About this object

Although previously described as a Bhutanese sword, this is a Burmese dha. A curved sword with a long two-handed hilt and heavy silver lotus pommel. The grip is bound with plaited reeds and finely engraved silver plates. The wooden sheath is fitted with silver mounts, that include several brackets, a central interlocking diamond motif and possibly abstract cloud designs, again all very finely engraved with Chinese motifs such as shou symbols of longevity, bats (for good luck), butterflies, fans and possibly a kilin, a mythical creature walking amongst plants and flowers, on the base plate.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Weapon
  • Culture
    Burmese
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Asia: South Eastern Asia: Burma
  • Date made
    19th Century
  • Materials
    Iron; Silver; Wood; Fibre Rattan
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    From the Collection of Sir Charles Bell
  • Collector
    Charles Alfred Bell
  • Place collected
    Not recorded
  • Date collected
    1900 - 1945
  • Measurements
    50 mm x 30 mm x 975 mm; 1 15/16 in x 1 3/16 in x 38 3/8 in
  • Note
    Curator's note: Not recorded in the List of Curios. It may have been presented to Bell in Bhutan, as this is likely to have been a ceremonial gift from Burma to Bhutan, and thus passed on as a gift to a third party as was the custom (there is a note that it was a gift of the Maharaja of Bhutan, but this is not yet confirmed).
    The elaborate silver plates are pinned to the wood differently from the plainer silver brackets and could therefore have been added later, possibly in Bhutan.

    Written by Emma Martin
  • Related people
    Charles Alfred Bell (Collector)

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Publications

  • Tibet: Catalogue of Exhibits

    Tankard, Elaine

    Author: Tankard, Elaine
    Publisher: Liverpool Public Museums
    Date: 1953-03
    Description: Introductory essay and catalogue entries, in themes, for the 1953 exhibition; 'Tibet', held at the Walker Art Gallery.

Object view = Humanities
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