Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Whatzit ?? (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1819)

Rick 29th January 2006 09:17 PM

Whatzit ??
 
Just closed :

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...bayphotohosting

Andrew 29th January 2006 09:25 PM

4 Attachment(s)
I'd call it a good deal. ;)

This has an interesting combination of elements, and I'm not certain whether we're looking at something put together from pieces later in its life, or an original weapon.

The blade is a nice example of a Kachin (Jingpaw) dha. I think the other dha guys would agree this particular type with the slightly flared, straight blade may be a transitional form between the Naga dao and curved Kachin square-tipped dha blades.

The open sided scabbard reminds me of Naga dao scabbards, but I have seen some similar Kachin work.

The tiger jaw section is also something seen with Kachin weapons.

The guard looks Chinese to me, and is unusual on swords like this.

There are other interesting elements to this thing, but I'm short on time. Cool sword! :cool:

ariel 29th January 2006 10:39 PM

The blade looks very new, with no nicks, exceedingly well-defined fuller, sharply incised decorations and it looks like being mechanically polished.
The woodwork looks fantastic, but inconceivably intact with nary a chip! And the color is very fresh as if it never been exposed to the elements. I look at the rattan bindings and the wooden borders of the scabbard and cannot imagine that this blade was inserted and drawn more than twice in it's lifetime.
The only evidence of this sword being real is the bump on the handle.
Otherwise, I would define it as a very, very new production.
And, BTW, this ain't no tiger! Dog more likely and not very big, cockapoo size or thereabouts.

Andrew 30th January 2006 02:41 AM

I just took another, longer look at the auction photos. I agree Ariel: this doesn't look very old at all, particularly the scabbard. The section of jaw is tiny, too. :o

I'd still have paid that price for it, though. This may be new, but it's interesting to me. :)

Rick 30th January 2006 02:46 AM

I have a feeling from looking at the bid history that the high bidder really wanted it badly and was willing to pay quite a bit more .

Ian 30th January 2006 04:06 AM

The combination of elements suggests a Kachin origin but from outside the normal "homeland" area in NW Burma. The open-faced scabbard suggests Assam. The unusual guard suggests a Chinese influence, perhaps Yunnan. Kachin are found in both of these areas.

Ian.

Mark 30th January 2006 02:28 PM

There was another sword discussed a while ago that had almost identical decoration on the scabbard. I can't remember anything more about it, except that I had posted how unusual the wood carving was on the scabbard (which makes me think that someone thought it might be a dha or dha-like weapon). I am sure it was not this sword, as overall it does not look familiar. I don't have time to search the archives, but maybe someone else can look through my posts, or dha posts or something.

I have an Assam/Naga/Kachin dao that has an animal jaw like this one. I know too little about vertibate anatomy to say what is is. The canine is sort of flattened and has a slight ridge along the back side. I was thinking small cat or monkey, but that is just a guess.

Tim Simmons 30th January 2006 03:55 PM

I am sure it is not Tiger or Leopard, I have looked into this before. I would also agree that this example is not "old" but I to have seen this form in the past, some definitely pre ww2. One day I hope to snap one up. Tim

Battara 30th January 2006 06:45 PM

Ok...so....how old do you think it is? :confused:

Tim Simmons 30th January 2006 06:49 PM

1950-60s, I have a Thai dha like knife with a similar type of decoration on the blade. Tim

ariel 30th January 2006 06:54 PM

I go on a limb first: less than 20 if it was stored well, less than 2 if it was made for a tourist sale.
Several Forumites have already noticed a mix of features each of which is interesting per se, but does not much sense in combination. My main beef with it is that everything looks far too pristine. This baby did not see any action at all.
Just like those mass produced Mandaus on e-bay: nice woodcarving and mechanical blade.....

Battara 30th January 2006 11:48 PM

Thank you....one day (when I grow up :eek: ) I'll get a dha too... :o

fearn 31st January 2006 04:15 AM

Not that I'm a dha expert, but I agree with Ariel. The scabbard looks like it was assembled from a bunch of odds and ends. I'm wondering if that scabbard was assembled using a bit of lattice-work carving from somewhere, along with the rattan and the Naga dao-type scabbard.

