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Old 11th April 2017, 05:03 PM   #1
chiefheadknocker
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Default Burmese sword for discussion

This sword ive acquired lately and believe its a Burmese sword ,I would just like to know any information , use, age , tribe etc ,it looks to have been well used .
thanks
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Old 12th April 2017, 04:30 AM   #2
Ian
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Hi chief:

There are a couple of possibilities for this one. Can you show us some better pics of the blade? Also, what are the dimensions--overall length, blade length, etc.?

The brass slug set into the spine of the blade suggests 20th C Thai manufacture, but more details of the blade will help.

Ian.
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Old 12th April 2017, 11:16 AM   #3
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thanks for your reply ,ive attached a few photos of the blade ,total length is 73cm and blade alone 43 , the bade has a few bad rust spots ,whats the best method of treating this ?
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Old 13th April 2017, 11:22 AM   #4
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Ian is correct, Thai in origin, the engraving is the giveaway, would guess early 20th century. Nice complete piece, I would personally clean the blade.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 13th April 2017, 01:17 PM   #5
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Hi again chief:

Yes, this is a 20th C Thai daab. The engraved lines and "S" shaped markings are typical of post-WWII northern Thai work.

If you look among the Classic Threads at the top of the Ethnographic Forum page, you will find a link to "Contemporary Thai swords" that has more information about these pieces.

Ian
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Old 13th April 2017, 03:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for everyones help with this , your knowledge is much appretiated
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Old 13th April 2017, 04:40 PM   #7
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Hi Ian,

I personally don't think that the daab in question is a post WWII example, the patina and workmanship let me think that it is to date between 1910-1940.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 13th April 2017, 06:22 PM   #8
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I agree with Detlef. The thick spine that is peaked or V shaped suggests a sword made for serious use and I would also date to the early part of the 20th century. Those later examples with S line markings lack the thickness and V shaped or peaked spine.
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Old 14th April 2017, 12:24 AM   #9
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Hi Detlef and Rick:

Thanks for the comments on the quality of this sword. My previous comments were perhaps too cryptic, so let me expand on them.

When speaking of the "S"-shaped marks on this blade as being post WWII, I was drawing on my own experience of swords that have been offered on the market for several decades. Typically, these marks were often applied randomly and have no particular meaning (according to one or two Thai collectors who have posted here previously)--blades marked in this manner were intended for the popular market rather than for use as a machete or general purpose sword/knife. The vast majority of these have poor quality blades, as I'm sure both of you know. Among those offered online, for example, it is very uncommon to find a reasonable quality blade with these particular markings applied in the manner of the sword shown above. One does certainly find decent, and possibly older, blades with a carefully engraved line of these "S"-shapes that forms a chain running adjacent to the spine of the blade, but not the stacks or clusters seen on late 20th C versions. The better quality blades are northern Thai/Lao in origin.

Similar comments can be made about the thinly inscribed lines running adjacent to the spine of the blade. These, too, appear to have emerged as common decoration in the second half of the 20th C. Although earlier examples do occur, these are deeper, and in the nature of shallow fullers, compared with the more superficial scratches that are found in late 20th C examples.

I agree with both of you that this appears to be a much better quality of blade than most of those bearing these marks. If the blade was cleaned and showed a hardened edge then it would be clearly a blade intended for use rather than display.

The degree of oxidation on these blades depends so much on how they have been used and stored. Similarly, the amount of wear and "aging" on the scabbard depends on use and storage. However, we don't know whether this sword and scabbard started out together or are a later marriage, so the scabbard does not really help in dating the sword. Interestingly, the amount of wear on the hilt (which is quite good quality for its type) is minimal, suggesting little use.

Could this sword be from the first half of the 20th C? Perhaps. But for me, the blade decoration is key to dating the sword, and that most likely points to the second half of the 20th C. The sword shown above appears to be a better quality sword than the vast majority of similar ones that were marketed heavily to US servicemen during the Vietnam war and to tourists to Thailand subsequently.

Ian
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Old 14th April 2017, 07:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Ian is correct, Thai in origin, the engraving is the giveaway, would guess early 20th century. Nice complete piece, I would personally clean the blade.

Regards,
Detlef


thanks for your input , just thinking what would be the best way to clean this blade ?
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Old 14th April 2017, 09:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefheadknocker
thanks for your input , just thinking what would be the best way to clean this blade ?


Hi Chief,

abrasive paper and elbow grease! Start with 240 and go up to 800 or 1000. A mild etch will show if the blade has a hardened edge.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 14th April 2017, 11:08 AM   #12
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Here a similar example from my own collection, 76 cm inside scabbard, blade 41 cm, handle 26,6 cm, thickness of the blade near the handle 7 mm. Handle top plate is a coin, 1/2 cent from Indochine Francaise 1938 (I know that this can't be a proof of age ) The handle binding suggest an intensive use.
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Old 14th April 2017, 11:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefheadknocker
This sword ive acquired lately and believe its a Burmese sword ,I would just like to know any information , use, age , tribe etc ,it looks to have been well used .
thanks


Can you give us the measurements of your sword please?

Sorry, just noticed that you have done it already! But how thick is the blade near the handle?

Last edited by Sajen : 14th April 2017 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 14th April 2017, 10:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Hi again chief:

Yes, this is a 20th C Thai daab. The engraved lines and "S" shaped markings are typical of post-WWII northern Thai work.

Ian


As a side note, the markings described go back in to previous centuries too.

Gavin
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Old 15th April 2017, 05:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Can you give us the measurements of your sword please?

Sorry, just noticed that you have done it already! But how thick is the blade near the handle?


hi, the blade is 9mm thick near the handle , I have cleaned the blade as it had lots of rust spots ,ere are a couple of pics which I think show a hardened edge
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Old 15th April 2017, 08:26 PM   #16
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Yes, it look like this! Good simple Thai daab!
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Old 16th April 2017, 03:12 AM   #17
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Yes, that's a good quality blade. A typical working daab.
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