An attractive and scarce Dha sword from North Vietnam. This style of ‘dha’ sword is prevalant throughout South east Asia, primarily Burma and Thailand, and the surrounding regions of what is now Cambodia previously Khmer, and Laos. This particular sword, known as a ‘kiem’ shows a curious mixture of regional influences, the rounded guard with piercings has Japanese and Chinese features, the bronze blade mount is typically Chinese in style.
The long tubular hilt or handle is of brass embossed with designs of lotus and other flowers, having silver bands at intervals. The guard is finely decorated with punching and engraving to the blade side. The steel blade is of good quality, there is scattered light pitting to areas, although the deeply chiselled patterns to the upper blade or forte, and nearer the tip are typically Vietnamese in style and are clearly visible with various motifs. There is a fuller chiselled to each side for strength and the back ‘spine’ of the blade is thick and stout, this is an authentic fighting sword and not just a showpiece.
The sword has its original scabbard of almost black wood, original corded sash attachments, and brass bead-ornamented bands along its length ( one missing). The whole piece retains a very pleasing dark patina and has clearly been used and handled for a long time. Similar swords in the Hanoi Museum of Ethnology place the sword among the Muong tribal group of North-East Vietnam, although these may be adoptions to the culture rather than the actual origin of the sword. Field collected from Northern Vietnam 2011. 31.5 inches long overall. the blade 21.5 inches. southern asia, south east asia, dha, burmese, katana, thai, daarb, far east