Language: Burmese
Source: Period account

Description

Da̱lwe (ဓားလွယ်) is a large da that was worn slung over the shoulder. 1

The word first appears in Adoniram Judson's ground breaking Burmese-English dictionary of 1826, where it is described as:

"a sword, a suspended knife". 2

In the revised edition of 1893, it returns as:

"a sword suspended from the shoulder or at the side." 3

 

In period accounts it is also written as dalwel, dalwey, dal waydalwé or dha-lwé.

According to Bell, it was part of the full uniform of the Burmese soldier. 4

A dha-lhwe

A large Shan minority da̱lwe.

 

Dha by Saya Pyo

Composite illustration of a da̱lwe made by Saya Pyo of Mindan Village, Yamethin District.
The blade shows the career of the patron saint of Burman smiths, Maung Tin De.

 

Notes
1. E.N. Bell I.C.S.; A Monograph on Iron and Steel Work in Burma. Rangoon, Superintendent, Government Printing Burma, 1907. Page 21. And Adoniram Judson; Burmese pocket dictionary. American Baptist Mission Press, Rangoon, 1887. Page 244.
2. Adoniram Judson; A dictionary of the Burman language, with explanations in English. 1826. Page 202.
3. Robert C. Stevenson; Judsons Burmese-english Dictionary. 1893. Page 557.
4. E.N. Bell I.C.S.; A Monograph on Iron and Steel Work in Burma. Rangoon, Superintendent, Government Printing Burma, 1907. Page 21.

 

Historical mentions

"On arrival at the poonghee-house, he jumped off his pony and rushed into the house, to find himself confronted by four Burmese fully armed with their formidable dalwels, or fighting swords nasty two handed weapons with a blade about two feet long and as sharp as razors." 1

-Colonel Fitz William Thomas Pollok, 1879

 

"He merely laughed at them, retreated to a bamboo clump, cut down a bamboo, pointed one end, and then holding out his dalwey, or fighting sword, said,

"“Here is a sword for one and a spear for the other - try and 
take me.”"
2

-Colonel Fitz William Thomas Pollok, 1879

 

 

"He merely laughed at them, retreated to a bamboo clump, cut down a bamboo, pointed one end, and then holding out his dalwey, or fighting sword, said,

"“Here is a sword for one and a spear for the other - try and 
take me.”"
3

-Colonel Fitz William Thomas Pollok, 1879

 

"Another artistic development has its home in Mindan Village, Yamethin District, where every household depends mote or less on its smithy, though there are only a few professors of the particular art to be described, which consists of an inlay of silver wire upon an iron surface. The usual articles produced are ornamental dalwes or da-hmyaungs." 4

-E.N. Bell I.C.S., 1907

 

"Supposing that a dalwe is to be made, a sufficient supply of raw metal is first forged into a blade: then the central space which is to be ornamented is into a minute criss-cross with a small cold chisel, sut, this cold chisel is of superior metal, preferably an English file cut up." 5

-E.N. Bell I.C.S., 1907

 

"Of weapons pure and simple the list is small: the spear and da have figured above: among das daIwe and the hnget-kyi-daung da were more of the nature of accessories to full uniform." 6

-E.N. Bell I.C.S., 1907

 

"If the wife deserts her husband her sureties have to find him another wife. If she commits adultery she forfeits the whole of her property to her husband and has also to give two gongs, a bullock, a brass dish, a dha-lway or sword and a piece of blue cloth." 7

-British Burma Gazetteer Vol. 2. 1879

 

"In the afternoon we went out on foot and wounded a stag thamine; and I ran after it, and with a Burmese fighting dhaw or dal-way, cut his neck nearly through with a single blow; I had no idea such a fear-ful blow could be struck with such a weapon." 8

-Colonel Fitz William Thomas Pollok, 1879

 

Notes on historical mentions
1. Colonel Fitz William Thomas Pollok; Sport in British Burmah, Assam, and the Cassyah and Jyntiah hills. Chapman and Hall, London. 1879. Volume 1. Page 51.
2. Colonel Fitz William Thomas Pollok; Sport in British Burmah, Assam, and the Cassyah and Jyntiah hills. Chapman and Hall, London. 1879. Volume 2. Page 18.
3. Colonel Fitz William Thomas Pollok; Sport in British Burmah, Assam, and the Cassyah and Jyntiah hills. Chapman and Hall, London. 1879. Volume 2. Page 18.

4. E.N. Bell I.C.S.; A Monograph on Iron and Steel Work in Burma. Rangoon, Superintendent, Government Printing Burma, 1907.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Compiled by Authority; The British Burma Gazetteer. The Government Press, Rangoon. 1879. Vol 2. Page 264.
8. Colonel Fitz William Thomas Pollok; Sport in British Burmah, Assam, and the Cassyah and Jyntiah hills. Chapman and Hall, London. 1879. Volume 1. Page 176.

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