Place of Origin: Thailand
Date: Early-to-Mid 19th Century
This sword, or dha (correctly termed a dah shay), dates to the 19th century. Its long, cylindrical hilt is carved from elephant ivory to depict a dragon of similar style to that of Item 10 of this catalogue. The dragon is finely detailed, the ivory having attained that milky yellow patina that comes from decades of handling. The creature’s tongue and teeth are visible within a mouth that snarls below drilled nostrils of the curled snout above. The scaled body fits into a long silver collar that joins the handle to a lengthy, straight blade covered in an intriguing and highly unusual pattern—presumably meant to represent an aesthetic continuation of the dragon’s scales. The scabbard is unfortunately missing.
Despite there being two examples of dha with dragon hilts within this single catalogue it is actually highly unusual to encounter this form and even the most accomplished dha collections do not contain examples.
Provenance: European art market