Enquiry about object: 5412
Three Shan Burmese Silver Mounted Knives (Dha Hmyaung)
Shan People, Eastern States 19th century
lengths: 22cm, 19.8cm, 17.7cm
UK art market
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Each of these short knives (dha hmyaung) is from the Shan people of eastern Burma. Each is particularly fine and with excellent patina.
Such small knives would have served a multitude of uses. One likely use would have been to slice betel nuts for use in the betel quid, a mild social narcotic that was chewed.
All are decorated with varying forms of applied silver wire work. Two have grips on the hilts that are partly or fully encased in the finest wound wire. One has a bulbous, lotus-bud pommel.
Each has a single edged steel blade which has a fine, sharp point.
Each of these short knives has obvious age and an excellent colour. Losses to the applied wire work is minimal. Two have mid sections wound in cord and these are original to the knives.
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.