27 October 2015

Li Tou Biao (犁頭鏢)

Li Tou Biao (犁頭鏢, lit. 'Plough head javelin')
Ming Dynasty Heavy Javelin
Drawing of a Li Tou Biao, from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.
Li Tou Biao is a type of specialised harpoon designed for naval warfare. Unlike regular javelin, Li Tou Biao has a very long shaft and weighted spearhead. It is designed to be thrown from high place (i.e. a fighting top of a large warship) at a target positioned at lower place (i.e. a small boat, enemy boarding parties. etc.), in a fashion not unlike traditional spearfishing. The heavy spearhead of Li Tou Biao can damage or even outright sink smaller boat directly.

Since Li Tou Biao is very heavy, it will encumber its bearer quickly. Ming troops usually carry only a few Li Tou Biao and supplement it with lighter Xiao Biao.

Xiao Biao (小鏢, small javelin)
Chinese light harpoon
Drawing of a Xiao Biao, from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.
Xiao Biao is the lightweight version of Li Tou Biao designed for anti-personnel use. It replaces the heavy spearhead of Li Tou Biao with a lighter one, but is otherwise identical to Li Tou Biao.

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