my Chinse lore Codex)

The 10 Greatest Chinese Broadswords (Daos)

Dao in Chinese is a broad term that usually means broadswords but it could also refer to knives as well. Pictures for some of the “weapons” in this submission can be seen here . What’s available are for no 4 up to no 9. Also, note that the listing of the weapon in the Internet link is in the reverse order to which I am presenting the Daos in this particular submission. Bu that shouldn’t be confusing since one could match up the numbers.

No. 10: Pao Din’s Cooking Knife ( Pao Din Cai Dao)

Appearance & Construction:

An ordinary cooking knife in both appearance and construction, with an iron rectangular blade attached to a wooden handle. Such a knife is an all-purpose cooking knife that can be used to cut, dice and pound meat into minces and paste form for making meatballs.


Pao Din (which is not his actual name but is a term that basically means "Chef Din”) is renowned for his skill at killing a cow and dissecting it into various parts for cooking. In particular, it was said that he had attained his own Tao in dissecting a cow. Specifically, he would always cut a cow at the empty gaps between tendon and flesh so that the blade of his cutting knife would meet no resistance. Consequently, while normal cooks have to change their cutting knives every few years, the blade of his knife never even gets to be honed. Also, there is an idiom directly evolved from this that is used to describe how someone could fulfil a particular task with ease. It is called You Ren You Yu which basically refers to the fact that the blade he wields can flit in and out of a whole cow with ease (The first character is the same character as swim but here it refers to the movement of the blade, Ren is the character for the cutting edge of the blade, You Yu means more than sufficient/adequate).

Overall, this knife is the only blade among the top 10 that are not married by human blood. In actual fact, it is a symbol of the Taoist Pathway of Nourishing Lives ( Yang Sheng Zi Tao) that espouses the view that the commitment to drifting with the currents and passivity (i.e. letting everything naturally evolve by themselves) is the only way to attain the state of “You Ren You Yu”.

No. 9: the Tang Broadsword


A name that encompass four different classes of broadswords that have standard use in the army, it has become a very renowned ‘brand’ for Chinese broadswords in modern days. However, there is no record of any broadswords that go by such a name in actual history but such types of broadswords were roughly created some time during the period spanning from Western Han to the Tang dynasty. Specifically, it was said to come about from the attempt of smiths and soldiers in seeking to redesign blade heads to combine the characteristics of a longsword with the Western Han Ring Sword.

No. 8: The Kun Wu Broadsword

Appearance & Construction:

Named for being constructed from the material mined from Mt. Kun Wu.


It was said that on Mt. Kun Wu grew a special type of flame-red copper. Moreover, the legend says that a blade made out of such copper is able to cut through jade.

No. 7: Cold Moon (Han Yue)

Appearance & Construction:

Forged by Madam Xu of the Warring States period before the Qin Dynasty.


There is a very grand lore surrounding this blade. Specifically, it goes as follows:

Madam Xu was originally a scholar and she often sung songs to the moon. One night, a ferocious wind suddenly arose. The whole sky first became dark with heavy overcast and then became framed in a halo of red, with the moon surrounded by comets. Then a single loud thunder sounded, followed by a pillar of golden light rushing to break up the thick clouds and then rushing back down to ground again. This downward motion of the golden light caused a big reverberation that made Madam Xu unconscious. When she woke up again, the sky was clear and the moon’s light shone clear for thousands of miles, accompanied by starlight interspersed here and there. Everything appeared as if the dramatic scene she had just witnessed never happened. And then she heard an otherworldly call from amidst the winds. So she walked in the opposite direction of the winds. It was a summer’s night and supposed to be very hot and yet it was really chilly. Madam Xu walked into a forest and deep within it, she saw a terrifying sight. All of the trees in a radius of ten miles had been hacked to pieces and in the midst stood not really a simple fallen meteor but almost a blade completely formed that emanated a strong coldness. Struggling against such cold, Madam Xu pulled the blade free and saw that it was crystalline throughout and showed an ethereal beauty under the moonlight. The blade was still very chilly to the touch and upon closer observation, it was shaped like a new moon. Thus Madam Xu named the blade Cold Moon.

Placing this blade within her abode, Madam Xu suddenly had the urge to learn the craft of forging broadswords and set out to do so. Moreover, Madam Xu had quite the knack for it and learnt very fast. Then Madam spent ten full days and nights in her house forging Cold Moon into completion, not partaking of any food but merely subsisting on water. When Madam Xu emerged after the ten days, her friends observed that she had a haggard look and all her hair had become silvery white but her eyes shone bright. And the blade in her hands shone with a fierce light that was terrifying to behold. It was said that the smith who had taught Madam Xu the business of crafting had originally wanted to test his own broadsword against Cold Moon but he could not even get it out of the scabbard. For Cold Moon was the king among broadswords and no broadsword would dare to match against it.

