Talk:Dao (sword)

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Added a pic of a Chinese saber[edit]

This is NOT a katana. It is a Chinese saber

File:Chinese straightsaber.jpg
Chinese Single-edged Saber.

Courtesy of Alex Huangfu of

intranetusa 20:21, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Excessive size/weight?[edit]

When the Bagua zhang article references this weapon, it is as an excessively large weapon at least during practise so when the real weapons are used they are lighter and held with more strength. Any truth to this? Can you mention it? Tyciol 05:49, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, there is some truth to this. minghan 13:18, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Incorrect sword grip[edit]

It should be noted that pictured is the incorrect way of holding the Chinese broadsword or dao/dou. The sword should be placed in the left hand with the unsharpened side, i.e., the back of the blade being cradled in the arm, not the sharp part which could of course cause serious injury.

For some reason the picture isn't appearing when I open the article. I can get to the photo's page, though, and you are correct, the person is holding the dao backwards. Unfortunately nowadays that is a lot more common than you would imagine, but traditionally it wouldn't have been tolerated. I removed the photo caption from the dao article. Fire Star 22:28, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The new photo works much better, thanks! Fire Star 16:08, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Niu wei dao[edit]

"The last and still surviving blade of the Mongols' is the niuweidao (oxtail knife), which is the archetypal "Chinese broadsword" of kung fu movies today. The niuweidao was developed in the Qing dynasty, but was used only by civilians: it was not a war sword."

The Niu Wei Dao was not part of the developmental curve of the military Dao, it existed in parallel to the military Daos. This heavier blade appears in a brief and defined time frame, and is closely related to anti-imperial activities. This perhaps be explict in the text.

I find it a stretch to call it a 'surviving ... Mongol' weapon as in no time was it used by the mongol people, you would not describe the European Falchion as a Mongol weapon though it may share an Mongolian antecedent with the Dao.

Also I would take issue with saying it was 'not a war sword', it was used in armed conflicts such as the Boxer Rebellion, it would be better to say 'not a military issued weapon.'

In addition it should be mentioned that the reason the weapon remains the most common representation of the Dao is due its association with the colloquial Martial Arts of China.

Major restructuring and cleanup[edit]

This article has become rather disorganized, with redundant info, digressions, and little structure. I've gone through it taking a chronological approach to the development of various sorts of dao, aiming for content first, consistency and style in later passes, and trying to get a mass of information properly referenced (this last bit will take a while). Ergative rlt 00:33, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Not all curved swords are "Dao"[edit]

Tristan's primary weapon was a dao - it seems unlikely that this is the case, since the character in question is meant to be from a West Asian pre-Mongol tribe - and the Mongols did not become the rulers of china until the fall of the Song Dynasty in 1279. This article seems to be written from the POV that all curved swords some from the same Mongol influence (and is referring to this "mongol original" as a dao), most similar articles propose the more likely influence of "a natural development from single bladed tools such as a machete" and parallel similar developments. This needs to be rewritten to a NPOV -- Medains 10:32, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Change Article Title to Dao (broadsword) or Dao (saber)[edit]

Hi folks,

Any objections to slightly changing the title of this article to the more accurate: Dao (broadsword) or alternatively, Dao (saber)?

P. Tepper 21:58, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

It's not necessary, and an overspecification of what a dao is. VirogIt's notmy fault! 07:21, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Not necessary. --mh 09:59, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Dao and dadao[edit]

This site shows two different 'dao' type swords. One is very much the "Chinese Saber" model, and the second is something rather different, more resembling a falchion, or a scimitar. Are these just varied typologies of the dao, or has someone heard of a 'dadao' sword as well? Theblindsage (talk) 10:12, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Heng Dao[edit]

Does anyone have any references to a Tang Dynasty era blade called the Heng Dao? Aldis90 (talk) 22:11, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

nifty site[edit] In other news, this page is blacklisted for some wierd reason: thomas dot chen dot freewebspace dot com But it is quite a good site.

