Vietnamese all metal kiem straightsword
Overall length

Sheathed 88.5 cm

Sword 75.5 cm

Blade length

58 cm

Blade thickness

Base 5.5 mm

Middle 3.4 mm

5 cm from tip 2 mm

Blade width

Base 24 mm

Middle 21 mm

5 cm from tip 18 mm

Weight

573 grams

Materials

Brass, copper, silver, and various metal alloys

Origin

Nguyễn dynasty

Vietnam

Dating

Late 19th - early 20th century

Provenance

From a French collection

Price €6000, -

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Description

A fine and very rare Vietnamese ceremonial straightsword, called kiếm (). Such swords were carried by Nguyễn dynasty officials as a sign of rank. 

This particular example stands out because it is of an all-metal construction. It has a brass blade, of the geometry and proportions of a proper fighting blade of this type. It has double grooves on either side, and engravings near the base and the tip.

The all-metal hilt features a copper alloy grip section with silver inlaid longevity symbols. It has a silver guard, pommel and ferrules. The guard and pommel show a dragon that is eating a tablet. Often in Vietnamese art, these tablets carry a stylized longevity character which in this case is only barely visible as most is in the dragon's mouth.

Vietnamese all metal kiem hilt

 

The scabbard is made of a copper rich alloy base, inlaid with flowers in silver, brass and other alloys. It has the three traditional scabbard mounts that a wooden scabbard would have, all made of silver and decorated with dragon designs in relief.

 

Comparable examples

Such all-metal ceremonial swords are extremely rare. In 2017, I had an all-metal gươm with a captured French blade in it. I also had an otherwise normal but very finely executed ceremonial gươm with a brass blade. This is the first kiếm in the style that I am aware of.

 

All-metal guom saber Vietnamese

All-metal gươm with captured French blade.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2017.

 

Ceremonial guom with brass blade

Fine ceremonial gươm with brass blade.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2020.

 

 

Nguyen officials and their retinue carrying their swords.

Nguyễn Năng Quốc, Governor of Thai Binh, northern Vietnam, with two high-ranked officials in front of Thai Binh provincial palace.
Circa 1920. Photographer unknown.

 

Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword
Vietnamese all-metal ceremonial kiem sword

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