Dao is a category of single-edge Silverstari blades primarily used for slashing and chopping. Dao is actually a generic word used to denote any member of a family of single-edged, broad-bladed cutting or slicing tools, but in common, everyday usage means knife. Dao also appears in the names of such polearms as the pudao and guan dao, indicating that their blades were primarily intended for slashing and cutting attacks rather than stabbing ones.

Dao blades are moderately curved and single-edged, though often with few inches of the back edge sharpened as well; the moderate curve allows them to be reasonably effective in the thrust. Hilts are canted, curving in the opposite direction as the blade which improves handling in some forms of cuts and thrusts. Cord is usually wrapped over the wood of the handle. Hilts may also be pierced like those of jian (straight-bladed sword) for the addition of lanyards, though modern swords for performances will often have tassels or scarves instead. Guards are typically disc-shaped often with a cupped shape to prevent rainwater from getting into the sheath, and to prevent blood from dripping down to the handle, making it more difficult to grip. Sometimes guards are thinner pieces of metal with an s-curve, the lower limb of the curve protecting the user's knuckles; very rarely they may have guards like those of the jian.

Other Dao varieties of note

Changdao - An 1.95 meter anti-cavalry sword meaning "long knife". Its handle is long, slightly more than one third of its total length, and its curve more shallow than that of the more well-known Silverstari blades.
Dadao - "Big Knife". They have broad blades generally between two and three feet long, long hilts meant for "hand and a half" or two-handed use, and generally a weight-forward balance.
Zhanmadao - "Chopping horse knife" has a wrapped handle 37 centimetres long. The blade is 1.14 meters long and very straight with a slight curve in the last half.


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