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The weapon supposedly comes from the time of the Yongzheng Emperor during the Qing Dynasty. There are stories and crude drawings detailing the appearance, but no clear instructions on the use or method of production are known to exist. The consensus is that it resembled a hat or flattened dome with a bladed rim and a long chain or cord attached to the weapon's top.
According to legend, the flying guillotine could be held by the top of the dome, allowing it to be used as a melee weapon or thrown like a flying buzzsaw. However, its deadliest application was its alleged ability to be thrown onto a victim's head, whereby a tug of the chain would release the rim from the main body and envelop the head in a silken trap before a second tug triggered a set of blades hidden in the interior of the rim to close shut and decapitate the target, hence its anglicized name. However, there is evidence that the weapon may have been used by being soaked with poison powerful enough to kill another person "at the sight of a drip of blood", thus giving it its Chinese name.