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Battle Scars

 October 9, 2023    Asian Arms

I have a tendency to sometimes buy swords that might turn off most collectors due to issues with condition. This could be a piece that requires extensive cleaning or stablisation, or, in the case of this piece, damage which for some might make the perceived value much lower. This particular sword has a hole in the pommel, likely due to a weakness in the original lost wax casting, which was further exploited by factors like humidity expending organic materials within the hilt. Despite this there were several factors that led me to purchase the sword.

The sword is of a type that is not particularly common, from Laos or northern Thailand, from the area around Vientiane it is also quite old in relative terms for a daab, likely dating from 18th century. This is a heavy duty fighting sword and has obviously seen use, with wear to the handle and also signs of sharpening on the blade. All good indications the sword had an extensive working life. The blade is also particularly thick across the spine with the pronounced V-shaped spine common to this area and period.

The fittings are cast brass, although other metals may be present as composite allows are common in the region. The decorative motifs are a beautiful combination of raised and recessed elements. 

The blade is in quite good condition for the age, showing delamination and the original finish.

My point is that this sword is clearly of historical significance despite the issue with the pommel, there is little to no corrosion and crucially it displays well without the damage being visible.  

I would venture to guess that most collectors, like myself, are not actively swinging their collection around and mainly either store or display their items. In case damage that does not effect the daily display of the sword does not bother me as long as the piece is stable. I realize that many collectors may disagree and find such issues bothersome, but I would argue that the overall historical value of a piece should not be characterised by a cosmetic issue that does not effect showing the overall form, quality and history of the item.