Language: Mandarin Chinese

Origin of term: Collector's jargon


The yútóudāo (魚頭刀) or "fish head saber" is a subtype of Chinese sabers with fairly straight blade that sweeps up at the tip. The most characteristic of the type is that is has a peaked spine.

I have not been able to find the term in classic literature, but some yútóudāo seem to confirm the validity of the term by having eyes and gills engraved into their tips to make them appear more fish-like.

See a classic fish head saber with engraved gills and eyes on the website of Art Museum of Ancient Chinese Weapons.



A rather similar example that I sold in 2006.


Most yútóudāo seem to be quite early and date from the late Ming to Ming-Qing transition period.

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With influences from several cultures that are rarely seen on a single blade.


The style typical of Kutch, the execution far above what is normally seen on work from that area.

Price on request

In excavated condition, with copper alloy hilt.


With forward swept iron guard and swollen grip.


Southern Chinese officer style saber with later inscription H.Hunt 1876.


The hilt is in the typical Marwari Rajput style, made by Ram Namar in 1857 A.D.