huà ɡānɡē wéi yùbó 化干戈为玉帛
Beat Swords into Plowshares / Turn War into Peace
The term means to eliminate animosity in order to turn war into peace and turn conflicts into amity. Gan (干) and ge (戈) are two weapons of war which were used for defense and attack respectively. Yu (玉) and bo (帛) mean jades (such as jade tablets and jade ornaments) which were gifts exchanged between feudal lords and tribute paid to monarchs. In time, yu and bo acquired the meaning of peace and co-existence. This term reflects the Chinese people’s long-standing aspiration for peace and goodwill to dissolve conflict and violence.
Heaven has struck disaster, bringing our two sovereign lords (of the states of Qin and Jin) to face each other, not with jades and silks, but with the instruments of war. (Zuo’s Commentary on The Spring and Autumn Annals)