Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Thanks for bringing this one back up. Interesting that you mention a Lao or Thai flavor to some of the decoration. I was thinking the same thing about the segmented silver panels that run the length of the scabbard. I have thought this was a particularly Lao trait, with multiple panels used to depict various elements in repoussed silver. Of course, the finding of Lao work on Burmese swords is perhaps not surprising, and if I recall correctly the Burmese enslaved Lao craftsmen during one of their conquering expeditions, as did the Thai.
I think you are correct that the "story dhas" did increase during the period of British rule and involvement in Burma. They are certainly quite common in Western markets and most do seem to date from the mid-19th C. on. Whether they existed prior to the British period I don't know.
I have a presentation dha somewhat similar to Mark's but with an ivory and silver hilt. This one bears an inscription dated 1915. It is tucked away in storage, but I will try to find it and post pictures here.