Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Mysterious sword (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=25540)

Albert 9th January 2020 07:13 PM

Mysterious sword
 
4 Attachment(s)
A while ago I added this item to my collection

Unfortunately, I cannot pinpoint the exact origin.

Can anybody help?

francantolin 9th January 2020 07:49 PM

Hello Albert.

These small swords are called golok or parang , they come from Malaysia or Philippines.
Handle seems made of Horn and silver fittings ! Really nice !

Specialists on the forum can give you more details

Albert 9th January 2020 08:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by francantolin
Hello Albert.

These small swords are called golok or parang , they come from Malaysia or Philippines.
Handle seems made of Horn and silver fittings ! Really nice !

Specialists on the forum can give you more details



Thank you Francantolin.
Do you have examples of 'lookalikes'?

Ian 9th January 2020 11:23 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Hello again Albert:

Good to see you back again with such an interesting sword. What speaks to me loudest about your sword and scabbard is the silver work. This looks very much mainland SE Asia to me. The heavy silver mounts on the hilt and throat/chape of the scabbard look like Shan work, with the use of twisted wire and curlicues (spirals, etc.). The manner in which the chape ends, with a flat toe slightly raised on the edges is also common to Shan work, as is the use of multiple silver bands spaced along the wooden sheath. That's high quality work on your example. I would not be surprised of the silver work post-dated the blade and hilt.

Whether one calls this a golok or klewang is somewhat moot I think, although the blade is short for a klewang it is the right shape. The hilt has some similarity to hulu iku ite in your book, and might suggest a Sumatran origin. The prominent and sharp down-turn of the hilt might suggest a Sulawesi origin too. My best guess is a Sumatran klewang with later "foreign" silver work added for prestige. However, you literally wrote the book on these swords and I definitely defer to your judgement.

Attached are pictures of a silver-wrapped dha and scabbard showing typical Shan silver work. Note the prominent use of silver wire and the ornamental motifs.

Thanks for showing this sword and I look forward to hearing the thoughts of others.

Ian


.

Rick 10th January 2020 02:15 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is 'wire and button' decoration on the ferrule bands of a Philippine spear.

Ian 10th January 2020 12:27 PM

Good point Rick. Similar decorations to what you show are seen on the hilts of some 20th C gunong and Mindanao kris.

Sajen 11th January 2020 11:32 AM

Hello Albert,

Very, very interesting sword! :eek: While hilt and blade let me direct think it's Sulawesi work I am more as confused by the silver fittings so I understand Ian's suggestion. :shrug: Maybe really an antique marriage? :shrug:

Regards,
Detlef

Albert 11th January 2020 08:29 PM

Additional information?
 
Thank you all for your comment.
I hope others can give some additioal information to solve the mystery.

Kubur 11th January 2020 10:23 PM

I'm not an expert in this kind of sword...
But this silver wire work is called filigree and very common in many parts of the world.

CharlesS 12th January 2020 07:51 PM

I tend to agree with the above comments. I am fairly certain the fittings are much younger than the rest of the nice sword.

Ian 12th January 2020 11:58 PM

Another thought ...
 
Might it be that this sword took a trip with its owner on a pilgrimage, say on The Haj, and had the silver work performed in the Middle East. In that case, perhaps Ibrahiim might recognize the style of silver decoration and be able to help.


Ian

Paul B. 14th January 2020 04:59 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Here is a fairly similar silver decoration at the neck of a badik but this one looks much older. It comes from a recent auction.

Checked my collection and there is a keris dress with the same workmanship (anyway not silver). Later addition.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 14th January 2020 06:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Might it be that this sword took a trip with its owner on a pilgrimage, say on The Haj, and had the silver work performed in the Middle East. In that case, perhaps Ibrahiim might recognize the style of silver decoration and be able to help.


Ian



I see no similarities except in perhaps about 1%/2% of the work to anything vaguely Omani or Arabian thus I suggest it is purely local and true to form for its region.

Albert 14th January 2020 08:17 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul B.
Here is a fairly similar silver decoration at the neck of a badik but this one looks much older. It comes from a recent auction.

Checked my collection and there is a keris dress with the same workmanship (anyway not silver). Later addition.


Especially the decoration of the badik is very similar.
From where is the badik?

A. G. Maisey 14th January 2020 10:39 PM

The badik hilt form seems to be associated by many people with the North Coast of Jawa, but the scabbard for these supposedly North Coast badik differs from Paul's, and they all seem to have various blades, most of the blades I've seen in ones attributed to North Coast have been re-purposed blades from keris and pedangs. I have also seen blades similar to Paul's blade mounted as keris in East Jawa.

My guess would be that Paul's is perhaps an old, but legitimate marriage, and all the components come from different places.

This type of silver work can be found originating from Surabaya, as well as other places in Jawa. I feel it is pretty well spread throughout SE Asia.

Athanase 15th January 2020 02:45 PM

Hello,

For me the silver parts are younger. For the origin I think Sulawesi or Java (the mouth of the scabbard with the little hook is in Javanese style).

Battara 15th January 2020 03:52 PM

If this were old, then there would be black or dark patina in the crevices. So I also conclude that this is newer work. Nice work, but newer work.

Albert 15th January 2020 06:59 PM

Sumatra?
 
1 Attachment(s)
I just found this photograph of the top end of a hilt (not mine unfortunately).
The hilt is of a North Sumatran sewar.
It also has clear resemblences. :)

Albert 15th January 2020 07:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
If this were old, then there would be black or dark patina in the crevices. So I also conclude that this is newer work. Nice work, but newer work.


