Barczewski S., Vetukov V.

Abstract: The authors provide a detailed description of two pairs of short swords still have no analogues in the Russian Museum and public private collections. The authors date the swords on the basis of the studies materials and other data, substantiate its ritual purpose and origin from North Vietnam.

The beginning of the article provides details of linear dimensions, describes the design details and materials used. A special attention is paid to the decoration and inscriptions on the blades. The authors also examine the question of the place of swords in the ritual practice of the peoples of Vietnam and the neighboring countries of Indochina.

Vietnamese historical records, legends and myths of the Vietnamese and indigenous peoples, previously published works of Russian and foreign ethnographers and historians, and data obtained personally from Vietnamese and Russian colleagues are the sources of information.

The collected information points at the widely spread practice of application of cold weapons as ritual weapons among most peoples of the region. The further analysis allows the authors to localize the origin of the swords in the mountainous regions of North Vietnam and to relate them to the items of magical practices of “Thai mo” shamans.

Keywords: Vietnam, short swords, ritual practice, ritual, shaman, shamanic practices