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The dagger-axe (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: ko; sometimes confusingly translated "halberd") is a type of weapon that was in use from Shang dynasty until at least Han dynasty China. It consists of a dagger-shaped blade made of jade or bronze, mounted by the tang of the dagger to a perpendicular wooden haft.

The head of the dagger-axe is divided into two, the scythe-like blade and the straight blade. Both are used in combat with the scythe-like blade used mainly as a head-decapitator. Normally only the head of a dagger-axe is found, with the haft absent due to either decomposition or mechanical removal. Although the jade examples do not appear to have been intended for use in actual combat, their morphology closely imitates that of the battle-ready bronze version, including a sharp central ridge which reinforces the blade. Some dagger-axe artifacts are small and curved, and could have been intended for use as pendants.

Dagger-axes appear to have seen use in combat, though most examples are ceremonial jade weapons found in the tombs of aristocrats. These examples are often found within the coffins themselves, possibly meant to serve as emblems of authority and power, or in some other ritualistic capacity. Sometimes they are found in a pit dug beneath a coffin, with a victim who was sacrificed to guard the tomb, where they presumably are intended to keep the spirit-guard armed.

Dagger-axes were also experimental weapons of the Chinese, as this continued they were able to fuse their dagger-axe with the traditional spear to form a halberd.

[edit] See also

nl:Dolk-bijl zh:戈


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