A large Vietnamese falchion | Mandarin Mansion

A large Vietnamese falchion

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

Overall length: 72.6 cm
Blade length: 58 cm
Blade thickness: 4 mm (base), 3 mm (middle), 2.5 mm (near tip)
Blade width: 59.5 mm (wide part at base), 62 mm (middle), 29 mm (near tip)
Weight without scabbard: 836 grams
Point of balance: 17 cm from guard

Culture: North Vietnam
Materials: Iron, steel, wood
Dating: 19th century


Description

A rather unusual Vietnamese falchion, by lack of a better name for the type. It has a large blade with a narrow base that quickly widens and stays wide most of the length until narrowing into a sharp point. The blade features a very unusual type of forging, with steels standing out in high contrast that form a pattern that closely resembles the skin of a melon. The forging is very tight, with no flaws to speak of, and the pattern looks rather controlled and deliberate.

The blade features rather abstract engravings that hold the middle between fish and serpent forms, that are worthy of further study and may give the item more context. They may be unusually stylized Naga, or Vietnamese dragon of which the Vietnamese claim descent.

The handle is of a dense wood with a deep, dark patina. The pommel is an iron plate. There is a long iron ferrule to keep the guard in place. The guard has a grooved rim, which is repeated on the ferrule. Handle and guard are tight with no movement.


Attribution

Tell-tale features of Vietnamese manufacture are in the design of handle and guard, and the characteristic chiseled engravings on the blade, although usually these are floral in nature on typical Vietnamese work. The widening at the base of the blade is a feature commonly seen on north Vietnamese and south Chinese arms. All in all, we can probably conclude that the piece is probably made in north Vietnam in a region that knew strong Chinese influence.

It has good weight in the hand and due to smart tapering in thickness, an excellent balance that one wouldn't immediately expect from its profile. In handling it is comparable to a good quality Chinese niuweidao. It also serves a similar function: The width of the blade puts lots of weight behind a thin edge, which is ideal for cutting soft unarmored targets. It has one cut into the left side, probably from another weapon.


Condition

Good condition overall. One small cut to the blade, which is period damage possible from a fight.
Some scratches in the etch that are easily amended if needed.


Conclusion

A very unusual falchion like fighting sword from northern Vietnam. It is unusual in shape, in decoration, and in the way the blade is constructed.
This is the only one of its type I have seen in about 15 years of paying attention to the market, and I think it is possibly unique.



Price: € 1100,-



Interested? Questions?
Contact peter@mandarinmansion.com



Notes:

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

A rare Vietnamese wide-bladed fighting sword.

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