Language: Mandarin Chinese
Source: Classical literature


Dāo dǐ yún (刀底雲) literally means "saber end cloud".1 It is a type of Chinese scabbard endpiece with cutouts in the form of highly stylized clouds. The style originated in elite circles as a revival of earlier Ming aesthetics and slowly gained popularity from the mid 18th century onwards and became standard on most military sabers by the 19th century.

The shape referred to the imperial troops being the "heavenly troops" whom, through the emperor, helped execute heaven's will.

Scabbard endpiece

Scabbard endpiece with stylized cloud cutouts on a southern Chinese military saber.


Qing military saber

A standard Qing military pattern saber of the mid 19th century, showing the style in full with a matching mouthpiece.

Also see

For a complete overview of saber terminology, see: A Chinese saber glossary.

1. Gongbu Junqi Zeli (工部軍器則例) or "Regulations and precedents on military equipment for the Board of Works" of 1815. A Qing imperial text dealing with the details of arms manufacture.

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me

A rather well-made example of its type.


Used to move imperial orders from the emperor’s quarters to the recipient.


Named so after the two ridges that are formed on the bi-fullered blade.


With a recurved blade and elaborate bronze hilt decorated with chakras.


With pierced mounts and velvet-covered scabbard.


With beautifully shaped blade and fine, elaborately chiseled hilt.

Chinese long sabers of the Qing dynasty
In the late Ming dynasty, Chinese coasts were raided by Japanese pi...
Read the article
Antique Vietnamese swords
A reference list of antique Vietnamese swords and sabers I've ...
Read the article
Qing bow glossary
A glossary of terminology regarding the Manchu style bow that was i...
Read the article
A saber glossary in Manchu
An overview of Manchu saber terminology.
Read the article