Description A rather unusual Vi
Base 7 mm
Middle 5 mm
Base 31 mm
Middle 30.5 mm
5 cm from hilt
Iron/steel, wood, brass, nickel
Probably 30s or 40s.
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A simple early to mid 20th-century Vietnamese fighting knife. It has a short blade much in the shape of their larger gươm (鎌) sabers, with a banked fuller that creates a t-section in the spine.
Interestingly, there are a number of dents on the left side of the back of the blade, perhaps because it saw use in parrying as a left-hand dagger, held edge up.
It comes with a simple wooden bulbous grip, cut out of a single piece and ribbed for added grip. It has a brass ferrule on either side. Such hilts are also common in much of southern China. Unusual for China, but encountered more often from Vietnam, is the guardless construction.
At the pommel is a French 25 centimes coin from the Third Republic period, date 1929. This puts the production date, or at least the last peening of the dagger, to after 1929.
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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.