Soon the reputation of the Cold Moon had travelled far and wide and alerted the Lord of the Zhao Kingdom (State). So he sent an emissary with ten thousand gold to purchase the Cold Moon. However, Madam Xu refused, saying that the blade is not of this realm and should not be handled by a mortal. Feeling insulted, the Lord of Zhao sent out assassins to get the blade and kill Madam Xu. That night, one hundred and twenty assassins laid siege to Madam Xu but she held out strong wielding Cold Moon. Specifically, it was said that all who were injured by the blade would have their blood frozen and their tendons and bones broken. Yet, at the end, Madam Xu’s stamina ran out and she killed herself with the blade. When the Lord of Zhao attained this blade, he continuously experienced nightmares and heard Madam Xu wailing whenever a cold wind blew. His royal concubines and sons all died from sicknesses. So he placed the blade under a three-footed instrument called Ding (originally one used for cooking but subsequently became used for ceremonial purposes only) to forcefully contain the hatred housed in the blade. Yet, the Zhao State still perished within a year. After the unsuccessful assassination of the founder of the Qin dynasty by Jing Ke using Cold Moon, this blade fell into the hands of Qin Shi Huang (the Beginning Emperor of Qin) and he became the only one who could ‘tame’ the blade. After the demise of the Qin dynasty, however, the whereabouts of this blade became lost.

No. 6: The Duke of Xin Ting (Xin Ting Hou)

Appearance & Construction:

After becoming sworn brothers, Liu Bei and his two sworn brothers each constructed their respective main weapon from the same material. However, there was still some leftover. Zhang Fei, the youngest among them, ordered that the leftovers be crafted into a broadsword that he carried with him but did not name. When he was given the title of the Duke of Xin Ting (Xin Ting is a place name, Xin means new) by his lord and elder brother Liu Bei, he asked a smith to reforge the body of this nameless broadsword with the metal from Mt. Chi Chu (Mt. Red Pearl) and gave it the same name as his title.


When Guan Yu (remember the guy with the beautiful beard that I mentioned here?) died in battle, Zhang Fei set out to attack the Wu Kingdom to avenge him. However, before he actually moved out, he had a fallout with two of his subordinates and ordered them flogged in drunkenness. As a direct results, the subordinates who held a grudge against them stole into his tent and cut off his head with this broadsword and defected to the Wu side. Then these two traitors were sent back by the Wu kingdom when the Shu and Wu kingdoms went to war. The son of Zhang Fei, named Zhang Bao, used the Duke of Xin Ting to kill the murderers of his father but the blade itself disappeared after its original owner was avenged.

No 5: The Indigo Dragon Half Moon Blade ( Qing Long Yan Yue Dao)

Appearance & Construction:

So named because the blade is sort of shaped like a half-moon laid out horizontally (to be exact, the name of this blade should be translated to the indigo dragon half-moon-laid-out-horizontally blade but that is obviously too cumbersome) and the section where the handle connects to the blade contains a dragon-shaped groove. It is a long blade wielded by heavy cavalry rather than being useful for practical pre-firearms combat.


Reputedly the weapon of Guan Yu but actually it is the name for a type of weapon that only appeared in the Tang dynasty which is substantially later than the Three Kingdoms period in which Guan Yu lived in.

No. 4 The Dragon-Bird of Da Xia ( Da Xia Long Que)

Appearance & Construction:

Forged by Helian Bo Bo, leader of one of the five nomadic groups who had become the rulers in ancient China after the demise of the Jing dynasty. The kingdom founded by him was known as Xia (the character for summer). The lower part of this blade have big rings in the form of a coiled up dragon while the head of the blade is shaped like a bird (the picture for this blade on the link looks like a dagger but I presume that’s a picture taken out of some game which had adapted this blade across. I don’t think Central Asian nomads use daggers).


One source says that this blade was in the possession of one of the five greatest warlords during the era of ancient China known as the Spring and Autumn Period and that it lost in the fight against the no. 2 greatest sword in ancient China that is called Zhan Lu. However, this conflicts with the idea that it is forged by Helian Bo Bo who is a personage of a much later era.

No. 3 Dragon Tooth, Tiger Wing and Hound God ( Long Ya, Hu Yi and Quan Shen)

Appearance & Construction:

The three ancient relics of evil that reputedly used a lot of materials with malicious properties and curses in construction. The actual crafter of these blades is unknown.


