Temple Dha (Burma)

“Temple” dha from Burma, late 19th C.

Code:  SA11

This interesting dha from Burma is sometimes called a “temple dha” because of the silver koftgari images on the blade which tell stories from the life of Buddha. Some dhas may have other images; in these cases they are simply referred to as a "story dha".  

Little is known about the use of the temple dha but there is much speculation based on a wide variety of anecdotal evidence.  It is said that the temple dha is sometimes used ritually in “nat” (spirit) festivals, such as the Festival of the Spirits in Taungbyon, Burma. Others report that this style sword is used for executions in Burma. Yet another collector tells of buying a temple dha from a British diplomatic couple who received it on their wedding day from their Burmese hosts.  There are still others that claim the swords are simply tourist items and have no special meaning or value.  Regardless, this is a well crafted sword, dutifully sharp and fascinating to look at and wield!

This type of dha is typically found with a ball or “bun” shapped pommel. Sometimes a conical shape is found. It is entirely sheathed in metal, an alloy easily shaped. Designs are intricate embossed floral designs.

Overall length:   47 ½ inch

Blade:  31 inches long, decorated with silvered kofgiri, ¼ inch at hilt, tapering distally to ⅛ inch.

Hilt type:  3-part

Pommel:  Ball/Bun shape.

Tip shape:  upswept, acute

Spine shape:  flat

Scabbard: wooden with silver-plated brass covering, intricately embossed foliage design over the entire piece, matching the hilt. The throat of the scabbard allows the hilt to fit snugly and as one piece with the scabard. 

Date:  Late 19th Century