Description A rather unusual Vi
Sheathed 34.3 cm
Knife 30.7 cm
Base 7.5 mm
Middle 5.5 mm
Base 29 mm
Middle 26 mm
13 mm from hilt side of guard
Iron/steel, horn, brass, silver, copper, wood, leather, cotton
European antiques market
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A charming fighting knife from northern Vietnam. It is of a type that was also widely in use in southern China, but especially some of the detailing points towards Vietnam rather than China.
It has a thick blade with a straight spine and a curved edge. The blade's body is forge folded over a high carbon steel plate that is exposed at the edge.
The hilt is comprised of a carved piece of buffalo horn, ribbed for added grip, with two copper ferrules. The guard is a fairly thick piece of brass, chiseled with two monster heads, one on either side, as also seen in Nguyễn dynasty architecture. The pommel is a brass nut with facetted sides. Ferrules, guard, and pommel are further decorated with pieces of silver wire.
The piece comes complete with a wooden scabbard, covered with dark brown pigskin and still retaining its old red cotton tassel.
A very charming and unusual piece.
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Called sung hoả mai in Vietnamese, with baitong lock.
Constructed out of dense hardwood and with fine mother-of-pearl inlays in the Vietnamese fashion.
Collected by a Russian prince from the hill peoples of central Vietnam in 1892.
It has a narrow but sturdy blade with a springy temper.
An outstanding example with very fine silver and moth-of-pearl work.