Description A rather unusual Vi
Base 10.5 mm
Start backedge 8.5 mm
Middle 7 mm
5 cm from tip 4 mm
Base 30 mm
Start backedge 41 mm
Middle 35 mm
5 cm from tip 11 mm
Possibly Lê or Tây Sơn dynasty
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A large and heavy single-edged spearhead of a type that appeared exclusively in Vietnam.
The long blade starts narrow, then abruptly widens, from where it gradually tapers to a sharp point. The smooth side is edged from around where the spine on the other side of the blade is raised. It has a long, narrow groove running under the spine from the raised section to near the tip. It is engraved with stylized engravings in typical Vietnamese style on either side.
The peculiar design seems optimized for a strong thrust. Due to the size and weight it may have been primarily intended against elephants.
The head is tanged, mounted in a wooden shaft, only the top portion of which remains. The shaft is reinforced with sheet iron, which in turn are reinforced with a series of iron bands. The end of the shaft is rounded and weathered and appears to have been cut off the original shaft a long time ago.
Vietnamese polearms typically have brass sleeves. The iron on this one, the style of the ornamental cutouts at the bottom, and the rendition of the floral motifs on the blade all make me think it's probably quite old. Probably 18th century.
Very large and heavy. Impressive piece.
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Called sung hoả mai in Vietnamese, with baitong lock.
Constructed out of dense hardwood and with fine mother-of-pearl inlays in the Vietnamese fashion.
Collected by a Russian prince from the hill peoples of central Vietnam in 1892.
It has a narrow but sturdy blade with a springy temper.
An outstanding example with very fine silver and moth-of-pearl work.