A silver-mounted dha lwe sword




Myanmar (Burma) or North Thailand


19th century


Forging, casting, chiseling, chasing, engraving


Steel, silver, ivory


Overall length (without scabbard) 931 mm; blade length 563 mm; scabbard length 668 mm

The slightly curved blade is made of plain steel with one deep fuller along the central line and two narrow fullers along the spine on each side. The blade is one-edged for half of its length and then becomes double-edged. The slightly curved ivory hilt is skillfully carved with two transversal bands of scrolling foliage called maw pan. The silver pommel is shaped like a twisted ribbed bud. The pommel is integrated with a long upper collar of the hilt, which is skillfully chased in relief with three lobed cartouches, foliate scrolls, flower heads and five friezes of various shapes. The cartouches are decorated with bas-relief depictions of an elephant, a tiger and a sphinx or manusiha. The short lower collar of the hilt is decorated with a single flower frieze. The silver scabbard is chased in relief with fourteen lobed cartouches that are surrounded by scrolling foliage and separated by ribbed and foliate friezes. Almost all cartouches are decorated with bas-relief depictions of various mythological characters, two Buddhist stupas, and one cartouche features the engraved inscription. The scabbard is fitted with two suspension rings.

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: 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. 618-619, №264.