Green Dragon Crescent Blade

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Green Dragon Crescent Blade in Xiezhou Guandi Temple, Yuncheng

The Green Dragon Crescent Blade (青龍偃月刀, Mandarin: qīng lóng yǎn yuè dāo, Cantonese: ching¹ lung⁴ yim² yuet⁶ do¹) was a legendary weapon wielded by Guan Yu in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It is a guandao, a type of traditional Chinese weapon.

It is also sometimes referred to as the Frost Fair Blade (冷艷鋸, lěng yàn jù), from the idea that during a battle in the snow, the blade continuously had blood on it; the blood froze and made a layer of frost on the blade.

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms[edit]

In the novel by Luo Guanzhong, the blade was forged by a local blacksmith using steel sponsored by Zhang Shiping (張世平), a merchant sympathetic to Liu Bei's cause. When Guan Yu met his end at the hands of Lü Meng in 219, the blade was given to Pan Zhang by Sun Quan for his role in capturing of Guan Yu. Later, when Guan Yu's son Guan Xing soon sought revenge on Pan Zhang, Pan Zhang was startled by a vision of Guan Yu's spirit and was killed by Guan Xing. Guan Xing took back the Green Dragon Crescent Blade and thus the blade was passed down from father to son.

Historical validity[edit]

It is highly questionable whether Guan Yu actually wielded the Green Dragon or whether it was merely part of the myths surrounding him, valid historical text from his time period made no mention of him or anyone wielding a similar weapon. Because the guandao was known not to be widely used until the Song Dynasty, there is some doubt as to whether the guandao existed during Guan Yu's time. The guandao may not have been very widely used because it was both difficult to wield, because of its heavy weight (Guan Yu, reportedly, was able to wield it with much agility with just one hand, while most people would have trouble using it effectively even with both hands) - however, this may be due to the legend of the weight surrounding the blade - whereas in reality, it was much lighter.

According to Romance of the Three Kingdoms/Chapter 1, the Green Dragon Crescent Blade was said to weigh 82 catties. During the Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms periods, one catty was approximately 220 grams, so 82 catties would have been approximately 18.04 kilograms (~39.7782 pounds).zh:度量衡 A weapon weighing about 100 pounds (~48 kilograms) purported to be the Green Dragon Crescent Blade is on display at the Purple Cloud Temple in China today.

Rumoured origins[edit]

Legend says that Guan Yu invented the guandao. He had it forged after he met Liu Bei and Zhang Fei but before he made the Oath of the Peach Garden.

The story of the blade was that there was a blacksmith forging the blade when suddenly a green dragon passed by. The dragon was cut up and the body became part of the pieces therefore making the dao a magical weapon.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The weapon appears in several video games made by Koei, but under incorrectly translated names. For example, it is called the "Black Dragon" in Kessen 2. However, in the Dynasty Warriors series it is named the Blue Dragon Blade. This is likely because qing (?) is a greenish turquoise colour, and interpretation depends on time period in question and context of use. In this particular case, Green is most accurate.
  • Guan Yu, as a god, is armed with his weapon in Smite.
  • In the anime and manga series Ikki Tousen and visual novel and anime Koihime Musō, this weapon is wielded by Unchou Kanu (関羽 雲長 Kan'u Unchō?), which is the Japanese name of Guan Yu.
  • Touhou Project character Youmu Konpaku even mentions the weapon upon defeating Hong Meiling. in which she asks why the latter does not wield it. But Youmu only hears them in stories, so this information may be on purpose.
  • Counter-Strike Online also adopts this weapon as a premium melee weapon which can be obtained rarely from the event. It has a very high destructive power.