My unofficial-as-a-biologist guess is that the jaw is the front of half a dog's lower mandible. It's from a reasonable sized dog, though, not a Chihuahua. Notice that the canine is nearly the diameter of the handle, and extrapolate from there. It doesn't look like whatever the jaw was stained with stayed on, either....

F

ariel 31st January 2006 12:00 PM

Fearn,
Glad to have a friend on my side!
As to the jaw... I think the diameter of the tooth is comparable to that of the crossguard. My late cockapoo had something like that. Ain't no Rottweiler! I would vote for the Malay Jungle Dog : thousands of them roam around. They are smallish, look like Basenji, very independent and appealing. Pity one of them ended on that Dahb (I INSIST!)
With the multitude of styles and the poor pooch's earthly remains, this Dahb is a true "dog's breakfast" :D

Andrew 31st January 2006 02:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Fearn,
Glad to have a friend on my side!
As to the jaw... I think the diameter of the tooth is comparable to that of the crossguard. My late cockapoo had something like that. Ain't no Rottweiler! I would vote for the Malay Jungle Dog : thousands of them roam around. They are smallish, look like Basenji, very independent and appealing. Pity one of them ended on that Dahb (I INSIST!)
With the multitude of styles and the poor pooch's earthly remains, this Dahb is a true "dog's breakfast" :D


lol. Ariel, I'm going to respectfully dissent as to your use of the word "dahb". ;)

While "dahb" might be okay if this were a Thai sword, I would disagree with your application of the term to what is, by most accounts, a Kachin weapon. As Ian notes, the Kachin are a Tibeto-Burman people indigenous to the mountainous regions of Northern Burma, Assam and Southern China. The correct term for this sword in Burmese would be "dha" or , in Jinghpaw, "n'htu".

Also, I suggest that, if this mandible isn't from an infant or fetal tiger ( ;) ), the Malay Jungle Dog probably doesn't range into the Mountains of Northern Burma. I'm far from certain about that, though.

Maybe a Burmese Mountain Dog? :D (Probably still too big, though).

fearn 31st January 2006 04:17 PM

Hi Andrew,

About the dog....

I guess I'm puzzled about the assumption that all of this came from somewhere in the mountains of northern Burma. There's no real reason to think it came from there, or that the scabbard and the dha were made in the same place or at the same time.

Personally, I'd guess that the jaw, assuming it is a dog, came from a dead dog at the side of a road somewhere in southeast Asia. I'll admit that it's possible that it's some sort of hunting trophy (i.e. I misidentified it), but personally, I think it was made for sale to someone who was, shall we say, less than discriminating about authenticity.

F

Tim Simmons 31st January 2006 04:25 PM

I know it is not good but is it that bad!?? I was watching one of the same form on ebay only a couple of days ago, it made over 125 without a scabbard, admittedly it was pre ww2 for sure. unfortunately I have deleted the listing. Tim

Mark 31st January 2006 06:21 PM

2 Attachment(s)
The dog ID for the jaw could be right, but I doubt that it is simply a piece of carrion tied to the scabbard for show. As I wrote before, I have a "Naga" dao (really indistinquishable from a Kachin dao, and perhaps more accurately called that) which has a small piece of jaw tied to the scabbard. Mine is no tourist piece, and my strong assumption is that the jaw has a talismanic significance. I'll post pictures once I get home tonight.

I can't immediately remember whether a canine carries talismanic significance to the Kachin (or other hill tribe of Burma), so I'll have to dig a bit in my library. Its presence on my sword tells me that it is not a random thing, though.

On the other hand, I won't go so far as to say the whole sword is "legit" -- it is possible that the maker of this one added the jaw because it was something that is found on Kachin swords. The guard and wooden carving on the handle are not typical, so its probably a composite at best.

Why Kachin/Burmese? The straight, square-tipped blade is typically, almostly uniquely in the area, Kachin/No. Burmese. The open-faced scabbard is also typically (though not uniquely) Kachin. Here are some examples:


It is described as being a Kachin weapon by Egerton, as well, though he calls it a "sword dao." You will also see the resemblance in the handles. The guard and the wooden fret-work are the odd-balls, but otherwise it is a very typical Kachin dha or "sword dao." Is there a similar weapon in Malaysia, by the way?

