Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Two Large Mystery Knives (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=22265)

drac2k 10th January 2017 07:25 PM

Two Large Mystery Knives
 
9 Attachment(s)
The first large knife, with the tuft of hair has a heavy blade that measures 9.5 ".The handle is covered with a metal that may be aluminum, but I think it could be pewter;it has a small amount of rattan work around the middle.This is probably a "tourist piece."
The other piece, I think is much better.It has an old, very sharp, heavy 11.5" blade. It is affixed into a horn handle, with a carved "demon head," pommel.The scabbard is wood, wrapped in knotted twine.It was reportedly brought back by a Vietnam War Veteran in the late 1960's, and I can see a possible Vietnamese, Cambodian, or even Chinese Influence on this piece.
Any information or guesses would be appreciated.

VANDOO 10th January 2017 08:24 PM

WHILE BOTH KNIVES ARE UNUSUAL AND DON'T FALL INTO ANY DEFINITE CATEGORY I DON'T THINK EITHER ONE IS A TOURIST ITEM. THE REALLY WELL MADE ONE SHOWS DEFINITE SOUTH EAST ASIAN INFLUENCE WITH THE BUDDHIST GUARDIAN POMMEL, IT MAY BE CEREMONIAL. THE OTHER ONE HAS DESIGNS ON THE BLADE THAT POINT IN THAT SAME S.E. ASIAN DIRECTION. THE LOCAL VILLAGE KNIVES ARE OFTEN MADE OUT OF WHATEVER IS AVAILABLE ( STEEL DRUMS, CAR SPRINGS, ECT.) AND OFTEN NOT A LOT OF ATTENTION IS PAID TO LOOKS AS ONLY FUNCTION REALLY MATTERS IN A TOOL AND WHAT IS A WEAPON BUT A TOOL FOR REAPING A DIFFERENT TYPE OF CROP. CHECK THE BALANCE AND GRIP ON THE ONE WITH HAIR AND SEE IF ANY TRIBAL GROUPS IN THE REGION LIKED HAIR ON THEIR WEAPONS. BOTH ARE NICE ITEMS
THE FANCY STUFF COMES WHEN FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL IS DONE AND ARE MORE FOR SHOW, PRESTIGE AND SPORT. :D

Tim Simmons 10th January 2017 09:16 PM

These are unusual Asian knives. To my mind not common. Not my area but I think you have two nice pieces that you will have trouble finding again.

Bob A 10th January 2017 09:52 PM

If it was mine, I'd try to find out if the hair was of human origin. If so, DNA testing might be interesting, assuming a follicle was available. (It's the blonde coloring that makes me most curious.)

drac2k 10th January 2017 11:12 PM

Thanks to all for the comments.The information that the one knife has a Buddhist guardian pommel may help in identifying it, as different regions that are practitioners of Buddhism, have slightly different artistic renditions .
In regards to the hair, I guess I just assumed that it was goat hair, especially since it was blondish in nature.

Sajen 11th January 2017 12:19 AM

The one with hair look Naga or Kachin to my eyes. I think to see Burmese signs. Agree with you, the hair will be goats hair. The other one has a Philippine touch IMVHO. Nice finds! :)

Regards,
Detlef

Ian 11th January 2017 12:49 AM

Hi drac:

Two interesting knives. The one with the hair (I agree it is probably goat hair) is probably mainland SE Asia or neighboring India/China. The S-shaped linked design adjacent to the spine of the blade is similar to northern Thai/Lao decorations seen on blades from the hill tribes. Like Detlef, I think the lettering on the blade resembles Burmese script, although the letters are incomplete. So a Kachin/Naga or nearby ethnic group seems most likely for that one.

The other one is more of a mystery. Judging from the ferrule and bolster I don't think this one is from the Philppines, although it has that general "flavor." Barry has suggested that the figure on the pommel is related to Buddhism, and he may be right. That would rule out the Philippines, and turn attention to mainland SE Asia, Tibet, etc. I'm having trouble pinning it down any further than that. Nice knife.

Ian.

drac2k 11th January 2017 03:36 AM

Again, the comments are appreciated.In regards to the one that Sajen thought could be Philippine, I did read that there was and is a Taoist-Buddhist community in the Philippines.The Vietnam Veteran could have gone there for "R & R," and this would not have been unusual.It does have a Philippine look with a Chinese influence.
I think my range has been expanded by all of the viable possibilities offered;i.e., Philippines, Tibet, etc.

kai 11th January 2017 12:26 PM

Hello Dave,

The temple guardian (?) head looks distinctly East Asian to me (EA Dhyana influence rather than Theravada or Tibetan Vajrayana). Considering the purported circumstances, my best bet would be that this knife originates with one of the many expat communities from southern Chinese coastal provinces: Maybe Cholon (Saigon), Bangkok, Manila, etc.