These three relics got into the possession of the last ruler of the Xia dynasty, Jie, towards its end. In particular, he housed them within his ancestral temple and paid them the same tributes as his own ancestors. According to history (?), when the founder of the subsequent Shang dynasty broke into the temple, black clouds crowded the sky and otherworldly beings were wailing like mad. Dragon Tooth, Tiger Wing and Hound God turned themselves into three separate winds of malice and killed or injured numerous of the Shang soldiers. Then the Shang Lord dismounted and walked alone into the temple, holding the Xuan Yuan Sword in his hands. In rapid swings, the Shang Lord reduced these three evil relics into shards which he then sealed up underground.

The site of the Xia Ancestral Temple was re-discovered a long time since, during the Northern Song dynasty by a famous blacksmith called Han Qi There he found the sealed up shards who were still infused by invisible “airs” of darkness that could be felt upon contact. Together with the Royal Bladesmith, Han Qi sought to reforge the shards of the three evil relics. They used a whole year and eight days and successfully reforged the shards into the three knives for beheading used by the legendary Bao Qing Tian (or Bao Indigo Heaven, nickname for a righteous court official of that time, who had a track record of helping wronged citizens and standing up to high position individuals who had committed crimes). Specifically, these reforged blades were renamed Dragon Tamer, Tiger Croucher (as in something that would make a tiger crouch i.e. intimidate it) and Hound Killer.

No 2 The Miao Knife’s Ancestor (Miao Dao Zhi Zu)

Appearance & Construction:

The Miao knife is a blade that is 1.2 Chinese foot long (about 20cm), with the handle making one-fourth or one third of its length. It has a curving blade (like Japanese swords) and is to be wielded with both hands. It contains a blood groove as well as a wave-like fingernail pattern on each of its two sides. The blade of a Miao Knife is held together between two pieces of wood, cow’s horns or animal bones that form the handle and fixed in place by nails.


It is the weapon of Chi You, head of the tribe known as Jiu Li and nemesis to the Yellow Emperor. It lost to the Xuan Yuan Sword wielded by the Yellow Emperor in what became to be known as the Battle of Deer Chasing.

No. 1 The Crying Swan (Ming Hong Dao)

Appearance & Construction:

The only information known about its appearance is that it is 3 Chinese foot long (or about half a metre long). It was said that when the Yellow Emperor forged the Xuan Yuan Sword, the leftover material from the forging (in liquid form) collected at the bottom of the forge by its own accords and when it cooled, a pair of twin broadswords had formed. The male of them flew off by its own accords but the female one stayed. The Yellow Emperor was afraid that it might fall into mortal hands and sought to destroy it with the Xuan Yuan Sword. However, before he could do so, the female broadsword turned into a red magpie and flew off.


Later, it was recorded that it fell into the hands of one of the emperors of the Han dynasty and one of the greatest emperors of ancient China recorded, known as Han Wu Ti (or the Military Emperor of Han). It was said that he gifted the Crying Swan to one of his close advisors Dongfang Suo . It was said that it finally fell into the hands of a mysterious person from the demonic realm.

Fabled Broadswords

The Broadsword of Xiang Yu

Appearance & Construction:

The broadsword seems to be covered with a vague pattern that looks like mountains and clouds. It is very sharp and can hew through raw jade like wood.


Reputedly the broadsword worn by Conqueror Xiang, major competitor against the founder of the Han dynasty in ancient China for the throne after the collapse of the Qin dynasty. It fell into the hands of Dong Zhuo (who held the position of First Councillor and was effectively the puppet master behind the Emperor. He and his underlings was ultimately vanquished by a coalition of various leaders from all over China at the time) during the period of the Three Kingdoms close to end of the Han dynasty. Its identity was revealed when Dong Zhuo showed the blade to Cai Yong who made the Scorched Tail.

The Dragon Scale (Long Ling Dao)

Appearance & Construction:

Named for the fact that the blade has patterns that looks like dragon scales, it contains a mechanical trap that will be sprung upon contact. It is about 75 cm long.


It part of a set of nine broadswords commissioned by Cao Pi (successor to Cao Cao of the Wei kingdom in the Three Kingdoms era and his eldest surviving son) and named respectively for their physical attributes. The idea of including a mechanical trap on the blade comes from the Chinese saying that “Each dragon has a scale that grows in the reverse direction to all others and touching it would anger the dragon.”

