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Thread: Entering the world of daab...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Entering the world of daab...

    So, I've recently moved to Bangkok and will be here for a few years. Any recommendations on where to look for daab or other blades and what to look for?

    I've contacted Mark at The Dha Research Archive, and I've been going through the information there. I've also been look for books (I found "The Armies of Angkor"--really rather fascinating, if more focused on Cambodia) and anything I can find. Figured I'd see if there were any folks here with suggestions.

    As some of you may know, I've been more into Japanese sword arts and somewhat into Western arts--but I figure while I'm here I should just get into the local scene, too

    BTW, I've been to Chatuchak (more on that in another thread) and the Suam Lum Night Bazaar. I've also been by the National Museum, which has a nice collection, though I wish it was better preserved.
    -J. L. Badgley

    Capital Area Budokai
    http://www.capitalareabudokai.org/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Netherlands/Thailand
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    There are many Darb makers, most make tourist pieces, the good makers are hard to find, its almost as nobody wants to share any information.
    A good point to start is in Aranyik about 30 minutes from Ayuttaya, the village is full with sword and knife makers, the store that draws the big attention (huge darb in front) vinay is also the one with the least atracting hardware.
    Serge from http://www.cozun.com lives in Ayuttaya and works with some of the smiths in Aranyik, he is also the man who puts a lot of effort into improving the quality and know how.
    Im sure he can hook you up and give you more details on the trade in Thailand.
    http://www.cozun.com/contactPage.htm

    another important historical location is Uttradit where the namphi mines are located this steel is more blue and is told to have magical powers this is also a place where many sword makers are located.

    Nathaniel Hope dit a pictureal essay on both places on Antonio's board.

    http://www.bladesignforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=922
    http://www.bladesignforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=885

    happy hunting and please share your findings.


    Ruud
    More Sweat In Training Less Blood In Combat
    My Site

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
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    Posts
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    Tourist Daab

    Okay, I actually purchased my first sword in Thailand today. It was a tourist daab, although I'm so used to high prices in the US market that I still haven't figured out what a reasonable price is here--I figured that the low price was worth the quality. Though maybe I'm pleasantly wrong--I don't yet have an eye for swords in Thailand yet.

    Here it is:


    The engraving seems a little shallow and not very carefully done, on both the sword and the fittings. It appears to be brass sheeting colored to appear silver. I don't know how it is attached on usual fittings, but here it was just pressure fit and I noticed it came loose when I was undoing the wrapping job the sellers wrapped it in. I have more pictures up on flicker (just click the photo and it should take you there).

    There is only one ring where I would expect two--there is a place for a second, but it isn't attached. Also, the cord is attached to the sword, rather than through the wrings as I would expect.

    That said, it comes to a decent edge in the last third of the blade, and seems to have good weight, imho. The balance suits me fine for what it is. I do want to figure out how to clean it up--there is some red rust that I'd just as soon take care of. Unfortunately, most of my stuff is still in shipping and probably won't be here for another 2 weeks, minimum.

    My main purpose was generally more costume than use oriented. Plus I've been wanting to get something--hopefully this will calm my fever for a while until I can actually find more fruitful grounds. We'll see, though.

    I do think it has the overall look right--just not the craftsmanship. It looks like it was rushed--I'm guessing some of the decorative panels were probably hastily stamped through a mill of some sort.

    I am wondering about the line of copper that is drawn around part of it--I have no idea where that is from or what it might indicate.

    Any comments from others out there?
    -J. L. Badgley

    Capital Area Budokai
    http://www.capitalareabudokai.org/

  4. #4
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    Jul 2004
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    Most know as the Temple Dha, have seen many of those, the one below was for sale in Florida, just a link I dont own it.

    More Sweat In Training Less Blood In Combat
    My Site

  5. We've already discussed this one via e-mail, but I had a couple more comments I thought I would share.

    The pressure fit is the standard for Thai/Tai daab, and Bama (Burmese) dha. It has been said to reduce the vibration when contact is made with the target. I've never tried cutting with any of mine, so I can't confirm whether this is true. I should ask Andrew, who has cut with a few of his. You will probably also have noticed how short the tang is, and this is again standard, though I don't understand why as it puts a lot of stress on the handle where it meets the blade, and splitting is common.

    The blade decoration is applied silver foil and wire, hammered onto the rough surface and heated to anneal the metals. The line is just a frame around the story, and done in copper instead of silver for visual interest. I expect that the decorative patterns on the scabbard and handle are done with a series of punches, rather than a mill with the whole pattern.
    Mark Bowditch
    The Dha Research Archive
    "Let each one understand the meaning of sincerity, and guard against display!" Chuang Tzu, The Tower of the Spirit (XXIII.8)
    "There is no deadlier weapon than the will! The sharpest sword is not equal to it!" Chuang Tzu, The Inner Law (XXIII.8)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Thailand
    Posts
    20
    Quote Originally Posted by J. L. Badgley View Post
    Okay, I actually purchased my first sword in Thailand today. It was a tourist daab, although I'm so used to high prices in the US market that I still haven't figured out what a reasonable price is here--I figured that the low price was worth the quality. Though maybe I'm pleasantly wrong--I don't yet have an eye for swords in Thailand yet.