Regards,
Kai

kai 11th January 2017 01:26 PM

Sorry, double post.

drac2k 11th January 2017 02:37 PM

I like your theory.The U.S. Special Forces, the Green Berets, worked very closely with the Nung (jointly called 111 Corps Mike Force)."The Nungs were ethnic Chinese, who had at various times fled that country and had settled in and around Cholon, a suburb of Saigon ." I think you have put me on the right track!
The information on 111 Corps Mike Force and the Nung comes from an on line posting from the "Special Forces Association Chapter 1X: Vietnam - Green Berets and Nungs." I found this information prior to this posting while doing research on a machete, named to Capt. Thomas Myerchin , a commander of 111 Corps Mike Force, 3rd Nung Battalion, U.S. Army Special Forces.
Funny how different threads come together.

Sajen 11th January 2017 06:56 PM

The knife with the horn handle is indeed most interesting and I remember an old thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=Luzon
And Ian is correct, the ferrule isn't what point to the Philippines but maybe Chinese or Vietnam like the base of the blade. This base style you can find by Chinese daggers. So maybe indeed Vietnam?
And please can you take a flash picture from the handle? (close up) :rolleyes:

Regards,
Detlef

drac2k 11th January 2017 08:18 PM

Wow Detlef, your recall is amazing ;give me a day or two and I will post more pictures of the handle.

kai 11th January 2017 08:37 PM

Hello Detlef,

Quote:
The knife with the horn handle is indeed most interesting and I remember an old thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=Luzon

Thanks for pointing this out! I believe the style does show way more differences than similarities though...


Quote:
And Ian is correct, the ferrule isn't what point to the Philippines but maybe Chinese or Vietnam like the base of the blade. This base style you can find by Chinese daggers. So maybe indeed Vietnam?

Mind you, it could be from any of the many, many China towns scattered all over SE Asia; it's just a matter of probabilities and my 3 suggestions would fit into the period (certainly several more possibilities within Southern Vietnam though depending on where the GI was stationed).

Regards,
Kai

KuKulzA28 12th January 2017 06:26 AM

The second knife with the wrapping on the sheath reminds me of the type of wrapping often used by the Taiwanese aborigines of the western plains (Ping Pu) esp. with Han influence.

The mouth of the sheath reminds me of southern Chinese (guangdong, fujian, zheijiang) sheaths and scabbards...

the metal-work on that handle... not sure, but makes me think Chinese influenced SE Asian...

:shrug:

drac2k 12th January 2017 03:13 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Pictures as promised.

Sajen 12th January 2017 05:32 PM

Hi Drac2k,

thank you for the additional pictures. I would liked to have seen close-ups from the handle material, on one of your first pictures I could come to the impression that it could be rhino horn, so I've asked for flash pictures, I've learned that you can identify rhino horn better by pictures as by pure eyes.
But the scabbard mouth show much Vietnam or Chinese influence. Would like to see the round sign at the scabbard hidden by cord.;)
BTW, it's a very nice knife!

Regards,
Detlef

drac2k 12th January 2017 08:51 PM

Thanks Detlef.I tried to gently push the cord down, but it wouldn't budge, and I didn't want to possibly ruin it. I get it now, you want a picture using the flash of the camera for the handle.I'll try to post one soon.

drac2k 12th January 2017 10:56 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Pictures as requested.

Sajen 12th January 2017 11:30 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k
Pictures as requested.


I am not really sure about but I think that it isn't rhino by your hilt. See this Thai enep from my own collection, I come first time to the idea that it is rhino after I've seen this own image: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...&highlight=enep

You will understand now why I've asked for this pictures.

VANDOO 13th January 2017 06:28 AM

1 Attachment(s)
DIFFICULT TO TELL FROM PICTURES ON THE KNIFE WITH THE CARVED HORN HANDLE, BUT THE COLOR AND MAKE UP OF THE HANDLE MATERIAL REMINDS ME OF HORN THAT IS OFTEN USED FOR CARVINGS IN CHINA. THEY CALL IT OX HORN NOT SURE IF IT IS FROM A YAK OR OTHER KIND OF OX BUT IT HAS AN ORANGE COLOR. A NICE KNIFE AND THE SCABBARD SHOWS GOOD AGE WEAR AND PATINA.
A PICTURE OF CHINESE OX HORN, THIS IS THE HOLLOW END TOWARD THE TIP IS SOLID THIS HORN WAS AROUND 17 INCHES LONG THERE IS VARIATION IN COLOR FROM LIGHTER TO DARK.

drac2k 13th January 2017 02:30 PM

Interesting observations on the handle material; I don't think that is rhino horn either as I believe that this handle has a tighter grain nor does it seem to have the same translucent appearance.
I think that a real clue could be the scabbard; I've seen that cut out, 4 pointed star somewhere before, maybe a Chinese polearm?The decorative lines around the star remind me of some of the designs on Boxer era Chinese banners or rank squares.

Gavin Nugent 15th January 2017 12:15 AM

drac2k, Based on my limited study of the chopper with the carved face, my studies of the various forms have lead to me northern Vietnam.

Gavin


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