Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Small dha (southern Laos) (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=27120)

Iain 16th July 2021 03:41 PM

Small dha (southern Laos)
 
3 Attachment(s)
Perhaps more of a large fighting knife at 54cm overall, despite the condition of the blade I quite like this one. Workmanlike with good steel and a pleasing curve to the blade. I've always like this style of fittings on dha/daab as well.

Ren Ren 17th July 2021 12:40 AM

I definitely love this item! The aroma of antiquity is felt in it!
Do you attribute its origin to the south of Laos, the historical region Champasak?

Iain 17th July 2021 07:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ren Ren (Post 264444)
I definitely love this item! The aroma of antiquity is felt in it!
Do you attribute its origin to the south of Laos, the historical region Champasak?

Hi RenRen, the handle is of a type usually associated with Vientiane and the surrounding region.

Ren Ren 17th July 2021 11:19 PM

Hi Iain! Thanks for sharing this information!
The study of the regional characteristics of the swords of Laos is a new and very exciting topic for me. Laos includes three historical regions - Lanxang, Vientiane and Champasak. I have heard that Vientiane's swords are distinguished by their elegance and richness of decoration, because the royal court and the best craftsmen, armourers and artists were located there. The Champasak region (modern provinces of Champasak and Attapeu) was in active contact with the Khmer and Cham peoples, and their influence was noticeable there. I cannot say with certainty that this was the case in reality (for this I have too little information yet). But it looks quite plausible, and I think it is possible to waste time discussing it.

Ian 18th July 2021 11:42 AM

Iain, what is your estimation of this one's age?

Iain 18th July 2021 05:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ian (Post 264488)
Iain, what is your estimation of this one's age?

Hi Ian, always a tricky question! The blade condition of course is partly a factor of a lack of proper storage and humidity but I do think it should be 19th century at a minimum, the brass handle at the guard is quite worn, always a good sign it was used for many years. I don't think its possible to be much more precise, except to say this style certainly dates back further than that but I tend to be conservative.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ren Ren (Post 264478)
Hi Iain! Thanks for sharing this information!
The study of the regional characteristics of the swords of Laos is a new and very exciting topic for me. Laos includes three historical regions - Lanxang, Vientiane and Champasak. I have heard that Vientiane's swords are distinguished by their elegance and richness of decoration, because the royal court and the best craftsmen, armourers and artists were located there. The Champasak region (modern provinces of Champasak and Attapeu) was in active contact with the Khmer and Cham peoples, and their influence was noticeable there. I cannot say with certainty that this was the case in reality (for this I have too little information yet). But it looks quite plausible, and I think it is possible to waste time discussing it.

Hi Ren Ren, to be clear I am not saying that this daab is necessarily from Vientiane, but that some collectors identify the type with that area, personally I think it is hard to be that precise with the limited knowledge we have and a lack of pictorial or archaeological evidence. I am certainly no expert in regional attributions, but I find the regions of Lanna and Lan Xang in general to be fascinating.

Ian 19th July 2021 01:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Iain (Post 264500)
... I do think it should be 19th century at a minimum, the brass handle at the guard is quite worn, always a good sign it was used for many years. I don't think its possible to be much more precise, except to say this style certainly dates back further than that but I tend to be conservative. ... I am not saying that this daab is necessarily from Vientiane, but that some collectors identify the type with that area, personally I think it is hard to be that precise with the limited knowledge we have and a lack of pictorial or archaeological evidence. I am certainly no expert in regional attributions, but I find the regions of Lanna and Lan Xang in general to be fascinating.

Iain, well said. As for age, I agree that the style dates back to the late 17th through 19th C, and I might be a little less conservative in attributing it to the 18th C. However, as you say, it's hard to know with any certainty. Likewise the location of manufacture. I agree that the old regions of Lanna and Lan Xang are fascinating (their borders shifted back and forth so much), and it's sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two when it comes to their swords. Thanks for showing this one.

Iain 19th July 2021 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ian (Post 264510)
Iain, well said. As for age, I agree that the style dates back to the late 17th through 19th C, and I might be a little less conservative in attributing it to the 18th C. However, as you say, it's hard to know with any certainty. Likewise the location of manufacture. I agree that the old regions of Lanna and Lan Xang are fascinating (their borders shifted back and forth so much), and it's sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two when it comes to their swords. Thanks for showing this one.

I wouldn't have a problem to tentatively place it to the 18th century given the form and wear. Regarding the region, I think its a fairly safe bet to say somewhere in the general vicinity of Lampang to Vientiane if you draw a circle on a map. I would love to pair this piece with a full sized sword of the same hilt style at some point.

Klop 7th August 2021 04:09 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Dear Iain,

I have a knife resembling yours, a bit smaller still. The ferrule near the blade is much more basic, I like the snub nose of the blade.
It seems to have quite some age to it. Same region I suppose.

Kind regards,
Eric.

Iain 8th August 2021 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Klop (Post 265031)
Dear Iain,

I have a knife resembling yours, a bit smaller still. The ferrule near the blade is much more basic, I like the snub nose of the blade.
It seems to have quite some age to it. Same region I suppose.

Kind regards,
Eric.

Nice to see another similar knife. With yours the blade does seem quite old and is of a form I've seen on other working knives from the region, which makes sense with the smaller size.

To be honest I think the pommel is older than both ferrules and perhaps the piece is a little bit of a composite? I like the overall effect but usually with these hilts the ferrules would be of the same level and decorative nature as the pommel element.

Ian 9th August 2021 03:50 AM

Hi Eric,

As Iain has noted, this is a utility knife from roughly the same era as his. I agree that the ferrules are later replacements (but not recently). This style of blade has been found in Thailand and neighboring areas for at least two or three centuries.

Ian

Klop 9th August 2021 08:54 PM

Hi Iain and Ian,

Thanks for your input and I agree, the ferrule near the blade must be an older replacement. But you speak of two ferrules, this is the only one I see. At the end it all seems just one piece of metal, I can't discover a gap or joint between the smooth part and the decorated pommel.

If it's two pieces they made a nice marriage. Maybe one day I'll stumble upon one with all the metal en suite...

Kind regards,
Eric.


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