Burma image, WA0226. Photograph taken by James Henry Green in Kachin Land, Burma (Myanmar). It was taken in the 1920s.
Many of these soldiers are holding swords or ?dah? (in Burmese). These swords are of Shan style but they were typical of those which soldiers recruited from northern Shan State would carry. The ?traditional? Kachin sword was in fact broad-bladed and flat ended and was called ?nhtu?. Major C. M. Enriquez, one of Green?s contemporaries in Burma, wrote as follows on the subject in his book ?A Burmese Arcady?:
*****Kachins in the army still carry the dah in uniform. In Mesopotamia [where Kachin troops fought in 1918], though Dahs were scarce and hard to replace, yet those of deceased men were always sent back to Burma, in order that certain rites might be performed in connection with them at the funeral ceremonies held in the men?s homes. The final ceremony of dismissing the spirit does not take place till a year or six months after death. At the time of actual burial a trench is dug round the grave but a gangway is left which is finally dug at the dismissal ceremony, provided no cause for feud remains. It is for the final rite that the dahs and haversacks of deceased soldiers are sent to their homes. When the last ceremonies are completed, the dahs and haversacks, which are the most intimate possessions of all Kachins, are either taken home, or left hanging in the forest? [London, 1923:106-107]