Oxtail Dao (Chinese Saber)

LWDD, High Carbon Steel Blade, Wood Scabbard

Blade Length: 27″ long (68 cm.)

Sword Length: 34″ (87 cm.)

Overall Length: 36 1/2″ (92 cm.)

Sword Weight: 2 lb. (.9 kg.)

Our List Price: $485

The niuweidao, or “ox-tail saber” has a blade that is much wider overall than the other types of Chinese sabers. More importantly, the width of this saber’s blade increases away from the forte and then tapers to a point. The cutting edge has a markedly variable curve, remaining moderate for most of its length and then accelerating where it rounds the widened area leading to the point. Historically, this saber’s grip is almost always downward-curving.

The design of an ox-tail blade incorporates an edge with varying arc, which gradually accelerates towards the tip, and differing thickness relative to width which create different edge geometries along its length. The varying arc and width of the ox-tail blade creates different edge geometries along its length. These subtleties allow for the development of a great variety of cutting techniques at different positions relative to an opponent. The blade’s gradual widening, along with the final taper towards the point, allows for a efficiency slicing action further out on the blade. This widening also helps straighten the saber’s hilt/tip axis, helping it overcome the poor thrusting capabilities of highly-curved blades.

Likewise, the design of the mid-length curved grip allows for considerable versatility. It is intended primarily for one-handed use, but is long enough to allow for a more powerful “bastard” grip, formed by adding the first two or three fingers of the free hand at the pommel. The length of the grip, along with the gently expanded pommel, can also be used in conjunction with the swordsman’s forearm to catch an opponent’s wrist.