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Old 18th April 2021, 03:33 PM   #24
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 951

Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Again, while I cannot speak with any sort of authority on these Chinese weapons, I do have what might be considered a 'working knowledge' of them from researches many times over the years.

If I have understood correctly, there were considerable restrictions upon civilians toward owning weapons, considering the constant presence of prospective insurgency, i.e. secret societies against the Qing rulers.
I have often heard of jian regarded as 'students' and that for some reason these individuals were allowed them, for reasons I do not know.
Jim, you might have a better grasp of this after digging deeper into the historical narrative. The Dutch sinologist R van Gulick wrote an interesting article on the significance of the jian, along with the zither, to scholars. Ming writers on connoisseurship do discuss swords among the other things that cultivated gentlemen should appreciate. These discussions dealt with the civilian as opposed to the military sector of society. Also of interest is what the Qing emperor Kangxi (r 1682-1722) wrote about the futility of trying to disarm the common people in some areas of China.

Further inquiry into the role of secret societies in old China might also be fruitful. It seems that the imperial government had some toleration for their activities, providing they were not overtly political, and insofar as they provided a means for local communities to police themselves to a limited extent. Much as minor legal functions, especially those of a familial or contractual nature, were often left to clans and guilds to handle. With a somewhat constrained tax base, and large expenditures in other areas like public works, stipends and perks for the ruling elite, and military campaigns, this helped stretch the resources of a government ruling an empire whose provinces were larger than some European countries.
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