Nguyễn Dynasty Vietnamese Dadao
Vietnam – Late Nguyen period, ca. 1900
Materials: Steel, Iron, Rope, Leather
One of the most iconic swords in Chinese history is the ‘dadao‘. The ‘dadao‘ can be translated as simple as ‘big knife’ and has a characteristic wide blade with a single cutting edge and near square tip. Besides military use, the ‘dadao‘ is also commonly used among martial arts practitioners. The hilts vary in length and have a ring pommel on which a cord could be attached to ensure the owners grip. Most blades from the period have a double fuller which runs down a significant part of the blade and fades towards the tip. Many of these swords were used for executions during the Boxer rebellion era and afterwards. The ‘dadao‘ was widely adopted in Vietnam, where they were often decorated with engravings of auspicious symbols and floral motifs. Most Vietnamese example tend to have rattan bound hilts, while this example was covered in leather.
The hilt is bound with cord and covered with a thin layer of leather. Being riveted to the blade with a rounded iron pommel ring which was meant to hold a silk ribbon being attached to the hand. A metal alloy guard is protecting the hilt.
Well forged, single edged and curved with a clipped tip. The blade flares out from the forte towards the tip which ends steep. The spine is made flat and tapers towards the tip. A fine forging structure is visible in the steel and the blades has its weight near the tip, making it suitable for slashing. The balance point of the sword lays at approximately thirteen centimeter from the guard. The top of the tip has a drilled hole to attach a cord to carry the sword on the back, without scabbard.
Condition: Very good, a well preserved blade and hilt.
Blade length: 56.5cm
Blade spine thickness: 6mm
Total length: 84cm
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