Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thank you so much for those great illustrations Stuart. Again,these are deliberate and seem strategically placed at key locations on the blades, some as if to associate with makers marks seen on both European and native blades. In some cases of course, the markings duplicated might be arsenal marks but that seems to a more limited instance.
On the 6th illustration, the ovoid , but broken, mark on the blade of the dha reminds me again of a discussion investigating such marks on the blade of a Laotian 'kamoong'. It was relayed to me that a tribal elder of the Hmong had looked at photos of the markings and suggested that this open oval meant something to the effect, 'the sword will return to its owner'. Naturally, this third hand 'evidence' must be regarded with caution, but I thought it worthy of note.
In China, there were often characters on the blades that carried mottos or action names for the weapon itself. One early ring pommeled dadao that I researched had such characters that said 'kill demons'. The sword also carried the ba gwa or 'eight trigrams' (if memory serves) which suggested the swords association to the Eight Trigram Rebellion c.1815 in China.
The squiggle marks seem quite elusive, and they do appear often in groupings in linear pattern and motif on SE Asian blades. I have not heard any constructive observations on these, and hope to hear anything more on them.
All best regards,