Language: Mandarin Chinese


The hǔqiāngyíng虎槍營)or "Tiger Spear Division" was set up in the 23rd year of Kangxi (1677). They were the best horseback archers drawn from the Eight Banners Vanguard, Guard Division, and Firearms Division. They served as imperial guards while the emperor was in the imperial hunting grounds of Mulan, an area full of wild animals such as bears and the large Siberian tiger.

Their spear, the hǔqiāng虎槍or "tiger spear" was a traditional Manchu hunting spear, with its two stoppers to prevent the spear from penetrating so deep that the animal could reach the wielder. They are related to Siberian large game hunting spears with the same feature.


tiger spears in artwork and museum collections

Top left: Left a member of a Qing imperial hunting party with a tiger spear worn through his belt.

Top right: the Qianlong emperor and his tiger spearmen hunting tiger.

Bottom left: Left a magnificent antique tiger spear I photographed in the Palace Museum in Beijing, with sunken panels inspired by Indian push daggers.

Bottom right: A more standard antique tiger spear I photographed in the Beijing military museum in 2008.



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A very rare Chinese saber guard dating from the height of the Qing dynasty.


With markings attributing it to the Tongzhou incident and a Japanese surrender tag.


Of classic shape, with a leaf-shaped blade on a socket, connected by a cast bronze base.


Built around an imported blade, with a human head shaped pommel.


A standard pattern Qing military saber, but with the rare addition of a label in Manchu.


A robust and heavy example, crafted with care.