Vietnamese ‘Yem Nguyet Dao’ halberd

A Vietnamese Yem nguyet Dao polearm with lacquered shaft/ Nguyen Dynasty, 19th century.

Details of this item

Price

-

Status

Reserved

Region

South East Asia (Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines)
(Nguyễn Dynasty, Vietnam)

Period

19th century

Materials

Steel, Iron, Bronze, Wood, Lacquer

Price

Reserved

Status

Reserved

Region

South East Asia (Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines)

(Nguyễn Dynasty, Vietnam)

Period

19th century

Materials

Steel, Iron, Bronze, Wood, Lacquer

Description

The ‘Yem Nguyệt Dao’ is a type of pole-arm which has its origin in China and was widely adopted in Vietnam. While the functional use began to decline after French occupation, a ceremonial role for these Vietnamese arms stood strong. Ceremonial weapons were made for religious events in temples and during Mandarin inspired ceremonies and parades during the Nguyen Dynasty.
A common Vietnamese feature is the red lacquered staff and fancy gilded ferrules and bronze ferrules. Often used during temple ceremonies guarding off evil, but also worn as functional weapons among the royal guards.
The only functional use of arms remained at the imperial court of the Nguyen Dynasty was guarded by a select group of forces who lived and were stationed in the court. The others were often farmers, who were enlisted, but mainly worked on the lands during peacetime.
This example:
A fine example in its kind. The complete red lacquered staff has a gilded and ebonized butt and a gilded finial mimicking the normally seen brass ferrules found on these pole-arms. The blade is very well made and fits in a bronze casted and gilded dragons mouth of which the blade seems to emerge. The blade’s profile is curved and features a reinforced spine in the stylized form of a ‘Xiangyun’ (祥云), an auspicious cloud motif which symbolizes luck and is associated with deities.
The blade has a pronounced central ridge which runs down the entire blade. The false edge near the tip has an elegant undulating structure. A halberd like this was most likely carried in the ‘Hue’ court by one of the imperial guards.

Vietnamese ‘Yem Nguyet Dao’ halberd

Condition

Very good, some loss of the gilding, further good.

Dimensions

Shaft length: 181.5cm
Blade length: 71cm
Blade spine thickness: 11cm
Total length: 250cm

Weight

Comparable items

Provenance

Dutch private collection

Literature