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thomas hauschild 22nd December 2017 02:27 PM

A Klewang for comments
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Hi everybody. I like to get some more information on that Klewang (?) total length 68 cm. On the original pictures there was only a minor structure visible in the blade. After a light etching there is a composite structure visible. A hard, black edge, after that a softer bar, a bar of damascus/pamor steel and at the back softer steel/iron again. The blade starts with 8 mm thickness at the hilt and goes continues down to 2 mm. A wide conkav fuller over the hole length in the area of the softer iron and a convex edge in the area of the black steel. The hilt is covered with a kind of wax or laquer. At the end a plate of bone I think. I have not seen a hilt like this in the zonneveld on a klewang. Maybe Im wrong with the definition Klewang ?

How old is blade and hilt ( maybe assembled later again ) ? What is the laquer on the hilt ? Any other comments /information will be welcome.

Best regards and merry x-mas to all


Robert 22nd December 2017 02:48 PM

Very nice find Thomas, I really like the silver ferrule on the hilt. If you do a search for Naga Dao you will find plenty of information on these.


thomas hauschild 22nd December 2017 02:57 PM

Thanks robert

That is possibly the reason why I have not found something in the zonneveld.......its not from indonesia. ;-)

And I have found some pictures of nearly similar pieces at oriental arms. Google is realy easy with the right search name.

Thanks again for your help

Best Thomas

Ian 22nd December 2017 03:24 PM

Hi Thomas:

As Robert indicates, this is from northern Burma and neighboring NE India. These dao are actually of Kachin (sometimes also called Lisu, Jingpaw) origin and the Naga tribes simply "acquired" them through battle pickups or perhaps trade with the Kachin.

Your example shows the typical single-beveled edge that is also hardened. These are well made and sturdy jungle knives used for domestic purposes as well as combat. In the second half of the 19th C., the Kachin progressively changed to Shan swords, often with a squared end but also more saber-like blades with pointed tips. In this transition, the Kachin adopted sword had a symmetrically sharpened edge instead of the "chisel"-grind of its more traditional cousin.

Part of the blade seems to have a "hairpin rod" construction such as seen on swords from Tibet and neighboring areas, and again this is not uncommon in swords from NE India/northern Burma. The silver ferrule is consistent with Burmese silver work.

To answer your question about age, I would say this one is probably late 19th or early 20th C, maybe a little older. I would also say the hilt was original to the sword. The black lacquer on the hilt is gum from a particular tree (I don't recall the name) which is very durable and can persist for decades. I have some lacquered pieces that are more than 150 years old and the lacquer is still sturdy and protecting the hilt or scabbard from rotting.

You have a nice example of the traditional Kachin dao Thomas.


thomas hauschild 22nd December 2017 04:13 PM

Thanks a lot Ian. Im realy happy with your help.

Best Thomas

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