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Old 11th August 2016, 08:13 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Default A Burmese Short Dha With Its Own Obvious Provenance

Here is nice Burmese dha(dah-see inscription) short sword given as a gift or presentation sword to a British officer, Col. T.H. Way, in early 1887. The hilt essentially tells the story(see pics) in both English and Burmese.

I have not seen a presentation dha done in this manner before. More commonly the presentation info will be on one or two cartouches, typically of silver or on a fine all silver scabbard.

I have not been able to find out more about the two mentioned personalities, T.H. Way or Moung San Ya.

Background info:
Apparently, from what I can gather, Salen is a Chin(large ethnic group) village. The British began their administration of Burma in 1876, shortly before this dha was given as a gift. The Chin Hills Regulation Act of 1876 allowed the Chins a unique relationship with the British that saw Chin chiefs remain in power and relatively independent. This may well contribute to the story of this dha. This arrangement with Chin chiefs continued until Burmese independence in 1948.

Dimensions:
Overall length: 24.5in.
Blade length: 16.25in.
Blade's widest point: just over 1in.
Attached Images
       

Last edited by CharlesS : 11th August 2016 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 11th August 2016, 11:02 PM   #2
mrcjgscott
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Hi Charles,

What a stunning Dha, and impeccable provenance! Congratulations!!

I have a great interest in Burma, especially of this period, so it is a real treat to see this piece.

I can tell you that Colonel Thomas Henry Way served with the Madras Staff Corps, being previously posted with the 108th regiment.

According to the London Gazette of 24th June 1887:


Lieutenant - Colonel and Colonel T. H. Way,
Madras Staff Corps, to command a Brigade of
the Madras Army, and to have the rank of
Brigadier- General whilst so employed. Dated
10th April, 1887.


So perhaps a parting gift before the Colonel left for next posting?

I hope that the above is of interest, and thanks again for sharing this great piece.

Kind regards,

Chris
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Old 11th August 2016, 11:19 PM   #3
Rick
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Love the scabbard and its stylistic influences.
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Old 11th August 2016, 11:42 PM   #4
Battara
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All I can say is - What a great piece!
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Old 11th August 2016, 11:48 PM   #5
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Lovely dha Charles. I like the little chape on the scabbard--obviously a bow to the British army background of the recipient. It appears that this presentation preceded his appointment to the Madras Army in 1887, and that the Madras appointment was a promotion.

I wonder if he participated in the Third Anglo-Burmese War in November, 1885.

Ian
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Old 12th August 2016, 03:11 AM   #6
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An absolutely beautiful piece Charles. My congratulations to you on your new acquisition.

Best,
Robert
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Old 12th August 2016, 10:22 AM   #7
Sajen
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Great piece Charles, I am green with envy!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 12th August 2016, 10:27 AM   #8
mrcjgscott
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
It appears that this presentation preceded his appointment to the Madras Army in 1887, and that the Madras appointment was a promotion.

I wonder if he participated in the Third Anglo-Burmese War in November, 1885.

Ian


Hi Ian,

Thomas Henry Way actually served with the Madras Army from 1862, being promoted Captain with the Staff Corps in 1870.

For the most part, officers of this period tended to stay in one appointment, until promoted, and in Colonel Way's case, he served with the Madras Army in one respect or another for thirty years.

Being given command of a Brigade was a reflection of his many years of service, and, I suspect, a means of granting him a higher rank for his retirement.

A browse through the relevant army lists of the period would confirm his participation, and record the award of a medal conferred, for the 3rd Anglo-Burmese War.

Kind regards,

Chris
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Old 12th August 2016, 10:45 AM   #9
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Thanks for the comments guys!

Chris, your additional info on Col. Way is outstanding and most appreciated!!

Yes Ian, no doubt the chape is a bow to the European style. It surprised me a little. I would have expected to see something like that on later dha/dahs.

Last edited by CharlesS : 12th August 2016 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 12th August 2016, 03:11 PM   #10
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Chris, thanks for the follow up. Sounds like he was a good "company" man. I understand that the Madras Army was one of the East India Company's Presidential Armies, before these eventually came under the control of the Crown. Is that correct?

Ian.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcjgscott
Hi Ian,

Thomas Henry Way actually served with the Madras Army from 1862, being promoted Captain with the Staff Corps in 1870.

For the most part, officers of this period tended to stay in one appointment, until promoted, and in Colonel Way's case, he served with the Madras Army in one respect or another for thirty years.

Being given command of a Brigade was a reflection of his many years of service, and, I suspect, a means of granting him a higher rank for his retirement.

A browse through the relevant army lists of the period would confirm his participation, and record the award of a medal conferred, for the 3rd Anglo-Burmese War.

Kind regards,

Chris
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Old 12th August 2016, 04:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Chris, your additional info on Col. Way is outstanding and most appreciated!!



A pleasure to be able to help Charles, thanks again for sharing your beautiful Dha with us.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Chris, thanks for the follow up. Sounds like he was a good "company" man. I understand that the Madras Army was one of the East India Company's Presidential Armies, before these eventually came under the control of the Crown. Is that correct?

Ian.


Quite so Ian,

He would certainly have been educated in the ways of the Company, but when the three Presidency Armies (along with the Presidencies themselves, namely, Bengal, Madras, and Bombay) were handed over to the crown in 1857, he would have adapted to his new post Mutiny conditions accordingly.

They remained as three separate armies until 1895, when they were merged to form a single "Indian Army", although divided into four "commands".

The Madras Army was responsible for Burma, hence Colonel Way's appointment there. I expect he was seen as a steady, experienced pair of hands for such a task.

Kind regards,

Chris
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Old 20th August 2016, 11:53 PM   #12
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lovely dha. We dont seem to get many that we can accurately date.

The age of this one has made me reappraise the age of dharb with similar blades & scabbards that ive handled.

Without the inscription i would have said this dated 1920 - 1950

Thanks for posting
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