Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 2nd August 2021, 12:37 PM   #1
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Olomouc
Posts: 1,659
Default A heavy fighting Laos daab

A recent acquisition some might enjoy seeing. This is a heavy fighting sword from either Laos (the hilt type is often associated with the general Vientiane region) or just across the border in Thailand.

This is a heavy duty blade with a very thick spine of around 12mm at the base of the spine. Its also a heavy sword a typical long shan dha I have is 491g while this is 915g. The weight is of course in part due to the brass fittings, but also due to the amount of resin inside, the pommel has some damage (likely a weak spot in the original lost wax casting) which is a shame but it allows us to see the construction method and it still displays nicely from one side. The overall impression this sword gives is of something extremely balanced but much "heavier" than most daab/dha.

The grip likely originally had lacquered wire, but I have a feeling this was remove with some regularity by European collectors as it deteriorated.

Finally, I'm showing it with a small daab of the same hilt type I showed in a previous thread. They are a nicely matched pair and of a similar age.
Attached Images
       
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2021, 01:05 AM   #2
Ren Ren
Member
 
Ren Ren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Russia, Moscow
Posts: 247
Default

Congratulations, Iain! This is a truly excellent item! And he makes a fine pair with a small sword.
Ren Ren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2021, 11:26 AM   #3
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,145
Default

May I ask you about the similar age.
Are they 19th or 20th c?
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2021, 01:48 PM   #4
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Olomouc
Posts: 1,659
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur View Post
May I ask you about the similar age.
Are they 19th or 20th c?
Hi Kubur, you might have missed this previous thread on the small example: http://vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=27120

I would place both to the 18th century actually. Particularly the larger sword that is the subject of this thread. This is a fascinating period surrounding the Qing campaigns against the Burmese and the fall of Ayutthaya (1767) as well as later in the period the establishment of the current Thai monarchy with the Rattanakosin kingdom (1782).

The sword in this case shows wear to the blade as well as the brass components consistent with this age, the construction is also of a form known to be used at that time through the so called Lanna revival period.

I'm attaching a map showing the region circa 1750, after the division of Lan Xang into Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Champasak.
Attached Images
 
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2021, 03:49 PM   #5
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,145
Default

Thank you, it is extremely interesting and so rare to see 18th c. ethno swords.
The guard looks like the helmets from the region, I think.

I have a dha that I should post, not very old, I would say 1920-30ties but extremely well made, with the name of the town on it: Bassein (Pathein).
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2021, 03:53 PM   #6
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Olomouc
Posts: 1,659
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur View Post
Thank you, it is extremely interesting and so rare to see 18th c. ethno swords.
The guard looks like the helmets from the region, I think.

I have a dha that I should post, not very old, I would say 1920-30ties but extremely well made, with the name of the town on it: Bassein (Pathein).
Dating these swords is always tricky, compared to say European weapons, could be a little later, could be a little earlier but I think generally mid to late 18th century is safe.

Please do post yours! Always enjoy seeing more southern Burmese swords, many of the examples we normally see are northern and Shan.
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2021, 06:39 PM   #7
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,344
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain View Post
Dating these swords is always tricky, compared to say European weapons, could be a little later, could be a little earlier but I think generally mid to late 18th century is safe.

Please do post yours! Always enjoy seeing more southern Burmese swords, many of the examples we normally see are northern and Shan.
Hi Iain,
Another very nice Lao daab. I agree with your dating to 18th C. Appears to have seen some use judging from the wear on the hilt. Nice to have an example of its little brother as well. The smaller ones often came in pairs worn in crossed scabbards on the back.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2021, 08:06 PM   #8
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Olomouc
Posts: 1,659
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Hi Iain,
Another very nice Lao daab. I agree with your dating to 18th C. Appears to have seen some use judging from the wear on the hilt. Nice to have an example of its little brother as well. The smaller ones often came in pairs worn in crossed scabbards on the back.
Glad you like it Ian and we continue to agree on dating is always encouraging. Yes, the little one really is an odd anomaly between a sword and a knife.

The big one, perhaps the most impressive thing for me is the spine thickness, this image hopefully shows it well, the other sword is a 105cm shan dha, so not exactly small either!
Attached Images
 
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th August 2021, 09:25 AM   #9
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,344
Default

Yep. Definitely a meaty beast.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th August 2021, 11:53 AM   #10
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Olomouc
Posts: 1,659
Default

It's perhaps worth showing as well the pommel with its 'flaw' as some members might not be familiar with the way in which daab are constructed when there is a hilt of this type.

The hilt is cast using the 'lost wax' casting method, quite often the metal used in Laos or Thailand was a mix and not just brass and can also include gold, known as samrit. Resin or ki’tai in Thai, made from the gluta usitata tree, is used not only to secure the blade to the hilt, but also to attach elements like the pommel. You can see in this case the entire pommel was filled with the resin. There was likely a flaw in the casting on this piece that was then probably aggravated by expansion from humidity in the hilt. But it does at least let us see the "guts" of the sword.
Attached Images
 
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th August 2021, 12:13 AM   #11
Ren Ren
Member
 
Ren Ren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Russia, Moscow
Posts: 247
Default

Thank you very much for the photo and for the information on the resin of Gluta usitata tree! Of course, such cases of damage reduce the collectible value of items, but they provide knowledge that is so often lacking.
Ren Ren is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 10:04 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.