Green Dragon Crescent Blade
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|Green Dragon Crescent Blade|
|Alternative Chinese name|
The Green Dragon Crescent Blade (Chinese: 青龍偃月刀) 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), 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
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.
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 texts 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 and heavy (Guan Yu, reportedly, was able to wield it with 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 Chapter 1 of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, 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). 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.
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.