Description A rather unusual Vi
86 cm / 33.9 inch
68.3 cm / 26.9 inch
middle 2.5 mm
near tip 1.5 mm
forte 29 mm
middle 29 mm
near tip 20 mm
Weight without scabbard:
Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam.
Iron, steel, silver, ivory, wood, mother of pearl.
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A magnificent example of a Vietnamese ceremonial saber, or guőm. Such weapons were emblems of rank for officers of the Nguyen dynasty and were carried by their retainers during parades and official assemblies.
The blade is typically thin, with the main groove flanked by a narrow companion groove. The narrow groove merges into floral chisel-work on either side of the main groove, in typical Vietnamese fashion. There is a silver cloud shaped collar at the base of the blade, on a ribbed washer.
Its hilt consists of a carved ivory handle carved with a thickening of swastika fretwork with a flower on each facing side at the top, and stylized lion's manes running over its back to the silver lion head pommel. One of the flowers has a red lacquered center. The silver ferrule is decorated with typical Vietnamese vegetal motifs in repoussé. The D shaped guard emerges from the lion's mouth and makes a sharp bend to come at right angles with the blade. It consists of patinated copper lined with thick silver, with decorative chiseling near the pommel.
The scabbard mounts are of sheet silver with very fine decoration in repoussé, depicting narrow vines bearing fruits and flowers with the occasional squirrel. On top of the scabbard-mouthpiece is a curly vine-like structure executed in thick silver ribbon that holds one of the suspension rings. This work is repeated on the scabbard endpiece. The tip of the scabbard is in the shape of an eagle, a rather unusual feature.
The scabbard body is of a reddish hardwood with the finest, most exquisite mother of pearl inlay work I've seen to date. Nguyễn dynasty mother of pearl inlay work ranks among the best such work in the world, and this example is better than any I've seen. The motifs consist of vines with long and extremely thin tendrils bearing leaves and fruits. The scenes are livened up with a bat, several butterflies, and four squirrels. The scenes feature inlay work of mother of pearl into mother of pearl of a different hue, where surfaces were matched precisely. The work stands out not only in fineness but also in complexity and artistic merit.
A wonderful Vietnamese officer saber exhibiting more artistic flair than most in the design and execution of the silver mounts and scabbard decoration. The mother of pearl inlays are some the best I've ever seen on such a piece.
To meet the demands of the Convention International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), this object is sold with an appraisal document from a certified Dutch appraiser of the TMV Federation. Among others, it states that: The item is manufactured in the 19th century. Scabbard inlays are of mother of pearl taken from the shell of the abalone species pinctada margaritifera, non-CITES listed. The handle is bone, with carved ivory pommel of the species elephas maximus, listed on CITES appendix I.
The item is within article 2 of council regulation EC NO338/97 and within Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES): The materials were removed from the wild and significantly altered from their natural state well before the date of convention: June 1st, 1947. It can be freely traded within the EU without a permit, and is eligible for CITES export permit for trade outside of the EU.*
*Buyers outside of Europe: Beware that it may not be possible to export the item to your country due to restrictions on international ivory trade. CITES sets the minimal restrictions, countries and states under the convention often maintain further restrictions on top of CITES.
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Broad bladed example with horn hilt and engraved blade.
Inspired by uchigatana brought into Vietnam by Japanese refugees.
Collected by a Russian prince from the hill peoples of central Vietnam in 1892.
The hilt is in the typical Marwari Rajput style, made by Ram Namar in 1857 A.D.
Once belonging to William Fraser (1784-1835), a British civil servant.