I put much effort in cleaning the totally black silver.
Maybe too much?

Kubur 16th January 2020 05:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
I see no similarities except in perhaps about 1%/2% of the work to anything vaguely Omani or Arabian thus I suggest it is purely local and true to form for its region.


Yes filigree is not only Arab or Jew, you have filigree all over the world.
This filigree is South-East Asian.

DaveA 16th January 2020 08:07 PM

Pedang palembang from Sumatra
 
2 Attachment(s)
I concur with the earlier comments regarding the filigree: Burma.

Regarding the hilt, compare it with this one in my collection. The sword originates from a Dutch colonial collection. I acquired it from a well-known collector who specializes in this region.

The blade is pattern-welded with a nice linear pamor. A single fuller extends along the spine of the blade until the blade narrows towards the tip. The blade is 6.7mm thick at the base with a length of 585mm.

The hilt features silver work (no filigree) with a small bit of damage on the left side. The horn pommel is interpreted as a stylized clenched fist. This is a rare but not unknown motif from the eastern side of Sumatra. Alternatively, it may also be a stylized hulu iku ite.

The overall length (OAL) is 735mm. The sword is heavy in comparison with other pedangs, weighing 727g (1 lb 9.6 oz)

Ian 19th January 2020 12:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert
I just found this photograph of the top end of a hilt (not mine unfortunately).
The hilt is of a North Sumatran sewar.
It also has clear resemblences. :)
Albert, it seems as though the responses are mainly coalescing around a N. Sumatra origin for this interesting sword. From what you show on the siwar hilt, your sword could be all local N. Sumatran work. The sword shown by DaveA (another nice sword BTW) would also seem to support that idea.

Ian.

kai 19th January 2020 12:07 PM

Hello Albert,

I'd like to see more closeups of the blade (even if it is rather plain) and both sides of the hilt. Dimensions would be good to have, especially width and thickness of the blade!

From the short gripping area as well as the strongly down-curving pommel, I'd be inclined to believe it comes from Sulawesi; the fairly wide blade is not really typical though. Is it from mono steel?

Another option could be the Banjar/Negara melting pot with pretty down-curving pommels (apparently based on Sulawesi styles, anyway). I haven't seen any carved like this though.

The Sumatran hulu iku ite does not turn down that much.

The scabbard is certainly weird. I believe that the silver is a later colonial replacement, probably done on Java (Sunda or workshops around Yogyakarta have been doing silverwork for other regions for quite some time); it is possible that the silversmith was second-guessing at Sumatra, too.

Regards,
Kai

Albert 29th January 2020 11:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Hello Albert,

I'd like to see more closeups of the blade (even if it is rather plain) and both sides of the hilt. Dimensions would be good to have, especially width and thickness of the blade!

From the short gripping area as well as the strongly down-curving pommel, I'd be inclined to believe it comes from Sulawesi; the fairly wide blade is not really typical though. Is it from mono steel?

Another option could be the Banjar/Negara melting pot with pretty down-curving pommels (apparently based on Sulawesi styles, anyway). I haven't seen any carved like this though.

The Sumatran hulu iku ite does not turn down that much.

The scabbard is certainly weird. I believe that the silver is a later colonial replacement, probably done on Java (Sunda or workshops around Yogyakarta have been doing silverwork for other regions for quite some time); it is possible that the silversmith was second-guessing at Sumatra, too.

Regards,
Kai


Total length in scabbard: 69.5 cm
Length blade: 50.5 cm
Width blade: 40 - 42 mm
Thickness blade (near the hilt): 6 mm

More photos will follow.

Battara 29th January 2020 05:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert
I put much effort in cleaning the totally black silver.
Maybe too much?

Yes a little. A little patina can accentuate the filigree work as well as keep the signature of age and dating.

Robert 30th January 2020 08:13 AM

Quote:
Yes a little. A little patina can accentuate the filigree work as well as keep the signature of age and dating.


I agree with this with the exception of dating. Oxidizing the background silver most definitely accentuates the filigree itself and helps showcase the intricacy of that work. On the other hand, with a bit of work it is way to easy through the use of chemicals to reproduce what has now been removed by a bit of overcleaning. My personal opinion is that using oxidation as a basis for dating is not a good practice. There are those out there (and most likely a few here in the forum) that are good enough at this procedure who can make a piece like this look as old as they would like. The best of these can even fool the experts. I have been told many times (and believe) that the only true way of trying to place an accurate date on anything is the knowledge obtained from years of hands on experience. JMHO.

Best,
Robert

Albert 30th January 2020 07:45 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Here are some additional photo's.
I hope, it gives extra information to pinpoint this sword.

kai 30th January 2020 09:11 PM

Hello Albert,

Quote:
Total length in scabbard: 69.5 cm
Length blade: 50.5 cm
Width blade: 40 - 42 mm
Thickness blade (near the hilt): 6 mm

Thanks for the data/pics!

That's a longer and wider blade than expected (by me); a bit on the thin side though. The blade might be laminated - difficult to verify due to the corrosion; I can't make out any pamor which could have helped to narrow down the origin.

Can you make out any differences in silver quality between the ferrule (with the ellipsoid motif) vs any other parts (especially with filigree and possibly also the cap of the hilt at the base of the blade?

I'd be inclined to stick with my vote for Sulawesi (pommel and possibly blade); my guess would be that (most of) the silver work is modern though.

Regards,
Kai

Albert 1st February 2020 11:22 AM

Thank you all for your valuable input!

Ian 3rd February 2020 12:08 PM

Albert, did you reach a final conclusion?


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