Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Crowns on Aceh weapons revisited (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12406)

erikscollectables 22nd August 2010 11:47 AM

Crowns on Aceh weapons revisited
 
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Dear all,

My main interest is in North Sumatran weapons of State / Status. These weapons in Aceh often have crowns.

The website of John T. Crosby about the Peudeung has an interesting photo with a lot of crowns: http://home.comcast.net/~jtcrosby/Aceh.html Recently I found out that these came from the collection of a forum member: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=atjeh
and that I actually own two of the pieces that are shown in the photo!

For me a reason to revisit the theme of crowns and ask you to share you variation on Aceh crowns on sikin/rencong!

Here is a start with my rencong with crowns. Will try to make a picture later on including the sikins and maybe some items from the collection of a friend.

Regards, Erik

Maurice 22nd August 2010 02:48 PM

Variations?? :-))
 
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Hi Erik,

I guess it will be hard to place different variations, because you must almost have all of the variations by now...
I can "only" put an image of my rentjong with three golden crowns and nice laminated blade, which seem not to be that rare when looking at your image...:D

erikscollectables 22nd August 2010 04:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice
Hi Erik,
which seem not to be that rare when looking at your image...:D


Hihi - as I do not have any without crowns you would almost think so....

The question is how rare they are. I would guess that orignally only about 1 in a 100 rencong would have had golden triple crowns - maybe less. The story still is that adat prescribed these golden crowns to be worn by nobility and local leadership (panglima's etc).

Maurice 22nd August 2010 05:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikscollectables
Hihi - as I do not have any without crowns you would almost think so....


Let's say what Ben (Dajak) had with the very rare "pakayuns", you have with Atjeh "golden crowns".
So many of those rare items in quantity and also in quality, that it will look for "non-collectors" like they are not rare..

erikscollectables 22nd August 2010 06:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice
Hi Erik,

I can "only" put an image of my rentjong with three golden crowns and nice laminated blade,


There are certainly more variations. My hypothesis is that yours and mine in the center are the older types - somewhere between 1850 and 1880 or so. Nothing to back it up but the looks of these are always older - and very ready for "business" and most ofen they also have some battle scars (mine sure has them...)

Regards, Erik

Maurice 22nd August 2010 06:28 PM

Also the enamel is partly gone and partly still there...(could be because of use or age?)
As I can conclude from your image, the middle of your rentjong also misses the enamel partly.

But what are the features you think they are older types?
Is it the shape of the upper crown you can find back in the deep carving of the handle?
Or are it the motifs on the golden crowns you are looking at?

erikscollectables 22nd August 2010 06:38 PM

Well made crowns but relatively simple - a bit less refined and less detailed. Enamal is more coarse, less clear in colour and indeed often missing for the bigger part - maybe they did not have the right procedure yet? And the handles are of the dark type indeed almost always with the stripe carvings. The blades are of high quality - most often laminated. The others have often relatively simple blades that look good but more for status than use in my opinion (although some clearly show signs of use as well).

Regards, Erik

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice
Also the enamel is partly gone and partly still there...(could be because of use or age?)
As I can conclude from your image, the middle of your rentjong also misses the enamel partly.

But what are the features you think they are older types?
Is it the shape of the upper crown you can find back in the deep carving of the handle?
Or are it the motifs on the golden crowns you are looking at?

Maurice 22nd August 2010 07:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikscollectables
Well made crowns but relatively simple - a bit less refined and less detailed. Enamal is more coarse, less clear in colour and indeed often missing for the bigger part - maybe they did not have the right procedure yet? And the handles are of the dark type indeed almost always with the stripe carvings. The blades are of high quality - most often laminated. The others have often relatively simple blades that look good but more for status than use in my opinion (although some clearly show signs of use as well).

Regards, Erik

Erik,

Thank you very much for your explanation.

So the sikin with three golden crowns you bought on the last keris-fair this year in Bronbeek where we did meet, could be of the same age. That one also has that kind of less detailed crowns, like the " probably older" rencongs.

But it is a fact that I was thinking often why there were pieces with almost all enamel gone, and pieces with all enamel that intact and very fine in the more refind carvings....
I did see the differences between them, but didn't think further what could be the reason. But I can imagine that age could be the factor!

Regards,
Maurice

erikscollectables 22nd August 2010 09:28 PM

Most sikins I have seen are of the less detailed type and little remaining enamal - especially those with three crowns. I have seen one with great detail and perfect enamal in a private collection but it seems to be very rare.
The 3 sikins I have are all more or less of the "simple" type and the one you mention for sure (although it also has gold inlay in the metalwork)

This might have to do that people of status (nobility and local authorities)were still allowed to wear a rencong by the end of the 19th century as it was a part of their status attire. These probably are the later types. The wearing of sikins was already prohibited by that time. According to a source high quality rencong and sikin were already a rare find by 1920 as there was little to no production so mainly heirlooms. Well this is at least my hypothesis based on the info above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice
Erik,

So the sikin with three golden crowns you bought on the last keris-fair this year in Bronbeek where we did meet, could be of the same age. That one also has that kind of less detailed crowns, like the " probably older" rencongs.

Regards,
Maurice

Battara 23rd August 2010 12:50 AM

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Don't know if this will be helpful to the discussion but here is my gold mounted sikim anyway:

erikscollectables 23rd August 2010 08:06 AM

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Very nice one Battara!

