Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 4th August 2021, 10:07 AM   #1
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,145
Default Dha from Bassein

Hi Guys

Here a dha from Bassein (Pathein), I'm no expert but it is written on it!

I guess it is not an old dha, I would say end of the British occupation, 1920-30ties.

Please tell me it's an 18th c. dha!
Not old, but the blade and construction are excellent.

The name on it is probably from the guy who did the scabbard and not necessarily the sword maker.

"Komg Thaw, silver goldsmith Bassein"

I will be helpful if someone can translate the Burmese bits on the guard.

Thanks

Kubur
Attached Images
    
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th August 2021, 11:35 AM   #2
kahnjar1
Member
 
kahnjar1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: CHRISTCHURCH NEW ZEALAND
Posts: 2,629
Default

IMHO this dha looks to be very modern. Nice looking piece but IF the name punched in is of a silver/goldsmith then I would have expected a much tidier script. A translation of the Burmese might clarify things better.
Stu
kahnjar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th August 2021, 12:38 PM   #3
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,339
Default

Hi Kubur,

I think this dha's age is later than your estimate--probably mid- to late-20th C. The scabbard is in the segmented style that I usually associate with Lao work,* and it appears to have a silver wash over copper or a copper alloy. The repoussed/embossed work is rather course and is of low-medium quality to my eyes. It is the scabbard suspension that also gives this away as less than high quality work, most likely designed for a foreigner. A thin cord sling attached widely apart on the scabbard is not how it should be mounted; the traditional mount (and what would be expected by an owner within the culture) is a loop of thicker cotton cord that is wrapped multiple times around the top of the scabbard and fixed with ends tucked into the wrapping. The loop should be long enough to suspend the sword from a shoulder or slung across the chest.

The blade appears to be well forged and has the prominent fuller seen on many Burmese dha of the 20th C. The bright, smooth polish to the blade suggests to me that it may have been chrome-plated. This is seen occasionally on Burmese dha of the mid- to late-20th C--I have a couple of examples. It is hard to know how well tempered these blades are, but I would not put this one through any cutting tests. The hilt is interesting and the material used for the grip is unfamiliar. Can you ascertain what it is? The picture is hard to discern (is it copper?). The two ferrules on the hilt may be silver- or chrome-plated--again, I have examples of chrome plated hilts also. They do not resemble closely the solid silver examples seen on older pieces, where you can identify the individual pieces of the silverwork (e.g., twisted filigree, solid wire, etc.) used in the construction. Here there appears to be a uniform coating to the components of the ferrules, i.e., plating.

I believe what you have is a nice decorative Burmese dha from the mid-20th C.


--------------

* This style of scabbard is seen with some 20th C Burmese dha, and occasionally on much earlier pieces where the quality of workmanship is considerably better.

Last edited by Ian; 4th August 2021 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Spelling
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th August 2021, 03:39 PM   #4
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,145
Default

Hi Ian,

Thank you very much for your comments about this sword.
I agree about mid 20th c. No later than 1950 and maybe a few years earlier as Bassein was renamed after the British left the country and it will be stupid to ignore this important information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
it appears to have a silver wash over copper or a copper alloy. The repoussed/embossed work is rather course and is of low-medium quality to my eyes. It is the scabbard suspension that also gives this away as less than high quality work,
My photos are not good, the yellow is over the silver and not the opposite, I can confirm that it is plain silver and tarnished.

Compared to the so-called temple dha (bad quality), I would say medium quality, I need to do some photos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
the scabbard suspension that also gives this away as less than high quality work, most likely designed for a foreigner.
I believe what you have is a nice decorative Burmese dha
Because of the quality of the workmanship and the fact that the sword is balanced, heavy and sharp, I prefer to say presentation sword, probably for some British militaries more than tourists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
The hilt is interesting and the material used for the grip is unfamiliar. Can you ascertain what it is? The picture is hard to discern (is it copper?). The two ferrules on the hilt may be silver- or chrome-plated--again, I have examples of chrome plated hilts also.
The hilt is heavily chrome plated, the medium part seems to be cooper or brass (I wish gold). :-)

I normaly don't collect 20th c. swords but this one is really fun and very decorative...
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th August 2021, 04:34 PM   #5
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Room 101, Glos. UK
Posts: 3,650
Default

The hilt is very much like mine - see the photos in post 15 in this thread: https://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpost.php?p=180723 - the main photo is below.



