Inspired by uchigatana brought into Vietnam by Japanese refugees who settled along the coast.
126.5 cm / 49.8 inch
100.5 cm / 39.6 inch
9 mm / .35 inch
18th century, southern Vietnam.
Ironwood, steel, iron, brass, copper.
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The Vietnamese matchlock musket is called called súng hỏa mai. The lock of Indo-Portuguese type which operates with a springed serpentine that snaps down at the pull of the trigger. Typical for south Vietnam are the short, slightly downward curving butt ends usually plated with bone, ivory or in this case elephant molar. They are meant to be held against the cheek instead of the shoulder. Recoil on old black powder was not as severe as on modern gunpowder, so the arms sufficed to absorb the recoil.
A rare Vietnamese matchlock musket. It has a very fine octagonal barrel with slightly flaring muzzle, and a nice deep black patina. The stock is of dark ironwood. Trigger mechanism of brass, with iron screws, copper rivets and a steel spring. All parts are skilfully made and executed in typical Vietnamese fashion: the lock plate of typical Vietnamese profile, serpentine terminates in a monster's head, and the shield cast with traditional cloud designs. The trigger plate and trigger guard, executed in thick brass, are tastefully crafted and ornamented. The most unusual feature of this gun are the elephant molar buttplate and underplate on the rear of the stock, normally these are encountered with bone, antler, or on the more expensive pieces, ivory plates.
Barrel in fine but deeply patinated condition, no active rust or pitting. Pan cover missing. The lock has seen some repairs over time, as they all tend to have. Wooden stock in near perfect condition. The lock is fully functional., very snappy. Overall in very good condition and complete, even retaining its original ramrod.
A very good quality súng hỏa mai, in fine condition. Its various parts are skillfully crafted. Most unusually, it has elephant molar plates on the butt end of the stock. Complete and well-preserved.
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Broad bladed example with horn hilt and engraved blade.
Description A rather unusual Vi
Collected by a Russian prince from the hill peoples of central Vietnam in 1892.
Its hilt overlaid with thick silver, then fire-gilt.
A what? Yes exactly. An extremely rare piece, the only example I am aware of in published collections at…