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Old 6th May 2011, 12:22 AM   #21
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: College Park, MD
Posts: 186

Contrary to "Swords and Hilt Weapons," I've never bought that the attribution is "purely conventional." Nor would I necessarily call those "Tibetan plain style," whatever that might be (and it might be a lot of things), especially since one is not plain. But while the plainer one has a Bhutanese-style hilt, overall its form does look similar to knives that were common in Lhoka, the Tibetan province north of the Bhutan border.

Sure, the two may not be provenanced, but I think there's pretty clearly a Bhutanese style distinct from styles of central Kham, southern Kham, and Amdo. Without settling or being able to settle whether "Bhutanese"-style swords, knives and scabbards were ever produced in Tibet proper (and they were certainly imported), it's pretty clear that they were produced in Bhutan.

Those two examples have scabbards or sheaths similar to most Tibetan scabbards in that they consist of an outside U frame within which a couple of thin slats of wood, covered with fabric usually, form the sides. But the C-shaped scroll at the toe of the scabbard shows up in these kind of Bhutanese dagger scabbards all the time, typically accompanying a profusion of pierced work. And I don't think that, without evidence to the contrary, these pommels could be called anything other than Bhutanese. Bhutanese pommels themselves were a valuable item.
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