This Manchu Dao has a blade of folded steel created by melding and folding a three different steels into a single billet by the swordsmith. The steels of varying hardness used were 1095, 1080 and 1060 high carbon steel. Folding steel is an ancient blade-making technique and was commonly used by skilled Chinese smiths to purify the steel; by folding different steels into a single blade the varying properties of hard and soft steel can be combined into a single blade.
The guard, pommel and dragon-headed blade collar of the hilt are crafted from antiqued brass. The uniquely quadrangular grip is crafted with wood and inlaid with panels of raykin and overlaid with tightly knotted blue cord. The sword has a companion scabbard crafted from carved wood, brass fittings and a red-brown hanging cord.
This Manchu Dao is in the squared Fangshi style popular among the nobles, their bodyguards and the court of the Manchu Qing Dynasty. The Mongol-inspired curved sword blade found ready acceptance by the northern Manchurian peoples who were famed horsemen themselves; they established the Qing dynasty and their tastes in arms would persist among the upper echelons of Chinese society.
The curved form of the Manchu Dao blade is akin to the Liuyedao in being a form well suited to decisive slashes and cuts. The grip flares opposite the blade in a form that better allows the hand to fully follow through in the cut. A cross-section of the blade reveals that its thick blade spine thins at a gentle angle with a long single bevel from the fuller to the edge – this ensures that there are no interrupting angles along the cutting edge that serve as a drag on cuts, allowing the blade to move into and through the target with a minimum of resistance.