The Jack Daulton Collection
Antique & Ethnographic Art
Yao shaman's dagger
iron, 19th century

priest’s (shaman’s) ceremonial dagger with rattlers

iron, with engraved Chinese characters on both sides of the blade

length 55.5 cm

Yao people

northern Vietnam

19th century


condition:  typical rusted surface


provenance:  collected in Vietnam by Jack Daulton

Not unlike a Tibetan phurba, these daggers, known as "Kim," "Sui Gim," or "Kim Tsin," are shaken and stabbed during ceremonies to scare off malevolent spirits and thereby to purify or consecrate a ritual/sacred space.  The engraved Chinese characters usually state the owner's name and auspicious wishes.  

For the type, see Jess G. Pourret, The Yao: The Mien and Mun Yao in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand (Bangkok: River Books, 2002), ill. 572, pg. 208.


view of other side:
view of rattler:
view of blade showing inscription in Chinese characters:
detail of inscription:
Jack Daulton