Mine has a more traditional blade and scabbard, shows a peacock bird in the brass/bronze section and also has a burmese/mon inscription on the silver section...and no western lettering.


Full thread is here: https://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...Sword+scabbord
Attached Images
 

Last edited by kronckew; 4th August 2021 at 04:49 PM.
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th August 2021, 06:26 PM   #6
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Olomouc
Posts: 1,659
Default

A friend was able to translate the script. Quite interesting... It says "beware of forgeries!"
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th August 2021, 12:52 PM   #7
Peter Dekker
Member
 
Peter Dekker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Kingdom of the Netherlands
Posts: 60
Default

Hi,

I agree with most people's assessment that it looks like rather late work, like the second half of the 20th century. It is not bad, compared to what normally was produced during this period, but it's probably not an item that was made "for the culture".

However, on the type of suspension:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
It is the scabbard suspension that also gives this away as less than high quality work, most likely designed for a foreigner. A thin cord sling attached widely apart on the scabbard is not how it should be mounted; the traditional mount (and what would be expected by an owner within the culture) is a loop of thicker cotton cord that is wrapped multiple times around the top of the scabbard and fixed with ends tucked into the wrapping. The loop should be long enough to suspend the sword from a shoulder or slung across the chest.
This widely spaced layout of two rings to hold a cord or strap does seem to be part of a somewhat older tradition. It is seen on a number of large presentation dha from the late 19th to the first decades of the 20th century.

Among the ones I have had were at least two that were made for locals, by virtue of their inscriptions. The first had references on the blade to a general that fought the British fiercely, another the name of Maung Po Min, a Shan aristocrat. Both swords were probably from the 1920s or 1930s, exhibiting the typical high-level silver repousse work also seen on bowls from that period.

A last one (bottom) is somewhat earlier and indeed made for a foreigner, Sir Owen Tudor Burne (18371909). This one, oddly, only has the ring at the top.

I am not sure why the suspension method on this type differs, but just to illustrate it's not a fantasy feature only seen on low-grade items. I think it was perhaps because these were meant to be carried by someone other than their user, and thus not worn "at the ready" like someone would wear his own sword. But that's just speculation.
Attached Images
 
Peter Dekker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th August 2021, 06:40 PM   #8
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,145
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Dekker View Post
Hi,

I agree with most people's assessment that it looks like rather late work, like the second half of the 20th century. It is not bad, compared to what normally was produced during this period, but it's probably not an item that was made "for the culture".
Thanks Peter, actualy it is only Stu who keeps insisting that is end of 20th c.
I agreed with Ian about mid 20th c.

In your very nice website, you rely a lot on inscriptions on blades and scabbards, and you are right. Why not keep in consideration the inscription on mine? When Bassein's name changed for Pathein? mid 50ties or late 40ties?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Dekker View Post
Hi,

However, on the type of suspension:

This widely spaced layout of two rings to hold a cord or strap does seem to be part of a somewhat older tradition. It is seen on a number of large presentation dha from the late 19th to the first decades of the 20th century.
...
but just to illustrate it's not a fantasy feature only seen on low-grade items.
Correct, plus, I need to post some photos of the silver work, it is not top quality as what you mentionned but it is very descent and much better than the temple dha from 1900.
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2021, 10:35 AM   #9
Peter Dekker
Member
 
Peter Dekker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Kingdom of the Netherlands
Posts: 60
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur View Post
Thanks Peter, actualy it is only Stu who keeps insisting that is end of 20th c.
I agreed with Ian about mid 20th c.

In your very nice website, you rely a lot on inscriptions on blades and scabbards, and you are right. Why not keep in consideration the inscription on mine? When Bassein's name changed for Pathein? mid 50ties or late 40ties?
Thanks for your kind words!

The name change happened pretty late, 1989, so that doesn't help a lot in pushing the date back, unfortunately.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur View Post
Correct, plus, I need to post some photos of the silver work, it is not top quality as what you mentionned but it is very descent and much better than the temple dha from 1900.
Looking forward to seeing more.
Peter Dekker is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 06:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.