    Here it is:


    The engraving seems a little shallow and not very carefully done, on both the sword and the fittings. It appears to be brass sheeting colored to appear silver. I don't know how it is attached on usual fittings, but here it was just pressure fit and I noticed it came loose when I was undoing the wrapping job the sellers wrapped it in. I have more pictures up on flicker (just click the photo and it should take you there).

    There is only one ring where I would expect two--there is a place for a second, but it isn't attached. Also, the cord is attached to the sword, rather than through the wrings as I would expect.

    That said, it comes to a decent edge in the last third of the blade, and seems to have good weight, imho. The balance suits me fine for what it is. I do want to figure out how to clean it up--there is some red rust that I'd just as soon take care of. Unfortunately, most of my stuff is still in shipping and probably won't be here for another 2 weeks, minimum.

    My main purpose was generally more costume than use oriented. Plus I've been wanting to get something--hopefully this will calm my fever for a while until I can actually find more fruitful grounds. We'll see, though.

    I do think it has the overall look right--just not the craftsmanship. It looks like it was rushed--I'm guessing some of the decorative panels were probably hastily stamped through a mill of some sort.

    I am wondering about the line of copper that is drawn around part of it--I have no idea where that is from or what it might indicate.

    Any comments from others out there?
    Hi,

    based to what I was told, these sort of swords are fabricated in Burma (Myanmar) or perhaps crafted and sold in that country's and Thailand's bordering areas. I was offered the trade/sell of those models but was - and am still - not interessted by the kind and quality that these are made of (although the look isn't that bad, if they were somewhat more sturdy and not so fragile looking and feeling).

    So much to my input regarding this thread,
    Cheers,
    Serge from cozun.com
    Better have a Thai sword and not need it, than need a Thai sword and not have it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    163
    I came across this thread from the Viking Swords Forum Ethnographic Edged Weapons section by the very knowledgeable Ian A. Greaves who was one of the three main contributors of the Continental Asia section of the Hsitory of Steel Exhibition


    http://www.vikingsword.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/001291.html

    ***Note: Ian states in the thread:

    " My theory is that these swords were produced in large numbers and targeted to the GIs in and around Vietnam from about 1965 through 1972 and subsequently. As such they were "tourist" pieces designed for the returning warrior. Since that time, the tourist/replica industry has continued with new pieces still appearing and, of course, some of the earlier ones are still circulating. Martial arts enthusiasts may have contributed to the continued viability of this market.


    My main reason in posting these thoughts and pictures is to help the collector distinguish what has been made recently (in the last 35+ years) from what is older and more traditional. I find the latter definitely more collectible than recently produced swords.


    If my comments also help people avoid making an expensive error or otherwise being disappointed, then that is a good outcome too. While collecting swords is fun, and we all must learn from our mistakes at some time, it serves no good purpose for anyone to get conned. And I have seen people who have been deceived by others selling these swords as something they are not.


    With a little experience, however, they are fairly easily spotted and I hope the brief discussion above makes that even easier.

    Ian."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    163

    some more good links

    Last edited by Nathaniel Hope; 04-05-2008 at 11:34 AM. Reason: error

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hong Kong and Canada
    Posts
    137
    I hope the following is somewhat related to this thread.

    I attached two links of two webs that are closely related.
    http://www.achangdao.net/index.asp
    http://www.achangdao.com/index1.asp

    Both webs are showing products by three bladesmiths, Xiong Lao Soi/Xian Qiao Fa/Jiang Qi. Xiong Lao Soi entered competition of dao’s performance in the local festivals in 2006/2007/2008 and won the championship. Following is link showing the competition scenes.
    http://www.achangdao.net/view.asp?id=89
    Following is link showing a video by CCTV interviewing Xiong Lao Soi. The title is King of Husadao. On right hand side of the link, there are some other related videos of this bladesmith. One is showing how the Yunan people cut the towels by flipping it. The videos are in Chinese, but one can have a glimpse of the sharpness of the daos.

    http://www.56.com/u38/v_MjA1OTIwMjc.html

    I brief some points from the Chinese content in the webs as I have to fly tomorrow morning.
    - Achang is a tribe. Husa is a village in Yunan near Burma border.
    - In 1388, one General of Ming Dynasty stationed a troop in Husa. Achang tribe learnt the forging technique from the bladesmiths belonging to the troops. Since then, the technique was heritaged in Husa and Achang tribe is famous for forging daos. This heritage is recently recorded in Chinese Government’s program to recognize various historic culture/skills.

    Followings are section of Mian Dao (also called Mupong Dao). Mian is Chinese pronunciation of Burma in short term. The web said that Burma people do not know how to forge daos and they ask Achang tribe to do that for them.
    http://www.achangdao.net/product2.asp?productSort=531
    http://www.achangdao.com/product2.asp?productSort=243

    Following is section of daos for another tribe.
    http://www.achangdao.net/product2.asp?productSort=516

    I hope this short introduction will be interesting. If anybody need some translation of some item, I will try to help but next week until I finish my trip. By then, I should have received my first lot (3) of daos, including a Zhan Ma Dao (1.2M). It took me 4 months to communicate with them to get the daos. They are quite secretive.

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