Chinese Spear: The King of Chinese Weapons
What’s in this article?
Qiang is the name for the Chinese spear. It’s called the king of Chinese weapons and has been used since ancient times. It is very long but not very heavy. Ancient texts say to attack like a dragon rising from the water, coming at the enemy from all sides until it reaches its target.
We’ll talk about the Chinese spear and what makes it so strong. We will discuss the types and what causes them to differ from other spears. Then we’ll examine what the Qiang looks like and the best Chinese spears you can buy online. Finally, you will learn how it is used correctly and a bit about its past.
Types of Chinese Spear
There are four types of Chinese spears. They are the Chinese spear sword, the single and double hook spears, and the snake head pattern spear. Let’s look at them separately.
Chinese Spear Sword
The Chinese spear is modified to be used not only as a thrusting weapon but as a slashing one, like a sword. That is why the leaf is sharpened on every side, and the Chinese Qiang can be used to attack from various distances.
Single Hook Chinese Spear
This Chinese spear has a single hook on the side and neck of the shaft. It is added to enhance the spear’s use as a thrusting and side-stabbing weapon.
Double Hook Chinese Spear
The double hook Chinese spear has two hooks, sometimes on both sides of the shaft or simply placed on one side. This way, the Chinese spear can be used as a halberd or an axe.
The Snake Head Pattern Spear
This type of Chinese spear has a pointy and deadly steel edge made in the form of a snake. You can easily recognize this spear as it differs from the normal leaf look. This type of spear didn’t have much practical use and was primarily used for ceremonial purposes.
Characteristics of the Chinese Spear
The Chinese spear has a distinct red horsehair tassel and a leaf-shaped blade.
The usual weight of the Qiang is from 4 to 10 pounds (1.8 to 4.5 kg). It was made lightweight for quick and effective strikes.
Length and Size
There are three types of Chinese spears when it comes to the length of the Qiang.
- Spiked staffs – under 8 feet (2.5 meters)
- Short spears – above 8 and under 13 feet (4 meters)
- Long spears – above 42 feet (13 meters)
The average length of the Qiang is 6 to 9 feet long (1.8 to 2.8 meters). This made it a very reliable and useful tool to use. It can keep the enemy at bay while delivering deadly and unpredictable moves from all sides.
The tassel shows that the soldier is part of an elite unit. It also works well for tactical purposes. For example, when the spear moves quickly, the tassel helps blur or confuse the enemy’s vision, making it harder for them to grab the spear’s shaft.
Some might even say that it is used so that the enemy’s blood won’t go into the hands of the wielder of the Chinese spear, as blood can make it sticky or hard to use. In modern times, the tassel is used in many LARPs. It plays a very important role, usually showing who the leaders are.
Usage of the Chinese Spear
To use the spear well, you need strength and agility and make multiple big and small sweeping and circular movements.
Unlike spears used in other countries, the Chinese spear wasn’t made to be thrown. Instead, a special set of techniques, similar to the single-headed staff, was used.
Generals preferred spears because they were better than other Chinese weapons in terms of how they worked and what they could be used for. The spear was usually light in relation to its length and could be used quickly, reaching a maximum range of 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) if used one-handed.
When students want to enter Chinese martial arts to learn some of its history and usage, the first test they need to pass is the Chinese spear technique.
The Chinese spear is one of the four main weapons (spear, sword, saber, and pole) of Tai Chi. A special type of Tai Chi Chinese spear is made of wax wood specifically for the size and height of a student for easier understanding and use. Surprisingly, there are 71 forms of the Chinese spear that one student can learn!
The Qiang is also a weapon used in the traditional Chinese martial art known as Kung Fu. It is one of the eight weapons used for training. Chinese Kung Fu has a lot of Shaolin spear forms to learn that take years to master and perfect.
Best Chinese Spears Available Online
There are undoubtedly several choices among the high-quality Chinese spears. A Chinese spear is a fairly expensive weapon to own as it takes much time and effort to create.
Here are some of the best available Chinese spears.
1. Best Overall – Chinese Dragon Damascus Steel Qiang
This Dragon spear is beautiful and useful. It is made from folded high-carbon Damascus steel and has a stainless steel handle. These spears were one of the first weapons Japanese warriors used. Therefore, its usage and effectiveness were very well known. The technique for this weapon involves thrusting and stabbing but sometimes also slashing and hitting.
