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Old 19th August 2012, 03:28 PM   #1
Congoblades
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Default Asian dagger

Found this dagger on a local flee market.
Burmese or Thai? Old or not so old?
Total lenght is 36 cm.
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Old 19th August 2012, 06:13 PM   #2
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Dha-hymaung. Likely Burma, Shan States or Southern Yunan, China. This form has been in production since the 19th century to present.

Difficult to opine with any degree of certainty as to the age of this particular example based on the photos but, to my eye, it looks consistent with early to mid-20th century examples in my collection. Red "baldric" (such as it is) is a later replacement. Not uncommon.

Nice knife.
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Old 19th August 2012, 07:36 PM   #3
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Didn't know theses were still in production. How does one tell the difference?
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Old 19th August 2012, 09:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Didn't know theses were still in production. How does one tell the difference?


This is from a series of manufacturing photos of the traditional methods they still use to hand make these swords, this is on the factory floor of a famous workshop in Yunnan in 1988.
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Old 20th August 2012, 03:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebooter
This is from a series of manufacturing photos of the traditional methods they still use to hand make these swords, this is on the factory floor of a famous workshop in Yunnan in 1988.
Gav



One way you can tell these are later pieces is the silver alloy used...I'm not sure of the content...maybe more nickle? Tin or even Aluminum? Lower grade silver or different alloys are of course cheaper. These types of swords are mainly wore during festivals, so for that reason the average person may not go for the more expensive material.
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Old 20th August 2012, 03:46 AM   #6
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Nice dagger. I would agree with Andrew and Gavin...with the lotus bud pommel, and wire work decoration it could be from any one of the many different Tai groups found in the region...present day borders...Burma, Thailand, Yunnan, Laos are meaningless in the mountainous regions where groups have moved around for centuries. It's always hard to attribute age based on style because the same types have been made/ traded/ copied for generation after generation.
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Old 20th August 2012, 03:50 AM   #7
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Here is a similar one, #277 from the History of Steel exhibit in 2006


http://www.arscives.com/historystee...1/277-mib03.jpg

277
Dha-hmyaung. Myanmar (Burma) Shan States, or Southern Yunnan. Early 19th Century.
All silver fittings over wood. The blade shows a hardened edge. The scabbard has a round cross-section, typical of this style.

Overall length: 42 cm
Blade length: 22.5 cm
Handle length: 19.5 cm
Scabbard length:
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Old 20th August 2012, 05:07 PM   #8
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I recognize that one from the HOS exhibition.

These straight bladed daggers are, in my opinion, more likely to be from the Yunnan regions. But, as Gav notes, the modern geographic borders in that area are much less significant than the cultural/ethnic distinctions.

Older examples typically have better blades, often with inserted edges, differentially hardened edges, laminate construction and higher-quality silver.

Not sure if I completely agree now with the "early 19th century" attribution on that HOS example, but we know more now than we did at that time... Probably late 19th/early 20th c.
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Old 21st August 2012, 10:35 AM   #9
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Thanks all for the input.
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Old 23rd August 2012, 01:46 AM   #10
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Freebooter, those look like wedding nhtu (swords) a lot of Kachins have. People have Christian weddings and the woman gets a wedding ring, but the man gets the traditional wedding gifts from his wife of a nhtu and nhpye, a shoulder bag.
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Old 25th August 2012, 07:23 PM   #11
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A rule of thumb I go by is, the better the quality of the blade, the earlier it is. ....And if it turns out to be later, so what, it is still a good blade.
Really, the only things I avoid personaly are sheet metal and mild steel blades.
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