Language: Vietnamese
Source: Old dictionary


Thanh gươm () appears in an 1887 French-Tonkinese dictionary where it is translated as "grand sabre de cortège" or "large processional saber".


The 1887 dictionary entry of thanh gươm.

The character used, , means a double edged straightsword in Chinese. In Vietnamese, it can be pronounced both as kiếm, denoting the straightsword, or gươm for saber. The character  is also used for saber and pronounced gươm.

Vietnamese ceremonial sabers

During the Nguyễn dynasty (1802 - 1945) such sabers were carried by men of rank and their retainers as a symbol of their rank and office.

These weapons typically have silver mounts, only the emperor could have gilt mounts on his sword. They are often nicely made with grips made of ivory, or other precious materials and scabbards decorated with fine moth-of-pearl inlays. The blades are often purely ceremonial, but pieces with functional blades are encountered from time to time.

Ceremonial guom

A fine Vietnamese ceremonial saber, or thanh gươm.

1. Gaston Khan, Élève diplômé de l'École des langues orientales; Vocabulaire Franco - Tonkinois. Hanoi, 1887. Page 25.

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An outstanding example with very fine silver and moth-of-pearl work.


It has a narrow but sturdy blade with a springy temper.


Modeled after the Chinese "guan dao", made of lacquered wood.


Constructed out of dense hardwood and with fine mother-of-pearl inlays in the Vietnamese fashion.


Its scabbard with 12 pockets, with 10 of the items remaining.


Executed in "nanban style" openwork with chiseled and gold-encrusted peonies.