Somewhat worn but once very high-quality, with great sculptural qualities and remains of silver "true…
Sheathed 35.5 cm
Knife 35.3 cm
Base 7.5 mm
52 mm from guard
Iron, steel, leather, cotton
Second half 19th century
From a Scandinavian collection
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Fighting knives of this type were often brought back from southern coastal China and Northern Vietnam in the 19th century. Some have typical signs of Chinese manufacture, while others have some elements that are more Vietnamese. A few are sitting in the middle. With Chinese craftsmen working in every port city, the distinction between one or the other can get quite blurry. Also, quite a few with Vietnamese provenance were probably taken from the Black Flags, a bandit group that moved into Vietnam in 1865 and helped firth the French.
This particular example has a simple, no-frills execution that favors a Chinese origin. (Vietnamese examples have a tendency towards decorated brass mounts.) The pigskin scabbard with a stylized coin cutout is seen in both Vietnam and China but was more common in China.
It has a heavy blade with ridged back. The current blade finish, however, with the final sharpening done with a sort of scraper, is typically seen on Vietnamese arms. So that's where it ended up at some point. This may point toward use by the Black Flags.
The hilt is wrapped with cord. All are in pretty good, original, untouched condition.
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An interesting South Indian style katar with an imported European blade.
With all silver construction, including the blade.
Thought to have been presented by the Royal House of Nepal.
Rarely seen today, a commoner's example with carved, bone hilt.
Of nice quality, with unusual openwork silver bolster with serapendiya.