14 December 2015

Pao (礟)

Ming Chinese Trebuchet
Side view of a Pao, from 'Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》)'.
Ming Chinese Traction Trebuchet
Top view of a Pao, from 'Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》)'.
Pao (礟, trebuchet) is the Chinese name for traction trebuchet. Also known as Pao (砲) during the previous dynasties, the latter term gradually became associated with guns and cannons. Traction trebuchet originated in China and its use reached the zenith during Song period. While the importance of trebuchet diminished after the invention of cannons, it still remained a useful weapon in Ming arsenal.

Ming Chinese inherited many Song period traction trebuchet designs, but did not seem to make use of any of them. Ming version of traction trebuchet was devised by general Qi Ji Guang (戚繼光). He greatly simplified the design and reduced the many variants of Song Dynasty traction trebuchet into one single type.

Although usually regarded as a siege weapon, traction trebuchet is more often used in siege defence.

Song Dynasty Light Trebuchet
He Pao (合砲, lit. 'Combined tribuchet'), the simplest of Song Dynasty tribuchets, is nearly identical to Qi Ji Guang's design. From 'Wu Jing Zong Yao (《武經總要》)'.


  1. Hey I was wondering if you were planning on doing a post about traction trebuchet in China. It's a difficult topic to find information on and a article would be of great help form me.

    1. No at the moment - it seems that traction trebuchet is a often neglected topic and there's hardly anything that I can find.


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