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Chinese swords and polearms

作者 admin 浏览 发布时间 2018-08-22 09:03

  The Chinese classify all swords into two types, jian (劍) and dao (刀). Jians are double-edged straight swords while daos are single-edged, and mostly curved from the Song dynasty forward. The jian has been translated at times as a long sword, and the dao a saber or a knife. Bronze jians appeared during the mid-third century BC and switched to wrought iron and steel during the late Warring States period. Other than specialized weapons like the Divided Dao, Chinese swords are usually 70–110?cm in length, although longer swords have been found on occasion. Outside of China, Chinese swords were also used in Japan from the third to sixth century AD, but were replaced with Korean and native Japanese swords by the middle Heian era.

  The three most common types of Chinese polearms are the ge (戈), qiang (槍), and ji (戟). They are translated into English as dagger-axe, spear, and halberd. Dagger-axes were originally a short slashing weapon with a 0.9 to 1.8 m long shaft, but around the 4th century BC a spearhead was added to the blade, and it became a halberd. The spear is also sometimes called a mao (矛), which is also sometimes used to designate polearms with a wavy snake-like spearhead. From the Warring States period onward, the length of Chinese polearms varied from around 2.8 m to 5.5 m, however there is no specific designation for a pike in the traditional Chinese lexicon. A very long spear is just called a long spear.

  Knives were found in Fu Hao's tomb, dated c. 1200 BC.

  Early handheld weapons included the dagger-axe, a bronze blade mounted at right angles to a 0.9 to 1.8 m long shaft, and bronze spears roughly 2.1 m in length. The dagger-axe was the first Chinese weapon designed to kill other people. Battles were fought in open formation to allow for the swinging of dagger-axes.

  Bronze jians appeared during the Western Zhou. The blades were a mere 28 to 46?cm long. These short stabbing weapons were used as a last defense when all other options had failed.

  By the late Spring and Autumn period, jians lengthened to about 56?cm. At this point at least some soldiers used the jian rather than the dagger-axe due to its greater flexibility and portability.

  China started producing steel in the 6th century BC, but it was not until later on that iron and steel implements were produced in useful amounts. By around 500 BC however the sword and shield combination began to be regarded as superior to the spear and dagger-axe.

  Iron and steel swords of 80 to 100?cm in length appeared during the mid Warring States period in the states of Chu, Han, and Yan. The majority of weapons were still made of bronze but iron and steel weapons were starting to become more common.

  By the end of the 4th century BC, dagger-axes with spearheads began to appear, essentially becoming a halberd. Spears and halberds came in two general sizes. One about 2.8 m long and the other around 5.5m, or what would be considered a pike in western terminology. According to Wu Qi, tall men were given bows and arrows while short men spears and halberds.

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