A Vietnamese ceremonial chopper
Throughout Asia, choppers and cleavers are very common in everyday and in ceremonial use. The Vietnamese court used to have parades and ceremonies which were inspired by the Mandarins. In combination with European influence (mostly French) some interesting swords and weapons were made of which this example is a rather uncommon type.
Vietnam, Nguyen Dynasty – Late 19th century
Materials: Steel, Brass, Bronze, Copper, Ivory (Elephas Maximus)
A rare type of chopper, most likely used for ceremonies, however the forged blade is sharp and it is balanced for actual slashing and chopping.
The lion head pommel leads us to French influence and was popular in the Nguyen court during the 19th century. The fittings are made of brass and fully engraved with floral motifs held by a copper ferule. The hilt is made of ivory (Elephas Maximus) and has a carved backrigde. The blade is forged, simply yet useful. The shape is similar to the ‘Dao Truong’ (長刀). It is curved, flat spined with a wide flaring tip and double fuller ending up in a ‘decorative knot’ design.
However I have never encountered a similar example, I personally believe that this chopper was made purely for ceremonial use due to its similarities with ‘Guom’ and ‘Kiem’ swords seen in ceremonial matters. The chopper was likely worn during parades, funerals and other ceremonies which were in Mandarin style.
The bronze pommel is engraved in the style of a lions head and has a suspension ring attached through its mouth.
Condition: Good, superficial pitting on the blade, no cracks or repairs.
Blade length: 26cm
Blade thickness: 4mm
Total length: 58.5cm
This item comes with a CITES certificate according to the law in the Netherlands, please be aware of the CITES rules in your country.
Copyright Antiques by the Sea – 2020
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