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Old 04-09-2024, 01:42 PM   #1
Ashtagon
 
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Default Is the "kau sin ke" a real weapon?

Well, yes, of course it is. It's not hard to find antiques auctions with weapons listed under that name. And they correspond to the game definition of a chain-like weapon, either a simple chain, or 7/9 short metal bars connected by chain links (although shorter versions with four sections can also be found in auction houses).

But where does this word come from? The Japanese word, kusari (chain) is unrelated. The more fanciful Japanese names, kusari-fundo (weighted chain) and manriki-gusari (myriad-power chain) are also unrelated.

萬力鏈 manriki-gusari
万力鎖 manriki-gusari
鎖分銅 kusari-fundo

The common Chinese names for this weapon, according to wikipedia, are:

Jiǔjiébiān (九節鞭) – nine-section whip
Qījiébiān (七節鞭) – seven–section whip
měihuābiān (梅花鞭) – plum flower whip
Sānjiébiān (三節鞭) – three-section whip (nb is is also used to refer to the weapon that is commonly called in English the three-section staff)

However, none of these, even in the variant readings for the kanji/hanzi I can find within wiktionary (for ancient or dialectical readings), give anything that vaguely resembles "kau sin ke".

The oldest RPG reference I can find for a kau sin ke by that name is TSR's Oriental Adventures (1985). Many other games (including GURPS) have used the word since then.

Google's ngram viewer unhelpfully records zero hits for "kau sin ke".

Does anyone know where the word came from? If it is Chinese as is claimed, there should be hanzi for it.
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Old 04-09-2024, 02:12 PM   #2
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Is the "kau sin ke" a real weapon?

I'm finding some cases online of people trying to determine the hanzi for it, with no luck. It's probably either an uncommon (or even currently-dead) dialectic pronunciation of the characters of one of those you've listed or a case of someone mistranscribing the appropriate hanzi into the Roman script. Or it's a completely made-up word ("'Kau sin ke' kinda sounds like the Chinese version of kusari right? Let's name it that.").
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Old 04-09-2024, 03:02 PM   #3
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Is the "kau sin ke" a real weapon?

Amusingly, a reddit thread I found on the topic also discussed the lajatang.

https://old.reddit.com/r/DnD/comment...n_traditional/
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Old 04-09-2024, 03:04 PM   #4
malloyd
 
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Default Re: Is the "kau sin ke" a real weapon?

Closest I've ever seen anybody get is Vietnamese cao sin xich is apparently readable as big or tall chain or fetter.
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Old 04-09-2024, 03:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is the "kau sin ke" a real weapon?

There are a number of east Asian weapons I've researched that were documented in the late middle 20th century, but whose names or the weapons themselves seem to have faded out, or may have been obscure in the first place. My first guess would be an unusual Anglicization of a rare name that no longer has currency.

EDIT: I found a number of vendors online selling antiques who state it's a 19th century weapon dating from the Boxer Rebellion. But no supporting sources for this claim. One of the vendors described it as a "very rare" weapon.

Last edited by pawsplay; 04-09-2024 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 04-09-2024, 04:24 PM   #6
muduri
 
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Default Re: Is the "kau sin ke" a real weapon?

My knowledge of the southern dialects is shaky but might as well mention, to me the "kau" suggests an early Hong Kong romanization of Cantonese (or Vietnamese) 九, similar to 九龍 "Kowloon". Of course it's painful to reverse-engineer the last two even if the historicity, language and first character are confirmed, but could it turn out to be e.g., a "nine-link chain" or a "nine-segment scourge"?
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Old 04-09-2024, 04:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is the "kau sin ke" a real weapon?

I'm starting to suspect it's a poetic name, like if you tried to figure out what was going on with "holy water sprinkler" for a type of morningstar. It could very well be a euphemistic name popularized for a few decades in the 19th century, then later rendered in English with some kind of translation or pronunciation errors.
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Old 04-09-2024, 04:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is the "kau sin ke" a real weapon?

In Indonesia, this type of weapon is known as a rantai, or a rantai batangan. This does at least allow us to rule out Indonesia as the source for the name "kau sin ke".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weapons_of_pencak_silat
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Old 04-09-2024, 06:26 PM   #9
pawsplay
 
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Default Re: Is the "kau sin ke" a real weapon?

So, the weapon appears in Oriental Adventures. One thought I had was to look in every source in the bibliography that describes Chinese weapons. I'm sort of tempted to buy this copy of Chinese Weapons by Werner for $8.

Last edited by pawsplay; 04-09-2024 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 04-09-2024, 10:17 PM   #10
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Is the "kau sin ke" a real weapon?

Quote:
Originally Posted by muduri View Post
My knowledge of the southern dialects is shaky but might as well mention, to me the "kau" suggests an early Hong Kong romanization of Cantonese (or Vietnamese) 九, similar to 九龍 "Kowloon". Of course it's painful to reverse-engineer the last two even if the historicity, language and first character are confirmed, but could it turn out to be e.g., a "nine-link chain" or a "nine-segment scourge"?
Hong Kong cold well be relevent as that's where the movies I saw the thing used in were made. Before Oriental Adventures was published too.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072991...20of%2520Death

I think this is one of them and the weapon was real enough for HK stunt-fighters to work with. I think there may be a Rope Dart in there too.
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