The Deer Slayer (Yi Lu Dao)

Appearance & Construction:

This broadsword is of a light indigo colour and it will remain unmarred by blood after usage. It is the piece that Xu Lu Zi, a direct descendant of Madam Xu (who forged Cold Moon as discussed above) created with a lifetime of devotion during the period of Spring and Autumn Warring States.


The broadsword of murderous intent, its name is in all possibility not given by its crafter but someone from later generations. It derives from someone who describes the fall of the Qin dynasty as “Qin lost its deer (here deer refers to the populace and is used as a metaphor for the ruling position), everyone pursues it and only the winner can get the deer and slays it” which became widely cited in later works that were written.

Chopper of the Fallen Rainbow (Chen Hong Zhan)

Appearance & Construction:

The most grand and spectacular broadsword forged by the master weaponsmith who went by the title of Kong Ling Zi during the Spring and Autumn Period.


It was said that when this broadsword was at the initial stage of forming, a heavy downpour suddenly materialised out of a sunny sky. After the downpour, a rainbow hung high on the sky. At the completion of this broadsword, the air emitted by it reached to the sky and cut the rainbow in half, which then dropped down slowly. Hence its name.

The Shadow Leaker (Lou Ying, pronounced Lo Ying)

Appearance & Construction:

Forged by Kong Ling Zi.


Named for the fact that nothing except for shadows would not meet with destruction where it clove through.

The Tian Gang Broadsword

Appearance & Construction:

A set of thirty-six broadswords made from the air of vigour (or righteousness) floating between the heaven and earth, the essence of the sun and the moon and the cold iron from Mt. Kun Lun (one of the reputed abodes for deities in Chinse lore) and forged within the furnace of the Taoist deity Tai Shang Lao Jun (famous for having in possession a range of miraculous pills that he made from his furnace, in the Journey of the West story, it was from being trapped within the furnace of Tai Shang Luo Jun that the protagonist attained his ability to seeing the truth of everything which in Chinese is called Fire Eyes and Golden Pupils). It was said that these blades emit a golden light.


The blades wielded by Li Jing, the fictional character in Investiture of the Gods (one of the four Chinese Literary Classics) who ascended to immortality and wielded a miniature tower as his weapon (hence his nickname of The Heavenly Lord who Holds a Tower in His Hands).

The Sun Swallower (Tun Ri Dao)

Appearance & Construction:

Forged by Wu Fang, a master bladesmith of the Warring States period. It is a very heavy blade and can break bones. It was said that this blade has absorbed the essence from the sun and moon during its forging and hence it is extraordinarily sharp as well.


So named by not the crafter but those of later generations because it is a mighty sword and its air of righteousness can shoot up to heaven and obscure the light of the sun.

Additional Ideas (2)

Tiger Wing- This sword , when the proper way of wielding is discovered, sends a wave of hot air(that smells like a wet tiger) at a single enimy.It gives a moderate penalty to ALL of his offences and defences(a backwards way of crafting a +2 Sword)

2015-06-28 10:42 AM » Link: [8213#94352|text]
Master Pao
The adventurerers here many tales of this legondary blade master and his amazing form. The tales grow taller and wilder. Imagine their surprise when they watch him butcher cows for an audiance!

2015-06-28 11:12 AM » Link: [8213#94355|text]
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Comments ( 4 )
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June 28, 2015, 0:00
Update: 4 more legendary/fabled broadswords to come but I had enough of Chinese translation for now. Probably in the coming weekend.
Voted Aramax
June 28, 2015, 10:34
You mentioned elsewhere that the names were not as good but I disagree, they are wonderful. The lore on these is amazing. I like your inclusion of the cow cutter, its master will make a cool rping little sniglet in my next project. It is the kind of little gem I have come to expect from these works

June 28, 2015, 20:05
I merely meant that some of the names were more unassuming but I think the lore more than made up for that.
Voted Scrasamax
July 2, 2015, 0:15
Nice listing of swords, and the history and mythology behind them is delightful. I like how they in varying instances create themselves (left over liquid metal in the forge) or fall from the sky (Cold Moon could easily be it's own entire submission) and how the various swords are more instruments of heaven than the works of the hands of men. They appear, do their tasks or spread their torment and are lost, or in some cases, turn into birds and fly away. The colorful use of language is something that is also lost in western mythology. Thank you for sharing this.
July 3, 2015, 23:32
Update: Added fabled broadsword section and added pic link to Dragon Tooth
July 15, 2015, 21:48
Update: Added Mandarin spelling to names as requested
Voted valadaar
August 27, 2015, 11:32
Really great submission - lots of nifty details and flavor.

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