Another of my Chinese lore posts and this time it would stretch across a number of posts. Pictures for some of the “weapons” in this submission can be seen at http://baike.baidu.com/view/795444.htm. What’s available are for no 4 up to no 9. Same as usual, I’m starting with no. 10 and working backwards to no. 1.
No. 10: Pao Din’s Cooking Knife
Appearance & Construction:
An ordinary cooking knife in both appearance and construction, with an iron rectangular blade attached to a wooden handle. Such a knife is an all-purpose cooking knife that can be used to cut, dice and pound meat into minces and paste form for making meatballs.
Pao Din (which is not his actual name but is a term that just means “a cook whose surname is Din”) is renowned for his skill at killing a cow and dissecting it into various parts for cooking. In particular, it was said that he had attained his own Tao (refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tao for more details on this concept) in dissecting a cow. Specifically, he would always cut a cow at the empty gaps between tendon and flesh so that the blade of his cutting knife would meet no resistance. Consequently, while normal cooks have to change their cutting knives every few years, the blade of his knife never even gets to be honed. Also, there is an idiom directly evolved from this that is used to describe how someone could fulfil a particular task with ease. It is called You Ren You Yu which basically refers to the fact that the blade he wields can flit in and out of a whole cow with ease (The first character is the same character as swim but here it refers to the movement of the blade, Ren is the character for the cutting edge of the blade, You Yu means more than sufficient/adequate).
Overall, this knife is the only blade among the top 10 that are not married by human blood. In actual fact, it is a symbol of the Taoist Pathway of Nourishing Lives (Yang Sheng Zi Tao) that espouses the view that the commitment to drifting with the currents and passivity (i.e. letting everything naturally evolve by themselves) is the only way to attain the state of “You Ren You Yu”.
No. 9: the Tang Broadsword
A name that encompass four different classes of broadswords that have standard use in the army, it has become a very renowned ‘brand’ for Chinese broadswords in modern days. However, there is no record of any broadswords that go by such a name in actual history but such types of broadswords were roughly created some time during the period spanning from Western Han to the Tang dynasty. Specifically, it was said to come about from the attempt of smiths and soldiers in seeking to redesign blade heads to combine the characteristics of a longsword with the Western Han Ring Sword.
No. 8: The Kun Wu Broadsword
Appearance & Construction:
Named for being constructed from the material mined from Mt. Kun Wu.
It was said that on Mt. Kun Wu grew a special type of flame-red copper. Moreover, the legend says that a blade made out of such copper is able to cut through jade.