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Old 2nd April 2007, 11:23 AM   #1
~Alaung_Hpaya~
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Default Very first Dha for comment

My very first dha . Popular tradition has it that you cannot unsheath a dha without bloodying it . This came without scabbard and is blunt anyway

Comments please .




Full length view




Overlay of fish pattern and writing in Burmese script
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Old 2nd April 2007, 03:25 PM   #2
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I really like this one. I just acquired a similar dha with the brass inlay decoration on the flat of the blade. It is not something you see too often. Another member has a matching dha-lwe and dha-hmyaung with this kind of decoration, but those are the only other ones I have seen.

I don't think that I have ever seen that kind of discontinuous fuller. One of Andrew's dha has a very long upswept time like this one, but that makes only two I have seen.

A very nice and unusual dha.
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Old 2nd April 2007, 11:27 PM   #3
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A very nice dha, I have one that is similar but the fuller goes the entire way. I always thought it burmese maybe with an english influence ( no data on this just the feel of it) but someone here may know better I also have a dha-hmyaung with this type of koftgari. I will try to post pictures soon
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Old 2nd April 2007, 11:38 PM   #4
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Fish decoration





Ingabettaw Maung Thein






15 kyat ( kyat / chat = layer or also a unit of weight measurement : also used latterly for the currency post independence )
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Old 2nd April 2007, 11:52 PM   #5
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Old 3rd April 2007, 03:37 AM   #6
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Cool

Very nice! I didn't really appreciate this when I last looked at it.

The "interrupted" fuller is eye-catching, and I find this blade shape quite elegant and graceful. The inlay is beautiful and the text particularly crisp. Can you translate it?




Mark, were you referring to the overall blade shape tapering to the tip? The date-inlaid (brass? gold?) pattern welded example I have is similar.
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Old 3rd April 2007, 03:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RhysMichael






That is such a nice example, John. Is that the one with the matching knife?
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Old 3rd April 2007, 09:44 AM   #8
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( Let me know if I'm not allowed to do this )

This is from the gallery at Oriental Arms . The item was sold just last month.

It is again similar with the brass inlay , a rayskin grip and a rather narrow point . Like John's it has a single fuller on each side but the shape is straighter like my example. ( I wonder if the curvature on John's has increased looking at the convexity of the brass inserts in the spine ? )








Does anyone know generally ( in other cultures / other sword types ) whether the markings on the spine are simply just decoration or have a meaning of some kind. A relative of mine ( who is not a dha expert ) remembers from childhood that these notches related to use / kill / number of battles .


The writing on my item reads Inga-Bettaw Maung Thein . Inga-Bettaw sounds like a place name and Maung Thein is a person ( sword smith ? ) .


The numbers read 15 with the kyat symbol ( which looks like an o on both sides ) The symbolism is now used to denote the post colonial currency but I think in previous times could have been exclusively a measure of weight or the number of layers : kyat roughly translates as layer ( the term kyat is still used today as a measure as well as the currency ) .


The sword is very well balanced and has seen considerable use with several notches along the blade and some deeper cuts in the ferrule . The proximal third of the blade has been much sharpened and has lost some of its width as a result .


I questioned the age but was advised that it must be at least 1900 as it shares unusual stylistic similarities with a sword belonging to the Oldman collection.


It seems to be a genuine fighting dha rather than a presentation piece .


( John , Do you have a photo of the matching dha-hmyaung ? )





Another view

Last edited by ~Alaung_Hpaya~ : 3rd April 2007 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 3rd April 2007, 05:05 PM   #9
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Andrew - yes, I was refering the the damascus dha with the date cartouche, which I expect is the "Oldman" dha refered to.

Alaung Hpaya - Artzi (Oriental Arms) doesn't mind linking to his photos. I was going to do the same, as that is the inlaid dha I was talking about that I bought at Timonium.

We haven't found any clear information on the brass, and sometimes copper, insets along the spine. I sort of doubt that it counts kills, since I think its something that would have been done at the time of manufacture, and the patterns are always very regular, which should not be the case unless the owner always killed in even numbers . I have found reference to the talismanic significance of some metals in Burmese and Thai culture, but not specifically brass or copper. It is something that I have most often seen on Shan and Thai dha, in the latter case in the more contemporary krabi-krabong daab.

Philip Tom has suggested that it is a stylized representation of bamboo.

Kyat being reference to the number of layers is interesting, but wouldn't one expect the number to be either smaller (welded billet) or even (folded billet)? Could it refer to the weight of the sword?
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Old 3rd April 2007, 05:21 PM   #10
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I would guess kyat is likely to refer to the weight of the sword ( I'm not overly familiar with Burmese measurements but I think it refers to density more specifically than mass ) .

Here is a picture of the spine showing the regular lines :





It looks like some of the brass and copper have fallen out . There are identical diagonal lines on the steel where there is no brass . Is this to allow purchase for the brass or a deliberate pattern and therefore a deliberate random variation in the design ?
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Old 3rd April 2007, 06:19 PM   #11
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I believe that the cross-hatching on the steel is to provide better attachment for the inset, so those would be areas were one has fallen out. If you look at the close-up in the second photo of my sword, you can see the inset edge-on, and how it is attached to the steel below.
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Old 4th April 2007, 02:45 AM   #12
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We have talked before that these markings on the spine. If I remember correctly they are also found on malay klewangs, tenegre, talibon, parang nabur and more rarely chinese swords


I will post pictures of the dha-hmyaung soon
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Old 4th April 2007, 03:14 AM   #13
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Hi John:

We have indeed discussed these inlaid areas and marks before. They appear also on a short Thai pole arm that can be seen here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=605

I believe PUFF had a very interesting observation a while back when he said that these marks were a type of "registration" for specific weapons and owners. In the past the marks on the spine were recorded against the name of the owner, but more modern pieces simply use these as decoration: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=3021

Quote:
Originally Posted by PUFF:
Currently, there are hypothesis for marks on the spine. The first one is helping a calculation or strategy note. Another one which 's come from more reliable source is that spine marks are blade registration. The marks can be transfer to a paper or cloth with a piece of charcoal and a copy will be kept by town/city officer.

The slug, however, is related with spiritual believe. The most reliable one is that the copper material has a warding power against evil or person's spiritual protection. Some smiths point out the metal keep rust away. But the hypothesis 's less solid sice it 's scientificly not true.

Both marks and slugs may serve their purpose in the old time. But in this modern time, although the marks and slugs are traditional preserved, but its real purpose has been forgotten and they are purely used as a decoration.

Ian.

Last edited by Ian : 4th April 2007 at 03:24 AM.
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