A simple utilitarian weapon, probably made for rural martial artists or militia.
Base 7.3 mm
Middle 3.5 mm
At widening 2.5 mm
Base 36 mm
Middle 42 mm
At widening 54 mm
17 cm from hilt
Iron, steel, wood, indigo dyed cotton cord, brass
Probably Southern China
Late 19th century
Anything similar for sale?
A large Chinese dāo with a straight, single-edged blade that markedly flares at the tip which becomes double-edged at the widening. It has a single fuller right under the spine.
The blade is made of good steel, skillfully forge-folded with no flaws, showing a rather active burling grain pattern that lights up in the right angle. A high-carbon steel insert is exposed at the edges, giving that area the proper hardness, while the layered body provides toughness. The blade is very stiff for its thickness.
The hilt consists of simple blackened metal mounts and a wooden grip, wrapped with old indigo-dyed cord. The red lanyard is a recent addition by a previous owner. The grip is long enough for two-handed use.
Very healthy blade, with no nicks, cracks or other edge damage, retaining a nice springy temper. The blade was polished and etched by a previous owner, there are some small scratches in the polish. I could work them out and re-etch for an additional €200,-.
Over the years I've encountered a number of these, enough of the exact same configuration to think they were a standard military pattern. The blade design reminds much of the northern niúwěidāo that became popular from roughly the 1850s onwards. The tendency towards straight blades is more of a Southern trait, probably fueled by less of a need to go through the thick padding that was worn in winters in the north. (Winters happened to be the main campaigning seasons in the north because granaries were stocked up and rivers easy to cross.) The straight design of this sword reduces some of the cutting ability of the design, at the gain of much better thrusting ability.
My best guess would be this is a lesser-known, Southern Chinese military pattern sword from roughly the 1880s-1900s.
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I might be interested in buying it.Contact me
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