Dha Short Sword

SA17 Burmese Dha-myaung

Code: SA17

This is a short-sword dha, mid- to late-19th C., unusual because it is too large to be a dagger (dha-hmyaung) but at the same time considerably smaller than many full-size dha-lwe swords. The total length is 18 ¾ inches.  The blade measures 12 ⅛ inches and hilt size is 5 ⅞ inches. The blade thickness is ¼ inch for 3 ⅝ inches, tapering with a false back edge distally to 1/16 inch near the tip.  There is a martial art in southern Burma which uses two short swords of about this length.

The blade is hand forged from file steel with a convex edge and concave back. The blade is decorated with an etched floral pattern in silver.  A solution of copper, sulphur and lead oxide is used to create the dark black ground for the bright silver pattern.  The blade is typical in shape with a thickness about ¼ inch near the hilt tapering distally to ⅛ inch near the upswept tip.

The hilt is brass over wood, with central wooden grip.  The bulbous cap-shaped pommel and brash portions of the hilt are decorated with embossed and stamped floral designs. The grip, of unidentified wood, is shaped to afford finger placement for a tight hold on the sword.  It is decorated with raised carved geometric patterns that enhance a rough texture.

The scabbard, two wooden sections with brass five brass bands to hold it together, is decorated similarly to the hilt. The blade fits snugly and the two items appear made for each other.

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