Language: Mandarin Chinese
Source: Classical literature

Description

Yǎnyuèdāo (掩月刀) or "covered moon blade" is the name of a Chinese polearm that appears in the Wujing Zongyao (武經總要) or "Complete Essentials for the Military Classics" written between 1040-1044.

Wujing Zongyao
Page from the Wujing Zongyao.
The yǎnyuèdāo is the second from the left.

 

The weapon later got known by its alternative writing: yǎnyuèdāo (偃月刀) or "reclining moon blade" and is today mostly known as Guāndāo (關刀).

It is an iconic Chinese polearm that consists of a large blade with an accelerated curve near the tip and a spike at the back.1

Yanyuedao

Ming woodblock illustration of a yǎnyuèdāo.
From Chóuhǎi Túbiān (籌海圖編) by Ruozeng Zheng, 1562.

Alternative names

The weapon has went by many names throughout the course of history, including:

Yǎnyuèdāo (偃月刀) or "reclining moon blade" is the most commonly used name for the weapon through history.
Guāndāo (關刀): Appears in a Ming source of the late 16th century.Most commonly used name today among martial artists.
Dàdāo (大刀): In some Ming military and martial arts treatises of the early 17th century.3
Chūnqiūdāo (春秋刀): In some Qing military regulations of the 19th century.4
Qīnglóng yǎnyuèdāo (青龍偃月刀): A mythical version of the weapon wielded by Guan Yu in Romance of the Three Kingdoms.5

Notes
1. Wujing Zongyao (武經總要) or "Complete Essentials for the Military Classics" written between 1040-1044.
2. Liu Xiaozu; Sì Zhèn Sān Guān Zhì (四鎮三關誌) or “Record of four Towns and three Passes”, published between 1574 - 1576. The author was deputy commander of an important northern strategic outpost along the Great Wall.
3. Jing Guo Xiong Luo (經國雄略) of 1585, and Cheng Zi Yi (程子頤); dàdāo (大刀), published in the Wubei Yaolue (武備要略) of 1636. Chapter 8.
4. Gongbu Junqi Zeli (工部軍器則例) of 1815.
5. Sanguozhi Tongsu Yanyi (三國志通俗演義) or "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms". Attributed to Luo Guanzhong who lived somewhere between 1315 - 1400. The first official printed edition of the work was in 1522 with a preface date of 1494.

Further reading

For an elaborate article, see: yǎnyuèdāo.

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From approximately the 5th to 3rd century B.C.

€2800,-

Presented by the local Dai nobility to a British customs officer in 1936.

€3200,-

With designs of four dragons in scrollwork around a "wish-granting-jewel"

€5000,-

A fine Chinese straightsword blade, of typical Qing form with a rather wide profile.

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A rather well-made example of its type.

€1500,-

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

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