Constructed out of dense hardwood and with fine mother-of-pearl inlays in the Vietnamese fashion.
Base 5 mm
Middle 4 mm
5 cm from tip 2.7 mm
Base 45 mm
Middle 45 mm
5 cm from tip 41 mm
3.4 cm from guard
Iron, steel, brass, buffalo horn
From a Hong Kong based collector
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An interesting knife with a broad blade with clipped tip, much like some Southern Chinese húdiédāo (蝴蝶刀) but without the D-shaped guard characteristic for those.1 The blade is forge folded, with inserted high-carbon edge and subtle layering seen on both sides.
Both sides of the blade are engraved with the squiggly lines that are characteristic for northern Vietnamese work. On the left side is chiseled the character 本 which reads běn in Chinese and could mean several things including "root", "source", or "origin". The Vietnamese also used Chinese characters but often in a different way, so it could mean something else entirely in that language.
The hilt consists of a fluted horn grip with two brass ferrules, a substantial brass guard, and a heavy facetted pommel that counterbalances the blade nicely, and can be used for striking.
The blade is in new polish by Philip Tom and comes with a plain wooden resting scabbard to protect the blade.
1. See my glossary article: Húdiédāo (蝴蝶刀).
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Description A rather unusual Vi
Collected by a Russian prince from the hill peoples of central Vietnam in 1892.
Signed Hirado Ju Kunishige
In the style of a Malay keris panjang.
Exceptionally large pierced iron guard for a Chinese yidao; "virtuous saber".