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Thread: Burmese temple dha?

  1. #1

    Burmese temple dha?

    After late shipment at the end of last week I finally have this piece in hand. I almost didn't bid on it since the price was so low and from the quality I knew it wouldn't end for less then a few hundred dollars but I bid last minute and surprisingly won for very little. The sword was listed as a katana but we all know that's not what it is. The sword is big 36 1/2 inch overall with blade in scabbard, without the scabbard sword is 33 1/8 inch with a 23 1/2 inch blade, sword weighs 2 and a half pounds total and the spine is 1/4 inch thick. scabbard and handle are completely covered in gilded gold overlaying some type of metal around wood. Some colored glass pieces remain and a lot of mirror type pieces still imbedded Very nice sturdy sword. I searched the internet pretty seriously trying to find others like it but was only able to find two that were similar without any information on what it was.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    619
    Yes, a "temple dha". That's the usual Western collector's name; whether they have much, or anything, to do with temples is another story (e.g, see http://atkinson-swords.com/collectio...a-burma-2.html for discussion of the name).

    Yours is gaudier than most. If you're looking for more examples, search Google Images for "temple dha", and you'll find many, but usually plainer.
    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the info. I wasnt expecting it to be but its a fully functional sword for sure. The link you provided said some call these pieces "tourist" swords, im guessing they have never had one in their hands before. Anyway here are some more close ups.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    619
    "Tourist" and "functional" aren't mutually incompatible. "Tourist" just specifies the intended market. Likewise, "decorative" can be functional, too. For your sword, "functional" would depend on how well the blade is fitted to the hilt, and the quality of the steel and the heat treatment. Attachment to the hilt is probably by a fairly short tang glued in; while some people would say that isn't "functional", it the traditional method for genuinely functional dha. It's quick, easy, cheap, and functional, so I see no reason why your sword would be done any differently. Can't say anything about the quality of heat treatment from photos, and it isn't easy to check without potentially damaging the sword.

    (Tourist kukri are usually functional. The common tourist dha (not temple dha) tend to have poor blades, often not heat-treated, so not usually functional.)
    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    639
    Another term is "story dha".

    Have a look at the Dha Research Index for a broad range of dha: http://dharesearch.bowditch.us/SwordsFrame1Source1.htm

    In your case, I think the hilt and scabbard are a very modern embellishment to attract tourists. The blade seems well made. It is actually very similar to an older dha I have.

  6. #6
    Thank you for that clarification Timo. I personally had never come across a piece that was a "tourist" item that was functional, I haven't seen alot of them in person though. So I've always just considered when someone says tourist piece that its complete junk. I know its not scientific or comparable to a hardness test but when I'm in doubt I always take a machete I know is heat treated and smack blade edge to blade edge with the sword or knife in question, I always do this very close to the hilt so its not noticeable but you can surely tell a low quality untreated blade from treated. The Dha and the machete both took similar dings in the cutting edge so I would say the Dha has been somewhat treated to take the same effect as the treated blade.

    Ive seen similar blades also Emanuel, but after searching the internet for a few hours only came up with a few gold gilded pieces like this so it seems quite possible that maybe it was added later on. As you say the blade is extremely well made, seems too well made to be something made to be a quick cheap sell to tourists again making me think the sheathe and extras were later.

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