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Old 20th February 2017, 12:35 AM   #23
Gavin Nugent
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Hi Ian,

As I rely on others translating the Burmese script for me, I could not without proper review of the text and the blade in the hand, assess the age of the blade...but I must say, the silver application to the blade is better than most for 1930s, that much is certain to my eye.

The silver work of the scabbard dress is Burmese, the Laos notation I previously made, as you know, was only for the hilt binding of Marks sword. An interesting point made by several researchers is that the Shan smiths involved with this craft, of which I am sure many were in these guilds, their silver work was flatter and more floral which might account for some swords that I have seen with these stunning high relief repousse silver scabbards and low relief hilts?
A point of note too, of all these sword types that I have seen and handled, they ALL have a large lotus bud pommel, of varying designs and that that were not of the lotus bud shape specifically, were decorated in lotus bud and flower repousse designs.

With regards to the quality of silver work in this sword that you present, especially seen on the pommel, it shows a general great decline in the art by 1930...I wish I could see more detail of the panels...they look real nice.
An interesting anomaly that I have noticed with several of these sword now, is that well in to the 30's and beyond by many decades, the scabbard repousse panels have remained far superior to the work on the hilts and pommels...an aspect I can't explain with any accuracy. A surplus of old silver fittings? A conglomeration of guilds? Dies for scabbard panels remained undamaged? A change of direction in the craft? But again, there are other examples that date from 1948-75 which bear the state seal of Burma which are exquisite quality throughout? Perhaps it all come down to budget for each sword as these sword types are generally considered to be state and diplomatic gifts and each person who was to receive the gift may have a set amount of funds aside by the state for the swords making?

Gavin
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