Object Title

Glaive / Yanyue dao

Glaive / Yanyue dao



Object Number



Purchased at auction, Sotheby's, Billingshurst 27 September 1994 lot 279.

Physical Description

The blade is single edged and curved, with a medial ridge running up to the point. The back has three cusps at the point, and a central fluke with four scallops and a curled cut-out. The fluke is pierced for attachment of a tassel. The haft is later, probobly Qing dynasty. It has a brass ferrule in the from of a dragon, the blade issuing from its mouth, and a grip formed of two pieces of rosewood with a pierced ruyi pommel, a brass band adjacent to the pommel, and two brass tang rivets with double sets of brass washers cut in the form of lotus flowers.


BladeLength522 mm
OverallLength910 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Inscribed on the blade 'Chengde yi go nian yusi' (Chende 5th year imperial gift).


Places China


The type name of yanyue dao (lying-back moon glaive) is given in the Ming Wubei zhi encycolpedia, vol. 4, p. 103. Similar glaives are shown in the Imperial processions of Ming Shizong (1522-66), reproduced in Na Chih-liang and W Kohler, The Emperor's Procession, Taibei, 1970, pl. 1, and figs 3, 6 and 31. The reign period of the Chengde emperor is 1505-21. The peice was catalogued in the sale as Japanese on account of the alternative Japanese reading 'Shotoku go nen oncho', giving the date 1715; however, the piece is clearly Chinese from its form.