A silver-mounted dha lwe sword




Myanmar (Burma)


19th century


Forging, casting, chiseling, chasing, piercing, damascening, blackening


Steel, silver


Overall length (without scabbard) 885 mm; blade length 633 mm; scabbard length 706 mm

The slightly curved, single-edged blade is made of plain steel. Both sides of the blade are decorated in silver koftgari with foliage, flower heads, various mythological characters and animals against a blackened ground. The silver cylindrical hilt on each side is skillfully pierced with a lobed cartouche containing a vegetal scroll design called maw pan. The rest of the hilt surface is engraved with a similar design. The pommel is shaped like a lotus bud. The silver scabbard consists of eight sections, each with a pair of similar-shaped lobed cartouches between the chased maw-pan bands. Each of the sixteen cartouches contains a bas-relief depiction of an individual character or a scene from Buddhist and Hindu mythology upon a pierced foliate background.

COMMENT. Dha lwe is the traditional Burmese long sword similar to a sabre. The moderately curved, single-edged blade commonly widens gradually towards the tip to increase its cutting power. The straight or slightly curved hilt is almost always of a round cross section, but it varies greatly in length reaching sometimes the length of the blade. However, the dha lwe is primarily a one-handed sword. There is generally no guard, although the hilt often flared towards the blade into a pseudo-guard. This type of sword was widespread in Mainland Southeast Asia, especially in Burma (now Myanmar) and Thailand, which caused considerable local variations in both its style and design. The Thai version of the sword, known as daab (or daarb, dard dharb), may have a guard similar to the Japanese tsuba. The word "dha" (or "dah", "dhaw") simply means "blade" in Burmese. In Western literature, this term is applied both to single-edged swords and to knives of various lengths that are traditional for Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.

LITERATURE: 1) Сіваченко Є. Холодна зброя Сходу з колекції Олександра Фельдмана: [фотоальбом]. – Харків, 2009. – С. 41; 2) Hales, R. Islamic and Oriental Arms and Armour: A Lifetime’s Passion. – London, 2013. – P. 200, no. 484; 3) Сиваченко Е. Сталь и Золото: Восточное оружие из собрания Feldman Family Museum = Steel and Gold: Eastern Weapons from the Feldman Family Museum Collection. – Киев, 2019. – С. 614-615, №262.