Original Ornate Boxer Rebellion Chinese Dragon Head Guandao Pole Arm - Circa 1900
Original Item: Only One Available. A guandao is a type of Chinese pole weapon that is used in some forms of Chinese martial arts. In Chinese, it is properly called a yanyuedao (偃月刀; lit. "reclining moon blade"), the name under which it always appears in texts from the Song to Qing dynasties such as the Wujing Zongyao and Huangchao Liqi Tushi. It is comparable to a European fauchard or glaive and consists of a heavy blade with a spike at the back and sometimes also a notch at the spike's upper base that can catch an opponent's weapon. In addition there are often irregular serrations that lead the back edge of the blade to the spike. The blade is mounted atop a 1.5 m to 1.8 m (56 foot) long wooden or metal pole with a pointed metal counter weight used to balance the heavy blade and for striking on the opposite end.
The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising or Yihetuan Movement was a violent anti-foreign, anti-colonial, and anti-Christian uprising that took place in China between 1899 and 1901, towards the end of the Qing dynasty. It was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness (Yihetuan), known in English as the "Boxers", and was motivated by proto-nationalist sentiments and opposition to Western colonialism and associated Christian missionary activity.
The uprising took place against a background of severe drought and the disruption caused by the growth of foreign spheres of influence. After several months of growing violence against both the foreign and Christian presence in Shandong and the North China plain in June 1900, Boxer fighters, convinced they were invulnerable to foreign weapons, converged on Beijing with the slogan "Support the Qing government and exterminate the foreigners." Foreigners and Chinese Christians sought refuge in the Legation Quarter. In response to reports of an armed invasion to lift the siege, the initially hesitant Empress Dowager Cixi supported the Boxers and on June 21 issued an Imperial Decree declaring war on the foreign powers. Diplomats, foreign civilians and soldiers as well as Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter were placed under siege by the Imperial Army of China and the Boxers for 55 days.
Chinese officialdom was split between those supporting the Boxers and those favoring conciliation, led by Prince Qing. The supreme commander of the Chinese forces, the Manchu General Ronglu (Junglu), later claimed that he acted to protect the besieged foreigners. The Eight-Nation Alliance, after being initially turned back, brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army, and arrived at Peking on August 14, relieving the siege of the Legations. Uncontrolled plunder of the capital and the surrounding countryside ensued, along with the summary execution of those suspected of being Boxers.
The Boxer Protocol of 7 September 1901 provided for the execution of government officials who had supported the Boxers, provisions for foreign troops to be stationed in Beijing, and 450 million taels of silver (approximately $10 billion at 2017 silver prices and more than the government's annual tax revenue) to be paid as indemnity over the course of the next thirty-nine years to the eight nations involved. The Empress Dowager then sponsored a set of institutional and fiscal changes in an attempt to save the Dynasty by reforming it.
We recently acquired a small collection of Boxer Rebellion items. This is example is a typical Boxer Rebellion era Pole Arm known as a GUANDAO. Although of similar design no two were identical. This example measures 64" in overall length, which includes the 28" blade. The wood shaft measures 36", having been shortened, most likely before transit to the West.
The stunning feature of this particular Guandao is however the fabulous "DRAGON'S HEAD" brass mount for the blade that portrays the blade coming out of the Dragon's mouth. One of the dragon's brass horns appears to have been broken away but it is hardly noticeable with all else that this feature has going on. It really is quite enchanting and very compelling.
Blade is engraved with various designs characteristic of the style just before and during the 1900 Rebellion. Brought back to the UK by a British soldier and offered in very good condition. Ready to display.
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