Language: Mandarin Chinese
Source: Classical literature

Description

Dāo tūnkǒu (刀吞口) literally means "saber swallowing mouth".It is a collar piece that helps secure the guard and ensures a tight fit in the scabbard. In some cases, the outline of the tūnkǒu is chiseled from the base of the blade itself.

Unlike the Japanese habaki which serves a similar function, the Chinese tūnkǒu derived off the sabers used by people of the steppe. The feature was probably introduced into China by the Mongols.2

For a complete overview of saber parts, see: A Chinese saber glossary.

Steppe saber with tunkou

One of the earliest known examples of such a collar on a Eurasian steppe saber, 10th-13th century.
Metropolitan Museum accession number 2000.609.

Yanyuedao
tunkou
tūnkǒu on a Chinese saber.

Tunkou on a twist-core saberA tūnkǒu on a 17th century saber that is chiseled from the base of the blade. 

References
1. Tongwen Guanghui Quanshu (同文廣彙全書) or "Enlarged and complete dictionary" of 1702. A Qing imperial dictionary in Chinese and Manchu, each entry double checked and approved by the Kangxi emperor.
2. Philip M.W. Tom; Some notable sabers of the Qing dynasty in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. Metropolitan Museum Journal 36, 2001.

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