A shield was also called “gan” in ancient China. It was used as a battle weapon along with a dagger-axe (or “ge” in Chinese), hence the phrase “gan ge xiang jian” (gan and ge meets each other), which means to start a war. The earliest shield of China is said to have come into existence way back in the reign of the Yellow Emperor. You can get a sense of what the shield looked like from the unearthed cultural relics of the Shang Dynasty. In the Tang Dynasty, the weapon was renamed “pengpai” and officially called “pai” in the Song Dynasty. The name “pai” was widely used in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, replacing the former name “dun”. At some stage in ancient China, bronze and iron shields were also among the items carried by a guard of honor.

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