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Vietnamese Dong Son Era Bronze Sword

(200 BC - 200 AD)

A long and slender bronze sword from the Dong Son period in Vietnam.Vietnamese bronze artifacts date back almost as far as those from China, most notably from the Dong Son era famous for its bronze drums. The sword's patina is typical of other early Vietnamese bronze and the blue crystals of copper minerals are often found on ancient Vietnamese coins.


The sword is quite long measuring 67 cm. in length. The blade is relatively narrow, compared to the Chinese Warring States swords, which makes the sword light weight. Some areas show residual signs of a wooden sheath, particularly near the hilt, thus the sword was buried inside its sheath. Some parts of the blade that are less corroded suggest the sword was made with a polished surface.


It's interesting to compare the bronze sword to what little remains of an iron sword also of Vietnamese origin. See lower right image. Iron swords often had bronze hand guards cast around their iron blades at the hilt.  The only thing left of this iron sword is the bronze hand guard (right, in image). The iron blade has completely corroded away leaving only signs of rust inside the hand guard.



Left image: full sword blade side.
Right image top: Details of blue patina near the top of the sword.
Right bottom image: Comparison of the bronze sword hilt and the remaining hand guard from the iron sword.








Blowup of the bottom part of the blade near the hilt showing impressions of wooden fiber grains from a wooden sheath, in which the sword was buried.





An image of Dong Son swords from the national museum in Vietnam. The bottom sword in the display is of the same long slender style with a straight hilt.