This relatively rare and very sculptural ceremonial trident or dinh-ba made from forged steel was used as a standard of high office by officials of the Nguyen Dynasty. It would have been attached to a long pole and carried or placed in a room as a regalia or office.
The side bars are moveable and in the form of stylised nagas or serpents, underscoring the Hindu influence found across Southeast Asia, which is also encapsulated by the form of the trident itself, which in India is one of the attributes of Shiva.
The use of such a trident as an emblem of authority is analogous to similar javelin-like devices that were used in the Malay world and on Java as ceremonial attributes used by local sultans, and which were carried by bearers in processions and by the sultans’ bodyguards.
The trident is in excellent condition.