12 September 2016

Ji Li (蒺藜)

Ming Chinese caltrop
A string of caltrops, from 'Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》)'.
Ji Li (蒺藜, lit. 'Puncturevine') is the Chinese name for caltrop. It is usually made of iron, although sometimes wood is used instead. Multiple caltrops, usually five or six, are often strung together with a one bu long rope, so that they can be deployed quickly and retrieved for latter use. Stringed caltrops can be hung on Ai Pai (挨牌) or spear shaft for ease of carrying.

Beside deploying caltrops via normal means, Ming Chinese also used grenades, land mines and explosive shells filled with caltrops.

Standard, four-pointed caltrop is sometimes known as Ling Jiao (菱角, lit. 'Water caltrop'), while caltrop cooked in human feces to inflict infection is called Gui Jian (鬼箭).

Ming Chinese Crow's foot
A four-pointed wooden caltrop (lower left) and two four-pointed iron caltrops (lower right), from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.
Ming Dynasty Makibishi
A multi-point iron caltrop (highlighted), from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.

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