Looted Vietnamese knife
North Vietnam – early 20th century
Materials: Steel, Iron, Brass, Bone, Pigskin leather, organic rope.
A fine Vietnamese fighting knife with wide blade. The hilt is made of bone and carved with horizontal grooves to give it more grip. The blade is riveted to the brass rounded pommel. The guard is decorated with a filed motif, but the front and back are flat and undecorated as is often seen on Chinese examples. The blade is straight, short and quite heavy. The spine of the blade is near flat and straight, while the cutting edge tapers towards the tip.
The origin of these knives is often attributed to the ‘Black Flag Army’, a group of bandits and outlaws who were involved in several battles in the border district between China and Vietnam. Knives like these were often made around 1860-1880, but later used by pirates and outlaws. Even by Chinese gangsters in the United States up till the early 20th century. Since this example is rather slim, it could be made to conceal within a sleeve or hidden within the owners clothes.
An interesting feature is a handwritten text on the scabbard in French, which can be translated as ‘Combat prize of Gid-L’Hue – 24-2-1914’ which was during the French colonial period in then called Indo China.
Condition: Excellent, including its original pig skin leather scabbard.
Blade length: 19.5cm
Blade spine thickness: 8mm
Blade thickness: 2.9cm
Total length: 29cm
Weight: 214 gr.
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