Theblindsage (talk) 02:37, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Image revert[edit]

As with the jian article, I'm reverting to the previous image: the recently added one comes from a message board thread where pics from the Huanuo catalog were posted without attribution and where the poster didn't seem to have any connection to Huanuo. Also, that the source for the image was given as the message board, as opposed to Huanuo or the original photographer, makes me suspect that the upload was in good faith but impermissable. Ergative rlt (talk) 00:45, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

General saber info[edit]

This section really belongs someplace more like the general articles on sabers and backswords, not here. So that it's still available, I've copied it below:

The Persian shamshir, the Indian talwar, the Afghani pulwar, the Turkish kilij, the Arabian saif (all of which can be referred to by the blanket-term "scimitar") and the European saber (adopted via Hungary's Magyar horsemen) and cutlass are perhaps descended from the Turko-Mongol curved blade.(referenced to:,

The refs for this could be beter as well. Ergative rlt (talk) 01:04, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Main image[edit]

I'm not a fan of the main image on this article, which is neither a historical dao nor an accurate/functional modern replica. I tried to find some better photos, but couldn't find anything good that was appropriately licensed for use on Wikipedia. If anyone owns a representative antique or replica dao, please consider taking a photo of it and replacing the current one. --Difference engine (talk) 18:15, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

2017 update, I'm happy to say that the Metropolitan Museum has released a bunch of their images into the public domain, and many have been uploaded to Commons, so I've finally updated the main image here to something more sensible. --diff (talk) 22:55, 26 August 2017 (UTC)

On the subject of 'broadswords'[edit]

I'm....a little dubious about the merit of our classification.

For one thing, the term 'broadsword', as far as I've heard, is just a victorian contrivance--it doesn't have any actual historical meaning. However, for the sake of argument, let's assume that it's a synonym for a basket-hilted sword, as that link evidently purports it to be.

....What exactly makes the dao a basket-hilted sword?

It most certainly is not. In fact, it's quite the opposite--the guard is minimalistic, frankly--which, if it's just a one-handed sword, is fine by me, but, whatever, I'm not here here to get into an argument about the efficacy of different sword designs.

In all seriousness, though, I'd really like to know why we allege that the dao is a 'broadsword'. It seems quite inaccurate. Next, you're going to be telling me that damascus steel slices through other swords, and all the other stereotypical melee weaponry apocrypha. Ghost Lourde (talk) 07:33, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

Addendum: Okay, so I reread it, and I realize now that it's called the 'chinese broadsword'. However, I'd like to know two things: 1) By who, and 2), why?

Moreover, it really isn't pertinent to be including a link to the basket-hilt sword there--it's rather misleading, frankly. There is no truly palpable similarity between the two, beyond them being, y'know, swords.

Even calling basket-hilt swords 'broadswords' is a bit frivolous, really, but whatever. Ghost Lourde (talk) 07:36, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, the term "broadsword" is fairly confusing even within the context of European swords. And I agree the dao is nothing like what is usually termed a broadsword. However, we're not in the business of prescribing sensible terminology. The common dao that everybody thinks of when they think of a dao has been referred to as a broadsword in English sources for quite some time (just search "Chinese broadsword" on Google Books). Since that is a very common name for this sword, it has to at least be mentioned in the lead. Although, I believe this article used to have a better explanation of this issue that got lost at some point. Looking at it now, I disagree with the sentence calling it a "Chinese sabre", which I don't think is a very common term for it. As for why people decided to call it a Chinese broadsword, your guess is as good as mine. A wikipedian whose name I forget had a (now-outdated) userspace article about how Japanese concepts tend to be represented using Japanese words in English even when there is an equivalent English-language term, while Chinese concepts tend to be represented as "Chinese <thing>", where <thing> is an extant English-language term. Chinese chess, Chinese zodiac, Chinese dragon, etc. --Difference engine (talk) 01:15, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
You're right, that's a curious little cultural phenomenon. I don't call the guard of a katana a guard, I call it a tsuba--even though, strictly speaking, they're essentially analogous words. Sure, they've come to have their own idiosyncratic meanings--after all, you wouldn't call a crossguard a tsuba--but you'd think we'd call it a 'katana guard' or a 'Japanese guard'. I blame anime. Anyway, I don't exactly concur with the sentiment that we should be upholding common 'knowledge' based on nothing more than the virtue of the fact that it is common. That's just an intellectual form of status quo bias. Sure, it does take a considerable amount of tenacity and persistence to reorient the public purview, but such a task should be inviting, not daunting. We *should* be in the business of prescribing sensible terminology. We're quite ready to point that Shinobi probably didn't dress in shozokus all that frequently in our articles--why not rectify another falsity? At the very least, we need to cite some sources which do not themselves concur with what I'm saying right now with almost absolute parity. Ghost Lourde (talk) 03:08, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it's the same thing as a factual error. Words mean whatever people understand them to mean. It doesn't have to make any sense. Advocating for a particular term over another is more like linguistic prescriptivism than rectifying false statements about history. However, I do agree we need citations regarding what names the sword is known by. --Difference engine (talk) 21:10, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Oh, whatever. We should at least dedicate a sentence to the subject, though. Ghost Lourde (talk) 23:21, 7 March 2015 (UTC)