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The Dadao (大刀) (big knife), one of the varities of dao or Chinese saber, is also known as the Chinese great sword. Based on agricultural knives, dadao 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. Some were made for military use, but they were most commonly associated with civilian militias or revolutionaries. While not a paticulary sophisticated sword, the weight and balance of the dadao gave it considerable slashing and chopping power, making it an effective close combat weapon for untrained troops; it was used in this role as late as the 1930's in the second Sino-Japanese War.
In origin, design, and use, the dadao is broadly comparable to the European messer and falchion.