Language: Mandarin Chinese
Source: Classical literature


Liánjiābàng (連耞棒), literally "joined flail cudgel" is a Chinese type of war flail. During the Qing dynasty, such flails were used by among others the Hànjūn (漢軍) and the elite Zhili Province Green Standard Army.

Antique Chinese war flail

An antique Chinese war flail or liánjiābàng.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2016.

Hanjun flails

The 1766 Huangchao Liqi Tushi (皇朝禮器圖式) or "Illustrated Ceremonial Paraphernalia for our Dynasty" describes a pair in use by them:

My translation:

"Hànjūn Flail. According to;

Duyou, Tongdian; Chapter on soldiers guarding towns, says:
"The flail that is used to beat grain is also great to beat enemies on the outside of the battlements of the city wall."1

History of Song, General Diqing biography:
"Release from horseback the iron flail to attack."2

Mao Yuanyi, Treatise of Military Preparedness:
"From the western barbarians comes a weapon that is used from horseback to withstand infantry with great effect. It is like the flail used by a farmer beating the wheat, [but] it has iron fittings that connect the upper and lower [section]."3

The regulations of our dynasty, Han Army Flail;

Made of wood. The left and right of the pair have a stick that is 1 chi, 5 cun and 8 fen long. (Approx. 55 cm.)

The flail parts are 7 cun, 5 fen long. (Approx. 26 cm.)

The circumference is 2 cun 5 fen. All [wooden parts] are rubbed with butter. Both pommels are iron and the top of the handle is connected to the flail with iron rings.

Hanjun company commanders each take four. The same for the Provincial Garrisons and Green Standard Army. Other units have different regulations.4

Many thanks to Chen Zhaowei (陳兆偉) for helping me out with some difficult passages.
1. Tongdian or "Comprehensive Institutions" is a 200 volume institutional history and encyclopedic text, describing antiquity until the Tang dynasty, written by Duyou between 766 to 801.
2. The history of Song was commissioned in the Yuan dynasty in 1343. Diqing was a Northern Song general who lived from 1008 to 1057)
3. The Wubeizhi (武備志) or "Treatise of Military Preparedness" is an encyclopedic illustrated work on military matters by Ming naval commander Mao Yuanyi (茅元儀). The work was finished in 1594, the oldest printed edition dating from 1621.
4. Company commanders lead 10 men each, so 4 per 10 men.


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A rather well-made example of its type.


With good, layered blade, mounted in forged iron mounts.


A bronze processional piece with reign marks attributing it to the year 1864.


Such rings were worn by Qing dynasty "bannermen" as a sign of their status as a conquest elite.


A Chinese sword guard from the 18th century with a Buddhist mantra in lantsa script.


A fine sword guard dating from the height of the Qing dynasty. It were fine Chinese dāo hùshǒu like this example that became the prototypes for an entire genre of Japanese tsuba with strong Chinese influence. It's nice to find a 100% Chinese example from time to time, like this one.

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