In excavated condition, with copper alloy hilt.
Sheathed 88.5 cm
Sword 87.5 cm
Base 8.5 mm
Middle 5.5 mm
5 cm from tip 4.5 mm
Narrowest at base 27 mm
Widest towards tip 34 mm
14 cm from hilt
Iron, steel, wood, silver, resin, copper alloys, white metal
Mindan village, Yamethin district
Late 19th century
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Silver overlaid dha made in Mindan village, south of Mandalay, gained fame in the 19th century.
"Another artistic development has its home in Mindan Village, Yamethin District, where every household depends more 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, scissors, ..."
A Monograph on Iron and Steel Work in Burma
Rangoon, Superintendent, Government Printing Burma, 1907
A fine Mindan dalwe, being a large dha meant to be worn slung. Its blade of typical form, gently widening towards the tip and with a flat spine and long back bevel. The center panel of the blade is slightly hollow ground, scored to receive the silver overlay and then blackened for contrast.
The all silver covered hilt has a center section with figures among foliage contrasting behind a copper background. The pommel was damaged, its back plate was recently replaced by a silversmith, a practically invisible restoration.
The scabbard, like most Mindan dha scabbards, is not much to look at; they were probably not made by the same makers that made the swords. Covered with 8 segments of white metal, probably a very low grade silver alloy. Between each segment are bands of copper alloy and silver wire. The whole is very strong and would make a good left-hand defensive implement, which is what some people think they were meant to be.
Story on blade
The story on this dha blade is that of the Yama Zatdaw, Burma's national epic that is based on the Indian Ramayana. It tells the story of Rama's wife Sita being abducted by the evil king Ravana. Rama and his brother set out to save her.
"Illustrated Yama zatdaw"
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With silver overlay on iron even continued on its hilt.
Fine silver overlaid dha made in Mindan village, south of Mandalay, gained fame in the 19th century.
One of the rarest forms of dha, with a hilt and scabbard carved like a bird.
The thick and heavy blade is marked with a script that has yet to be identified.
Of a type likely produced by the Shan people and traded widely in the region.