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Old 1st January 2015, 11:50 PM   #1
Ian
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Default Unusual dha-like sword

This one sold today on our favorite online auction site. Someone obviously thought they knew what it was judging from the price paid. I have my own ideas but will hold back on commenting until others have had a chance to express their opinions. Who made it and where is it from?

Overall length 30"
Blade length 23"

These are some of the seller's pictures.
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Old 2nd January 2015, 11:34 PM   #2
Sajen
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Hi Ian,

haven't seen the auction, as what it was described? Could be from Yunnan, Husa people. The skulls look strange. Added for selling purpose?

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 3rd January 2015, 02:59 AM   #3
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Yes I agree. The work in particular the handle style is similar to those I have seen made by the Achang, HuSa
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Old 3rd January 2015, 07:31 AM   #4
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It was described as from Burma. Here is the listing:

http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=ite...5763750&alt=web
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Old 3rd January 2015, 11:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russel
It was described as from Burma. Here is the listing:

http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=ite...5763750&alt=web


Thank you for the link Russel!
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Old 3rd January 2015, 05:53 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. Yes, I would agree it is a HuSa dao. Hard to tell how old it is and whether the scabbard is original. The small bone (?) skulls seem like an after thought.

The partial tang has been pinned with what appear to be wooden dowels--an unusual construction on these swords as the examples I have seen previously had metal pins. The checkered horn hilt is also unusual. The decoration on the spine is consistent with other HuSa examples.

As far as age, I was thinking the first half of 20th C, but it's hard to say. If the scabbard is original, it appears to have some age.

Ian

Attached is a web photo of Husa dao taken in Dehong.
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Old 3rd January 2015, 06:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
The small bone (?) skulls seem like an after thought.


Definably bone.

I like the distal taper on the blade that & the central fuller together that would make for a highly practical blade! [Assuming the steel is good.}

spiral
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Old 4th January 2015, 12:37 AM   #8
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You you guys tell us a little more about these people and where they are located. First of these daos I have seen.
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Old 4th January 2015, 02:35 AM   #9
Gavin Nugent
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Here is one of mine Charles, an old example.

105cms long
17mm thick at the base.

Gavin
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Old 4th January 2015, 02:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
You you guys tell us a little more about these people and where they are located. First of these daos I have seen.


Here's a map Charles.
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Old 4th January 2015, 04:45 AM   #11
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Charles:

The Achang people are a Chinese ethnic minority living in Yunnan and have ties with the Shan/Tai peoples of Yunnan/Burma/N. Thailand/Laos. Those living in the HuSa and LaSa areas of Longchuan County in Yunnan Province claim to be of a different lineage to other Achangs. The Achang HuSa and LaSa claim to be descended from soldiers of the Ming Army who intermarried with local Achang women in the 14th15th century C.E. They are said to speak a different dialect from other Achang and are more Sinicized.

This particular group is renowned for their knives and swords, and claim over six centuries of forging and weapon-making skills based on the Imperial methods that have been passed down from the original Ming soldiers. They have a history of making edged weapons and tools used by nearby groups, including the Han, Dai, Jingpo, Tibetan, and Bai.

Gavin has kindly provided the geographic location of these groups in relation to Yunnan and Burma. There are probably fewer than 10,000 Achang HuSa and LaSa.

Their edged tools and weapons are highly prized by local groups and the styles range from typical Tibetan arms, to the long swords of the Kachin/Jingpo, to Chinese dao. We have discussed these folks before in relation to the "running tiger" mark seen on a few Kachin/Burmese dha. Sometimes there is a Chinese inscription with the name "HuSa" and occasionally other struck marks such as a musket or rifle.

Nathaniel is the one who tracked down the attribution of the running tiger mark to this group.

Here are some of the other threads about these knives and swords that are collectively called HuSa dao.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=19079
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=18749
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=4917
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1989
http://www.vikingsword.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/001243.html

Here is a quote from this website http://en.dehong.gov.cn/Customs/content-102-258-1.html
"Achang knife," which is also known as "Husa knife", gets its name because it is made mainly in the Husa and Lasa areas of Longchuan County where many Achangs live. This sort of knife is "well-forged and elaborately made, and very sharp, tensile, durable." Sheaths made of wood, leather, silver and other materials are extremely exquisite, too.
 
 Achang knife varies in length and shape. There are more than ten sorts of knives for their own use. For instance, there are working knife, knife for daily use, long sword for hunting and self-protection, and dagger for butchering domestic animals, and the like. Achangs also make knife for other brother nationalities, such as Tibetan knife and Jingpo knife. Due to its exquisite smithcraft, Achang knife is not only cherished as a national legacy by Achangs, but is also favored by other neighboring ethnic groups like Han, Dai, Jingpo, Tibetan, and Bai. Now, Achang knife has gone out of Yunnan and has been sold to Beijing, Tibet, Sinkiang, and Heilongjiang, etc. Even some foreign friends would like to have an Achang knife for collection.


The Achang ethnic group has an over-six-hundred-year history of making knife and other cutting tools. Tradition says that in an army that stationed in the Husa and Lasa areas in Ming dynasty, there is a branch of men with fairly good smithcraft and they were assigned to the task of making weapons. These men married with the local people and gradually merged into them. The Achang inherited and developed the Ming army's art of smelting and forging, and came to produce many knives with their national characteristics. What's more, their techniques have become more exquisite. They have a relatively specific division of labor among villages, and every village has its own products of fame. The whole Husa area is like a factory of handicraft industry, and every village, each known for one product, is a workshop. For instance, Laifu village is known for its long black knife and Hugang knife (decorated steel knife); Mangdong village for broadsword and small pointed knife; Lajie village for saw-toothed sickle; Xin Village for carry-on-back knife; Mangsuo village for sheath. Husa knife is very durable for two reasons: first, it is made of well-chosen materials; second, the Achangs have very fine skills in quenching and hardening steel; in addition, it is carefully and beautifully ground. Because of these virtues, knives made by Achangs can be very sharp just after a little grinding. Some old craftsmen can even make knives that are both firm and flexible, of which some can even be curled up at one's will. For example, a long sword when not in use can be curled around the waist like a girdle, and when needed it will straight itself. Their handicraft is really admirable."

Ian

Last edited by Ian : 4th January 2015 at 05:12 AM. Reason: Added material
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Old 4th January 2015, 04:27 PM   #12
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in LongChuan District/County

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longchuan_County,_Yunnan

"Longchuan County (陇川县; pinyin: Lǒngchuān Xin) is a county located in Dehong Prefecture, Yunnan province, southwestern China.


Culture

Many citizens of Dehong Prefecture belong to the Jingpo-nation ethnic group, an official minority in the People's Republic of China. They are one and the same as the people of Kachin State, the adjacent part of Myanmar, and ethno-linguistic ties are strong."
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Old 4th January 2015, 07:11 PM   #13
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Thanks guys, very informative and interesting.

So it the case of the first sword shown(from Ebay) it's not as much about the odd hilt as it is the blade...is that correct??
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Old 4th January 2015, 07:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Thanks guys, very informative and interesting.

So it the case of the first sword shown(from Ebay) it's not as much about the odd hilt as it is the blade...is that correct??


Hello Charles,

I would say partly correct! It's the combination from the blade shape, the way the handle is attached to the blade, the engravings on the spine and also the guard.

Regards,
Detlef
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