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Old 24th September 2021, 09:55 AM   #8
Iain's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Olomouc
Posts: 1,659

Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
I would be interested to hear what clues may point to this area.
Hi Jeff,

There are several reasons, but I'll elaborate a little more in response to Ian's post.

Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Hi Iain,

That's a very lovely and interesting sword. It is obviously influenced by Japanese style but it is, primarily, a very big dha/daab. The hilt with its plain thread-wrapped grip covered with black resin, and the scabbard similarly covered with black resin, point to this being a weapon and not a sword for display or ceremonial purposes. Such large swords were typically wielded by powerful warriors in the vanguard of an attack, cutting down man and beast.

What gives this sword a Japanese flavor is the habaki-like structure at the base of a pierced circular guard (tsuba). It is possible to find similar Japanese influence in swords of Thailand and Vietnam, but I'm less certain about Cambodia, Laos, or Burma.

As you point out, there has been a Japanese presence in Thailand for many centuries, including the employment of Japanese mercenaries. I had a Thai student 40 years ago whose family had been powerful landowners in Thailand for centuries. He told me that his great-great-grandfather employed two Japanese warriors as bodyguards in the mid-19th C.

Given the longstanding links to Japanese martial ways, I think Thailand is the most likely source for your sword, although Vietnam is certainly a possibility. Philip Tom could probably provide more information regarding Vietnam and Japanese influence.

I think your sword is quite old, and probably from the 18th C. Hard to date these, as we have discussed before.
Hi Ian, the Thai examples are a little different, mine uses a two part wooden hilt, similar to Japanese construction methods, this is also seen in how the scabbard is constructed with a pin at the tip and 'nub' for the cord binding to hold it. Most Thai examples I've seen that are similar also lack the seppa on both sides of the guard or they are integrated with the tsuba.

The tsuba style itself is a fairly generic pattern that I have seen across both Thai and Viet swords so that sadly tells us very little. Cambodian swords are difficult to research but a friend did manage to find the attached illustration. I have also seen similar reproductions from modern smiths there.

None of that is of course conclusive and it could still be Thai, but I wouldn't lean that direction for an identification.

Regarding age, always hard to estimate but it is comparable to other swords of that period I own that I am more sure about the dating.
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