Mak (Vietnam)

Vietnamese Mak Sword

Code:  SA8

The mak is an agricultural tool used for clearing woodlands in Vietnam, but it also has a long and venerable history of use as a weapon. The mak is thought to be a tool/weapon of the Montagnard tribe in Laos and Vietnam.  The word “mak” in Burmese means army or soldier, but I have yet to find a precise Vietnamese translation.  Mak is sometimes used to refer to a class of hooked blades in S.E. Asia that can be used for either agriculture or military use.  Maks of any kind are seldom seen in the US or collections. 

This 12th century relief carving at Ankgor Wat in Cambodia shows a horseman wielding a mak.  The mak could also be used as a polearm.  A mak in the History Museum of Saigon has a 22 inch blade and is 7 feet overall.

This robust mak is 26 inches in length overall.  The blade is 11 3/4 inches long with a width of 1 3/8 inch and a full width of 1/2 inch at the spine. It is extremely sharp and solid. The grip is made of an unexceptional wood and  cracked from age and use.  It is14 inches in length, and bound with copper wire.

This mak was brought to the US from Vietnam by a war veteran.  A tag on the wak reads “Chu Lai village.” Chu Lai is a seaport in the Quang Nam province of Vietnam.  It was the site of the first major US military operation in the Vietnam War, and served as a United States Marine Corps base from 1965 - 1971.