A very rare ceremonial variety with copper scabbard inlaid with different alloys, and a brass blade.
Sheathed 90 cm
Sword 81.5 cm
Base 4.7 mm
Middle 3.8 mm
Tip 3.6 mm
Base 24 mm
Widest 28 mm
1 cm from guard
Steel, silver, copper, wood, resin
French antique art market
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An interesting Southeast Asian dha sword. The blade gently widens in profile until the tip where the edge arcs upward and then again forwards to form a sharp, beak-like point.
(It is perhaps entirely coincidental, but another sword that has a point like this is the telögu from Nias. The back of the sword has a very high, peaked spine, which is, again, possibly coincidental, reminiscent of some Sundanese blades from West Java.)
Hilt & scabbard
Unusual for a dha, it has a full-tang construction that is peened over at the pommel. A Vietnamese design feature that is more common on the more Chinese styles weapons of this culture.
The mounts are of silver of a very high purity, embossed in fairly high relief with typical Vietnamese designs, including dragons. The hilt is entirely encased in a series of silver tubes, with lotus bud pommel. It has a large, thickened ferrule that sits against a copper guard. This guard is of four-lobed form with a silver rim. It has silver inlays of flowers on the blade side.
The hardwood scabbard has silver mouth- and endpieces in the same Vietnamese style.
While the workmanship appears to be entirely Vietnamese, the overall style especially of the hilt mimics that of ancient swords once used in the general region, from Vietnam to Thailand. By the 19th century, only some people in Laos still used the style especially in the region of Attapeu.
This piece may have been made to commemorate an earlier period, like some Heian period Tachi were still made in late Edo period Japan. Or, it may have been meant as a diplomatic gift or luxury item.
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