2 April 2015

Xian Qiang (線鎗)

Ming Chinese Cavalry Spear
Drawing of a Xian Qiang, from 'Lian Bing Za Ji (《練兵雜紀》)'.
Xian Qiang (線鎗, lit. 'Line spear' or 'Linear spear') is a lightweight lance or cavalry spear used by Ming cavalrymen in Northern China. General Qi Ji Guang (戚繼光) standardised the weapon into its current form, with a two chi spearhead and seven chi shaft, for a total length of nine chi. The spear shaft is extremely thin, only one cun in diameter, and the spear only weights three catties.The spearhead is tapered to an acute point for better penetration.

This spear is also known as Tou Jia Qiang (透甲鎗, armour-piercing spear) for its armour piercing properties.


  1. Was waxwood or any flexible type of wood commonly seen in martial arts films and wushu demonstrations used historically or did the Imperial military use hard wood?

    1. Hardwood was the preferred and practical material for spear shaft, especially since Chinese battlefield spears usually range from 2.9m to 5.8m in length.

      Early Qing martial artist Wu Shu also considered waxwood too soft and only suitable for staff weapon.

      Nevertheless, softwood and bamboo were also used as spear shaft, particularly for spears of extreme length (7.7m and above).

  2. which point(base on the drawing) of the shaft is a spear head?

    1. very interesting does that leaf shape spear head add anything on penetration?

    2. I am pretty sure the spearhead has a triangular or square cross-section, more like a spike than a blade.


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