This impressive late 19th Century Dao probably hails from Vietnam, although as with all such swords, it bears many similarities to those from China.
The majority of Chinese Dao or Dadao have a straight as opposed to concave forward edge and a rounded or “S” shaped guard with a rattan bound grip. Vietnamese Dao are also usually of higher quality, the Dao in China being a mass produced militia weapon with its origins as a farm implement.
Both Chinese and Vietnamese Dao were routinely used for executions well into the 20th Century and these swords are commonly described as executioners' swords.
This hand forged Dao has a heavy and sharp 448mm blade with a 6mm flat spine. The blade is 47mm wide at the ricasso and 84mm at its widest. The blade is in very good condition with a pleasing patina.
The cord wrapped grip is 386mm long and consists of the blade’s tang, which also forms the circular end to the grip, encased in wood and bound with cord. The cord is intricately knotted along the spine of the grip.