This weapon supposedly hails from the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor during the Qing Dynasty. There are stories and crude drawings detailing its appearance but no clear instructions on its use or production are known to exist. The consensus is that the weapon resembled a hat with a bladed rim with a long chain attached to it. One alleged way of using it is that, upon enveloping one's head, the blades cleanly decapitate the victim with a pull of the chain. This gives the weapon its English name. However, there is also evidence that the weapon may have been soaked in deadly poison before use, such that it can kill a person immediately when blood is drawn (literally "at the sight of a drip of blood"), which gives rise to its Chinese name.
The underside of the guillotine as shown in the 1974 Hong Kong film Flying Guillotine.
The flying guillotine is featured in television programmes such as Hung Hei-Gun: Decisive Battle With Praying Mantis Fists (1994), the National Geographic Channel Asia documentary Kung-Fu Killers, and a 2011 episode of Mythbusters.