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Silver-Encased Dagger (Dha Hmyaung) with Ivory Hilt

Shan people, Burma
19th century

length: 41cm, weight: 264g



UK art market

This short sword has a fine condition and a superb patina. It is from the Shan people of eastern Burma. The scabbard is of wood encased in near-pure hammered sheet silver decorated with applied silver filigree in bands and in swirled geometric motifs. The chape is unadorned and flares slightly at its end. The single-edged, curved steel blade fits snugly into the scabbard.

The handle comprises a short segment of silver decorated with further silver filigree bands and a short piece of unadorned ivory.

The ivory, like the silver, has a wonderful varying honeyed patina suggesting significant age and use. Overall, this is a fine example of a dha hmyaung short sword or dagger. There are minor losses to the applied filigree bands on the scabbard but this is to be expected.

The scabbard retains its original cotton twisted rope used to attach the dagger to the wearer’s waist.


Fraser-Lu, S., Burmese Crafts: Past and Present, Oxford University Press, 1994.

Lewis, P. & E., Peoples of the Golden Triangle: Six Tribes in Thailand, Thames & Hudson, 1984.

Lowry, J., Burmese Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1974.

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