Illustrations of Qing regulation swords

The weapon illustrations below are selections from the Qing Imperial Document "Illustrated Regulations for the Ceremonial Paraphernalia of the Qing Dynasty", compiled during Emperor Qianlong's reign (1736-1795). At present, there are a total of about 500~600 Qing Imperial sabers preserved in the collection of the Forbidden City Palace Museum in Beijing, the finest collection of such weapons in the world.

Imperial Regulation Weapons:
 Green Standard Army " kuanren dadao " with an overall length of 142.6 centimeters, blade length 74.4 cm and handle length 68.2 cm.

2) Green Standard Army " chuanweidao " with an overall length of 105.4 centimeters, blade length 68.2 cm and handle length 37.2 cm. The predecessor of the WW2 dadaos...

3) Saber worn by the Qinwang and Junwang: Imperial Princes of the First and Second Degrees

4) Saber worn by the Beile and Zhiru Bafengong: Imperial Princes of the Third Degree and of the Eight Exalted Ranks of Nobles. These sabers labelled 3) and 4) are distinctive as their fittings are studded with coral, saltwater pearl, lapis lazuli, and turquoise. Refer to:

5) Standard saber worn by officials

6) Green Standard Army " wodao "; this saber has a handle length of 26.4 centimeters, long enough for a 2-handed grip; total overall length: 1.07 meters. As for the Green Standard Army, it had consisted of a numerical strength of about 600,000 ethnic Han Chinese troops throughout most of the 18th century, and were divided into combat troops and garrison forces.

7) Green Standard Army " zhanmadao " (horse-chopping saber) with a 1:3 hilt vs blade ratio, a heavy 2-handed sword with a legacy dating back from the Song Dynasty (specifically 1072 AD); total length: 1.48 meters. Also see my webpage on Song swords. There are extant examples of both the "wodao" and the "zhanmadao" in the collection of the Forbidden City Palace Museum.

8) Standard foot soldier's saber

Illustrations of Qing Imperial Regulation Weapons:

Above: The chart and numerical table show the quantitative measurements of 7 double-handed weapons of the Green Standard Army.
Note that the beidao, shuangshoudai and changren dadao are sabers and look similiar to the zhanmadao, but with varying blade and handle lengths. A
s for the kuanren dadao and chuanweidao, they both have broad "dadao" blades as shown in the earlier illustration above. 




Below -- From Top to Bottom

1) A  genuine Qing Dynasty zhanmadao , custom-forged and equipped with high-end fittings.

2) A modern replica of the zhanmadao, featuring a blade that is forged / folded and with forge-welded/laminated construction, made by the forge of Fred Chen. The scabbard, following tradition, is entirely covered with rayskin.

3) An Imperial painting of a Qing mounted officer carrying a zhanmadao and a woodblock print of 3 soldiers in armour, one of whom is wielding the kuanren dadao.


Left pic: Imperial Court painting (dated 1776) of Qing Dynasty General Mingliang (lived 1736-1822), clad in armour with his Imperial Regulation saber.

Right pic: Manchu Imperial Guardsman of 3rd rank (comparable to the rank of colonel in modern times) by the name of Uksiltu, with his saber (partially hidden), bow, bowcase and quiver of arrows.

Click on the above pics to see more...