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Old 31st January 2015, 12:47 PM   #1
Sajen
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Default My new Lao dha/daab Lan Xang kingdom

Proudly I want to share with you my "new" Lao daab/dha from the Lan Xang area. I think that it is from the middle of 18th to middle 19th century. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lan_Xang
Ian has shown recently two similar dha in this thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=19121
Enjoy the pictures from the seller. Like usual all comments are very welcome.
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Old 31st January 2015, 06:19 PM   #2
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Very nice! Congrats, Sajen.

One question--what leads you to your estimation of this sword's age?
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Old 31st January 2015, 07:59 PM   #3
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Hello Detlef:

This certainly appears to have many of the features of an older Lao/northern Thailand daab. The hilt, although not especially long, is consistent with that origin and that particular style of rattan wrapping of a plain wooden scabbard is seen with Lao/Montagnard pieces. The blade shows a somewhat hatchet point, again consistent with Lao/Montagnard work.

Thank you also for the reference to the kingdoms of Lan Xang. I noted in particular the images of two excellent monuments to Lan Xang kings of the 14th C—King Fa Ngum and King Setthathirat—each of which is shown with a sword of similar style to the one you show. I have attached pictures from that web site of the statues and details of the swords they wear or hold.

Before we get too carried away with the possible age of your sword, however, we need to determine when these statues were made and for how long that style of sword was produced. This is clearly not a 300+ year old sword IMO. I am a little concerned about the shape of the blade, which narrows slightly as it passes from the hilt towards the tip and then widens. This feature is seen today on some swords from Thailand (especially northern Thailand) and in my experience is not found to any great degree on older Tai/Lao work. It does raise the possibility of a newer blade with an old Lao hilt. The blade has been cleaned extensively and it is hard to date it without a much closer inspection. To my eye, the hilt is the oldest piece of this daab.

Given these caveats, I think your daab could be mid- to late-19th C, possibly a little earlier, while the scabbard looks maybe late 19th C at the oldest (just judging from the patina on the rattan wrap and the fact that the rattan is still intact). There is a possibility that the daab could be a marriage of a more recent blade with an older hilt.

Pictures of the two statues of the kings are from the web site you quoted and show swords with relatively short handles that may or may not be correct for the period in which these two kings lived. The swords are definitely of Lao style, however, and are consistent with your recent purchase.

The first pictures relate to King Fa Ngum and the second set to King Setthathirat.

Ian.
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Last edited by Ian : 31st January 2015 at 08:41 PM. Reason: Revisions
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Old 31st January 2015, 09:11 PM   #4
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A VERY NICE ONE WITH GOOD WEAR AND PATINA AND COMPLETE. CONGRATULATIONS. PERHAPS THE DAFIA WILL RISE AGAIN ON THE FORUM.
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Old 31st January 2015, 10:15 PM   #5
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Congratulations Detlef! I actually considered this one, but didn't have the money and the blade gave me some pause.

Still a nice piece!

Am I correct in assuming that solid bronze hilts like this are older?

(and by the way, as mentioned years ago, I prefer "Dha Freaks" over "Dafia" )
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Old 31st January 2015, 10:30 PM   #6
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The hilt is made of two pieces, Detlef ?
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Old 1st February 2015, 04:31 AM   #7
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Very nice Daab Lao, Sajen. Love to see pictures of the entire sword (Blade and handle) out of scabbard as the sellers pictures are just section of the blade, handle and scabbard.

I would agree extreme caution should be taken when looking at such statues....the whole statue, from the face, dress and swords are 20th century artists interpretations of 14th & 16 century kings....though they may pull from historical artifacts usually these are more recent 19th & 20th century examples.

Thanks for highlighting the Lao Laan Xaang Kingdom, Sajen. Laos has a very interesting and beautiful culture that is often overshadowed by it's neighbors.

Thanks for sharing

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Old 1st February 2015, 08:55 AM   #8
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Default similar shape of hilt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Proudly I want to share with you my "new" Lao daab/dha from the Lan Xang area. I think that it is from the middle of 18th to middle 19th century. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lan_Xang
Ian has shown recently two similar dha in this thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=19121
Enjoy the pictures from the seller. Like usual all comments are very welcome.

Hello Sagen
Very nice Dha ! I own one with a similar shape of hilt but from silver and copper.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15160
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Old 1st February 2015, 10:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
Very nice! Congrats, Sajen.

One question--what leads you to your estimation of this sword's age?