This is a hand-forged Qiang, which is sharpened and battle ready. It has an overall length of 6.5 feet (2 meters) and weighs exactly 8.8 pounds (4 kg).
2. Best on a Budget – Carbon Steel Chinese Qiang Spear
The blade of the spear is made of 1060 stainless steel, giving a fully functional spear that works best for cutting soft or medium targets. This spear is battle ready and will be delivered sharpened for immediate use if needed. Although it comes at a low price, it is ideal for use.
The spear has a total length of 7.8 feet (2.4 meters) and weighs 6.6 pounds (3 kg). It is very long but also very light. This budget Qiang can be a great weapon or kept as a decorative piece.
3. Best for LARP – Dragon and Tiger styled Qiang
This spear is made with the dragon and tiger on it. This symbol is imprinted on the ropes it carries around and on the spearhead. If you want to participate in a LARP to show off the Chinese dynasty, consider choosing the dragon and tiger as your symbol.
This LARP spear is not very long – 4.9 feet long (1.5 meters), making it the ideal length for roleplay scenarios. It weighs a total of 12.7 pounds (5.8 kg), and it comes at a moderate price.
4. Best Premium – Chinese Damascus Steel Battle Ready Qiang
This spear is a beautiful replica of an ancient Chinese weapon that was only used by the best soldiers. The leaf-shaped blade is hand-made from folded pattern steel and polished by hand 13 times in the traditional way. The shaft is made of the highest quality stainless steel, which contributes to its high price. The tassel shows that a soldier is an elite soldier with tactical use.
This is a hand-forged and sharpened Damascus steel battle-ready Qiang, which weighs 6.5 pounds (2.9 kg) and is 6.5 feet (2 meters) long.
Construction of the Chinese Spear
An interesting fact about the construction of the Chinese spear is that it takes 11 different people to craft it, and only six are focused on the iron/steel parts.
First, the shaft is created. Most spear shafts were made from hardwoods like ash or hickory that were strong and flexible, but sometimes other types of wood were used, such as white wax wood or joined strips of bamboo that were wrapped in birch bark and lacquered. The ones made from wax wood are called flower spears or wushu.
It is made of steel or iron, and the sides are carefully scraped to give it not only a sharp point at the end but also a sharp edge on both sides. The end of the spear can be very heavy. For that reason, a metal cap is added on top of the spear shaft so that the weight is evenly distributed.
History of the Chinese Spear
The Chinese spear, called a Ch’iang or Qiang, is probably thousands of years old. Not only is it one of the oldest military weapons in China, but it was a weapon that was regularly used throughout the years.
Before 400 BC, foot soldiers used nine feet long (2.7 meters) spears, but sometimes they used ones that were eighteen feet long (5.5 meters). These Chinese spears had a point that could thrust and a blade that could cut or hook.
Ancient texts say that a soldier would take a year to learn how to use a Jian – a thrusting double-bladed sword, while it only took one month to teach them how to use the Chinese spear.
Through the years, the Chinese spear was regularly improved upon. The armor of the Chinese warriors was getting bigger, meaning that the weapons needed to follow suit. That is why the Qiang had a sharp point, two edges on the sides, and was made to be used in nearly all sorts of fighting situations.
The biggest Chinese myths and legends are often described as the hero or heroine wielding a Chinese type of Qiang, or spear. The most recognizable ones you may hear about are Hua Mulan, Li Chung, and Yang Cheng Fu. They developed certain methods to slash and destroy thousands of enemies using this weapon as a spear and a sword.
Chinese Spear vs. Javelin
The difference between a Chinese spear and a javelin is that the Chinese spear isn’t meant to be a throwing weapon. It can be used as a normal spear to attack from a distance or a slashing sword from the side. It can even be used as a long pole weapon for stabbing and thrusting.
The javelin is a light spear used for light combat and mostly for throwing. However, this isn’t the case with the Chinese spear.
Just as the Katana is Japan’s biggest and most important weapon, the Chinese spear is the oldest, most used, and most valued weapon in China. It remains one of the most used and recognizable Chinese weapons in modern times and deservingly holds the king title in its name.