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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I might be interested in buying it.

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


Presented by the local Dai nobility to a British customs officer in 1936.


With designs of four dragons in scrollwork around a "wish-granting-jewel"


Chiseled with a rare type of decor on the base, and with two Islamic inscriptions.


A rather well-made example of its type.


Description A rather unusual Vi

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