Thank you Andrew. Have discussed the sword with a good friend who is a great expert for swords from mainland SEA, he seems to be sure that it is a 18thc sword. Second the age estimation from Ian in this thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=19121 post #4. The wear of friction at the handle is a further point.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 1st February 2015, 10:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian

Before we get too carried away with the possible age of your sword, however, we need to determine when these statues were made and for how long that style of sword was produced. This is clearly not a 300+ year old sword IMO. I am a little concerned about the shape of the blade, which narrows slightly as it passes from the hilt towards the tip and then widens. This feature is seen today on some swords from Thailand (especially northern Thailand) and in my experience is not found to any great degree on older Tai/Lao work. It does raise the possibility of a newer blade with an old Lao hilt. The blade has been cleaned extensively and it is hard to date it without a much closer inspection. To my eye, the hilt is the oldest piece of this daab.

Given these caveats, I think your daab could be mid- to late-19th C, possibly a little earlier, while the scabbard looks maybe late 19th C at the oldest (just judging from the patina on the rattan wrap and the fact that the rattan is still intact). There is a possibility that the daab could be a marriage of a more recent blade with an older hilt.


Thank you Ian for your elaborate comment. The blade shape is for sure something what need to be observed. Of course could be there the possibility that the blade is of later manufacture. We will know more when I have received the sword and the blade has received a polish and etch. That the scabbard couldn't be old as the sword is clear but I am happy that it is complete and with this nice patina.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 1st February 2015, 10:58 AM   #11
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Barry and Jose,

thank you both for your kind words.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 1st February 2015, 10:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
The hilt is made of two pieces, Detlef ?


Hello Rick,

yes it seems like this, I think this is not unusual.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 1st February 2015, 11:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathaniel
Very nice Daab Lao, Sajen. Love to see pictures of the entire sword (Blade and handle) out of scabbard as the sellers pictures are just section of the blade, handle and scabbard.

I would agree extreme caution should be taken when looking at such statues....the whole statue, from the face, dress and swords are 20th century artists interpretations of 14th & 16 century kings....though they may pull from historical artifacts usually these are more recent 19th & 20th century examples.

Thanks for highlighting the Lao Laan Xaang Kingdom, Sajen. Laos has a very interesting and beautiful culture that is often overshadowed by it's neighbors.

Thanks for sharing


Thank you Nathaniel,

will post some pictures after I have received the daab.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 1st February 2015, 11:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerjak
Hello Sagen
Very nice Dha ! I own one with a similar shape of hilt but from silver and copper.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15160


Hello Cerjak,

thank you as well. Like the others I believe that your sword is a Thai daab. A very nice one with good age, beautiful piece, congrats.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 1st February 2015, 11:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Thank you Andrew. Have discussed the sword with a good friend who is a great expert for swords from mainland SEA, he seems to be sure that it is a 18thc sword. Second the age estimation from Ian in this thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=19121 post #4. The wear of friction at the handle is a further point.

Regards,
Detlef
Detlef:

In my previous post I was not really definite about the 18th C attribution. Here is what I said in the post you quote--please note the qualifying comment at the end:
"What makes this 18th C? The main feature here is the hilt which resembles Ayutthaya hilts of that period and earlier. The slim handle with an elongated lotus bud pommel and a bell-like flaring adjacent to the blade is very reminiscent of Ayutthaya daab found in Thai museums and dated to the 17th and 18th C. This daab also has a small guard--a feature more commonly found with Lao daab than Thai swords of the 18th and 19th C. All this said, it is possible that the sword could be of later manufacture (perhaps second half of the 19th C) but in a style harking back to an earlier period."
Andrew thinks that many of these daab are likely from the late 19th C. And I must agree that although the dealers' pictures I posted in the other thread showed swords made in an older style, they could have been manufactured more recently than the style would suggest.

You mention that your friend has some experience with SE Asian swords and has examined this daab. I would like to know the additional features that he found that would indicate a blade more than 200 years old. The pictures that you show from the dealer do not persuade me that this is such an old blade, so I would like to know what he found that convinced him of its age.

Regards,

Ian.
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Old 1st February 2015, 04:41 PM   #16
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Ian:

The age guess was given with a great range and by the presumtion that the blade is old like the handle and original. The chiseled tip of the blade is typical for daab of this origin like you mentioned also. Let's wait until I have the sword in my hands and can tell you more, all can change by closer inspection. Of course I have the hope that the sword is original in all parts with a later scabbard of course.

Regards,
Detlef
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