A couple more examples, but with closed scabbards which I suspect are a Shan (Tai) influence:

Mark 31st January 2006 06:47 PM

PS ....
 
1 Attachment(s)
I found a photo on hand of my "Naga" dao with the jaw bone (its the top sword in the photo). Unfortunately, the jaw is barely visible behind the shoulder strap. The dao out of its scabbard is about 20"/50cm long, and the piece of jaw is about 3"/7cm long, so the jaw proportionally looks to be roughly the same size as that on our subject sword.

I'll post a close-up of the jaw tonight.

Andrew 31st January 2006 06:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
Hi Andrew,

About the dog....

I guess I'm puzzled about the assumption that all of this came from somewhere in the mountains of northern Burma. There's no real reason to think it came from there, or that the scabbard and the dha were made in the same place or at the same time.

Personally, I'd guess that the jaw, assuming it is a dog, came from a dead dog at the side of a road somewhere in southeast Asia. I'll admit that it's possible that it's some sort of hunting trophy (i.e. I misidentified it), but personally, I think it was made for sale to someone who was, shall we say, less than discriminating about authenticity.

F



Hi Fearn. My response to Ariel was largely tongue-in-cheek, so please don't mistake my intent. I have no idea what animal that jaw came from, and I've admitted the possiblity this is a combination piece in my first post. :)

For the reasons I set forth in my first post, and those supplied by Mark and Ian above, I feel comfortable opining that this weapon is Kachin in form. The style of scabbard carving and the guard are unusual, but explicable. Everything else is consistent with Kachin weapons.

Is it possible this was made in some other region for the tourist trade? Certainly. But Occam's Razor would refute this. It would be much easier to produce and market a cheap version of the weapons native to the maker's own region.

The subject sword certainly could have been made for the tourist trade, and could be a combination of odds and ends thrown together. However, my personal opinion is this is a "real" weapon, albeit one of recent manufacture which has seen little use. I own several swords of similar form featuring machine-made blades and fittings. They are newer, crude and not particularly interesting, but still very effective weapons and tools.

The Kachin still carry swords like this today.

Best,
Andrew

Andrew 31st January 2006 07:02 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons
I know it is not good but is it that bad!??


I don't think so, Tim. I like it. :)

Tim Simmons 31st January 2006 07:02 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Tigers jaw.

fearn 31st January 2006 11:53 PM

Thanks for the information Mark. I think we're in agreement about the weird features (fretwork on the scabbard, Chinese guard), and it's certainly helpful to see some kachin dhas with the openwork scabbards.

So far as the jaw goes, I'm pretty sure it's not a tiger (it's too small, and those look like mature teeth in the picture), and until I hit the books and check out skulls in depth, I'd guess dog. Assuming that this ID is correct, I'd guess that the designer of the scabbard knew that the scabbards are supposed to have a talismanic jaw attached, and found a jaw to attach. It's also possible that it does have talismanic significance, but the composite features bug me.

Neat piece though, and it's good that we're having a discussion over it.

F

Mark 2nd February 2006 07:17 PM

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Here is the jaw attached to the shoulder loop of my Kachin dao. It is about 3" long. Any thoughts as to species? I was looking at jawbones on the internet, and the canine ones had that little premolar like this one. On the other hand, the short length of it points to a cat of some sort.

Tim Simmons 2nd February 2006 07:32 PM

Hi Mark.
I am not a zoologist but when I looked into this the length and width/depth of jaw bone was relevant. If that canine is 3" then the back molar is not far off the same size, what dog has a 3" bone crushing molar maybe a Hyena but they are from Africa. The canine is quite narrow at the base but like people Tigers come in all shapes and sizes. If you were to look at "google Tigers images" it is possible to see considerable variation in the structure in the same sub species of these now rare beasts. I will try and get the comparisons I made . Tim

Tim Simmons 2nd February 2006 07:37 PM

3 Attachment(s)
From these pictures your jaw looks that of a jungle/snow Leopard.


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