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What is the Kachin Dao headhunting blade from Forged in Fire?

Burmese man with spear and dao
A tribal man near the Burmese border with China holds a spear and dao

This week on Forged in Fire, two smiths have only a few days to forge a Burmese Kachin Dao.

Dao or doh is just the Burmese word for sword and the Kachin people of Burma are hardy hill people who live in the northern area of the country.

Bordering China, India and the troubled Burmese state of Shan the people in this area have had good reason to ensure they were armed with a practical and simple weapon. They also used to raid neighbouring tribes to collect heads and used their extremely sharp weapons for this grisly purpose.

The blade is typically single-edged and has that steel blade that widens out towards the squared off point. The pommel can be made of anything from bone through to brass and the scabbard is usually some form of rattan work. The design means the blade is used more for hacking and cutting than stabbing, often smaller versions were sued for everyday domestic purposes.

Also on this episode some steel salvaged from some old nautical equipment has to be used to create the contestants signature blade.

Forged in Fire airs on Tuesdays at 9:00 PM on History Channel.

James has worked for Monsters and Critics since it started back in 2003. He oversees the business and technical side of things. You can contact... read more
James Wray

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