In general, it is possible to talk about the appearance of a sword in China from about the 8th century BC - according to researchers, mainly knives and daggers are used in everyday life. But the first single-edged swords of "Tao" began to appear at the turn of the I century BC. er - I century AD er Their distinguishing feature was that, with one-sided sharpening, they had a straight and long blade. At the same time, such a sword was used massively several centuries later - in the VII-XII centuries AD (the period of Tang and Song).
So, on numerous bas-reliefs of that time one can find warriors armed with characteristic long swords with a ring-shaped top of the handle. Saber bend "Dao" acquired, which is not surprising, due to the conquest of China by the Mongols. In particular, it was precisely under the influence of the invaders that the tradition of peculiar wearing of the belt dao - paido was formed: on the left side, with the blade down and the hilt back. Nomads in this way wore a saber, because besides her left in the beam there was a bow, which had to be snatched at any moment.
Strangely enough, it is believed that the Japanese could have had an impact on the development of the tao, although in the traditional view of the relations between China and Japan, the majority of borrowings were made, on the contrary, by the Japanese from the Chinese. This, according to scientists, is indicated by the appearance in China of long two-handed swords (such as, for example, the jijiao sword - “the sword of seven qi”, or zhanmadao - “sword that undercut a horse”) due to clashes with Japanese pirates - “waco”, often raiding the shores of China. One of the most famous waco fighters of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Qi Jiguang, wrote that “it’s difficult to resist a short Chinese weapon to the Japanese sword (tati), and a long one (weapon) is not clever enough”.
Therefore, it can be assumed that the next round of Tao swords, popular in the Ming dynasty, was a kind of Chinese and Japanese symbiosis: it was more curved, lighter than its predecessors, long and with a round, like Japanese swords garda.
Behind the Japanese, the Manchus had their own fashion and influence on the Tao. A new type of sword was named lyedao - “willow leaf”: such a saber could be both prick and chop, which made it popular both with infantrymen and cavalry warriors, they also armed the main forces of the army throughout the Qing dynasty ( 1636−1912).
And already quite classical in our view, familiar to us from sports wushu, the sword - the Nuwaidao (“cow's tail”) - was formed in the XVIII century and, in fact, is a modification of lyuedao. True, it is more pronounced unusual shape, reminiscent of the Latin letter "S": this impression is due to increasing to the tip of Yelmani, while the handle is bent to the other side from the end of the blade. At the same time, a round guard protecting the hand was preserved. The wide blade of the Nyuweydao, apparently, was partly made in the folk tradition of wide-bladed swords, which is why the cow's tail is believed to be enjoyed by the native Chinese, who fought against all the same Manchus.
Ihatuani with dadao behind
The Chinese ihateuan rebels used the nuweidao during the famous boxing uprising of 1899, although the rebels used the dadao, a large two-handed sword. The top of his hand was made in the form of a ring traditional for the Chinese sword, which was probably quite symbolic. Dadao with a total length of, for example, 80 cm, had a not very long blade — only 50 cm (while the handle was 30 cm, respectively, although the Dadao could be with a much longer handle and resembled a halberd). Peasants, simple people could easily cope with such a sword, so it is not surprising that it was perceived not only as a symbol, but also as a formidable weapon, even in unprepared hands. Dadao was also popular during the Sino-Japanese war in the 20th century. Interestingly, in the narrow alleys of the Chinese streets, soldiers with Dadao swords in melee gained a significant advantage, while the Japanese managed to shoot only a couple of times, after which a lot of crushing dadao sweeping blows fell upon them.