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Old 24th December 2005, 01:03 AM   #1
CharlesS
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Default A Very Interesting Dha For Comment and Origin ID

I know some of you guys will love to see this for analysis sake, the rest are probably saying, "Oh no, not another darn dha!"

Nonetheless, here we go with a recently purchased dha that has some very, very unique features.

The dha measures 33.5in. overall, with a blade of 24in. It is one of the heaviest dhas I have handled, at the same time it is very well balanced. The silver hilt has an old replaced end, and a restored pommel cap. The motifs done in the silver are unlike anything I have seen in dha decoration before, primarily unique floral patterns, much different from floral patterns seen on some. The forte of the blade once had an image in silver, but only the silver remains, and the image is virtually impossible to make out.

The blade's width is generally consistent throughout its length. After a polish by a fellow forumite, it shows lamination patterns that are similar to 'hairpin' welding on Bhutanese or Tibetan pieces.

The scabbard is mounted with matching silver fittings that are unusually heavy and thick. The wood has been refinished, but was once a much darker color, apparently lacquered.

I have to think that this one comes from the very northern-most reaches from which dhas are found. I think influences could be from Nagaland or possibly Bhutan.

I am eager to read any input or origin theories/knowledge on this one. Thanks in advance.
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Old 24th December 2005, 06:49 AM   #2
Andrew
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That's beautiful, Charles. Is that a tonkou or scarf-weld at the forte? If tonkou I think we're looking at a sword from Southern China, probably Yunan.

As you note, the blade construction really does evoke Tibet, Bhutan and, perhaps, Nagaland. Very interesting sword. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 24th December 2005, 07:52 PM   #3
Battara
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You can certainly see Chinese influence at the bottom mount of the scabbard. Nice puppy.
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Old 25th December 2005, 12:16 AM   #4
Ian
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Charles:

Very nice example. I am thinking Assam or maybe southern China (Yunnan).

The blade is kachin in shape (the fighting dha-dao rather than the working dao), but that long blunt-ended shape was probably adopted from Assam or neighboring areas about 200 years ago when the kachin were expanding their influence and territory out of southern China and into northern Burma, Nagaland and Assam.

Tha Assam version of the dha-dao tends to be quite long and the accompanying sheath is open-faced. Not what we are seeing in your example.

I'm away from my books at the moment, but the hairpin laminated structure and the Kachin-style blade suggest Assam or nearby to me.

Ian.
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Old 25th December 2005, 03:40 PM   #5
Tim Simmons
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The peony flowers ingraved on the chape strike me as very Chinese.
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Old 25th December 2005, 06:21 PM   #6
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Thanks guys!....you're making this more and more interesting. I think it is one of the most unique dhas I have found, and certainly a keeper. Another one I wish could talk!
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Old 25th December 2005, 08:11 PM   #7
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The peony is seen on many Chinese artifacts, when I get home I can post some pictures of very similar if not the same peony designs engraved in other metal objects. Tim
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Old 26th December 2005, 03:00 PM   #8
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Default Caution pics are not of weapons!!

I think these pictures show how strong the link is to Chinese manufacture and because of that I am going to say that this rather nice sword may have originated from areas quite far from the tribal border lands. Tim
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