These sikins with triple crown are quite rare in my opinion - and this is what to me seems to be the early variation.

There is also a variation with double golden crowns that only does seem to exist in sikins - I have not seen a rencong yet with that type of crown.

Here pictures of my triple crown and the type of double crown I described above.

Regards, Erik

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Don't know if this will be helpful to the discussion but here is my gold mounted sikim anyway:

Battara 24th August 2010 12:09 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikscollectables
Very nice one Battara!

These sikins with triple crown are quite rare in my opinion - and this is what to me seems to be the early variation.

There is also a variation with double golden crowns that only does seem to exist in sikins - I have not seen a rencong yet with that type of crown.
Regards, Erik

Thank you Erik. You may have a point (like the one on top of my head :D ) and the triple crown may be earlier. Hard to tell since there isn't much research on it.

erikscollectables 24th August 2010 10:36 AM

Indeed there a lots of sources both old and new with descriptions of crowns but none that help place them in time or give details about the "meaning" of the different types of crowns in respect to the wearers.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Thank you Erik. You may have a point (like the one on top of my head :D ) and the triple crown may be earlier. Hard to tell since there isn't much research on it.

asomotif 25th August 2010 12:12 AM

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Quote:
There is also a variation with double golden crowns that only does seem to exist in sikins - I have not seen a rencong yet with that type of crown.


Hi Erik, this picture is of a rentjong in the Bronbeek collection.
I have no exact age, but it looks as old as any of their pieces. :shrug:

Battara 25th August 2010 03:46 AM

W :eek: W! All that gold inlay - hard stuff to carve especially into steel like that......

erikscollectables 25th August 2010 06:22 AM

This is really interesting and as stated before I have not seen anything like it ever before! Rare combination of crown/inlay and type of handle too! I go to Bronbeek quite often but cannot remember seeing this baby?


Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Hi Erik, this picture is of a rentjong in the Bronbeek collection.
I have no exact age, but it looks as old as any of their pieces. :shrug:

asomotif 25th August 2010 06:52 AM

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Quote:
I go to Bronbeek quite often but cannot remember seeing this baby?


Hi Erik, I assume they wil not have all Atjeh weapons on display.
This is another picture from this article by the former head collection of Bronbeek, Dirk Staats. (notice the Kupiah)

This rentjong with the forked handle, with the incissions and also the rare type of crown + inlays is indeed something I have not seen before.
It would be intersting to know if Bronbeek has provenance on their pieces.

erikscollectables 25th August 2010 09:49 AM

They have been rebuilding the museum for some time. It reopened with the new set up last week. Admittance will be free till October first. Will give an update here after I have there again.

In the previous set up there were hardly any Aceh weapons on display at all! And getting info about their items or getting them out of the depot was next to impossible during the last year and a half because of that rebuilding.

Will see if it is easier to get info from them now....
I have some items there on display as well (well I will have to see if they are still on display...) - they only seem to keep the basic details of the donator but nothing about the historical background is what I learned at that time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Hi Erik, I assume they wil not have all Atjeh weapons on display.
This is another picture from this article by the former head collection of Bronbeek, Dirk Staats. (notice the Kupiah)

This rentjong with the forked handle, with the incissions and also the rare type of crown + inlays is indeed something I have not seen before.
It would be intersting to know if Bronbeek has provenance on their pieces.

erikscollectables 25th August 2010 10:59 AM

Why would this type of double crown be so rare on rencong?
I have three sikins of which two have this type of double crown and one a triple crown. I have 5 rencong with crowns (first picture in this thread) and none has a double crown like that. It seems to be very rare in rencong (I had not seen one before this picture).

Any input on the reasons for this would be welcome!

My logic says that if I had a sikin witth double crown I would also wear a rencong with double crown. I'll have to look closely at old pictures to see if this is the case or not....

Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Hi Erik, I assume they wil not have all Atjeh weapons on display.
This is another picture from this article by the former head collection of Bronbeek, Dirk Staats. (notice the Kupiah)

This rentjong with the forked handle, with the incissions and also the rare type of crown + inlays is indeed something I have not seen before.
It would be intersting to know if Bronbeek has provenance on their pieces.

Maurice 26th August 2010 09:12 AM

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I think this one would be a nice addition in this thread.
It is a beautifull sikin that was in the personal collection of late Bisseling, who was a conservator of the Leiden Museum.

It is now in a friend's collection, and already a long time impossible for me to get it rid from him.;)

It has the same type of crown as discussed, but the upper crown is suassa instead of gold. This sikin has everything.
Attractive, gold, suassa, silver, ivory....you name it! :eek:

Maurice

asomotif 26th August 2010 12:19 PM

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Quote:
It has the same type of crown as discussed, but the upper crown is suassa instead of gold


Hi Maurice :)

Nice example. but the crown type with suasa is found on both sikins and rencong. (see example). Personally I like this type a lot, but technically it is much simpler, so I would assume it had also less status.
statistics is not my hobby, but my gut feeling says that this type of crown must have occured on sikins and rencong more or less in equal numbers.

The type that Erik means with the double crown made entirely from gold alloy with the elaborate carvings is a type of crown that I have seen on various sikins, but the only rencong I ever saw was in this Bronbeek article.

All together I don't think that we can get to the bottom of the meaning of the various crowns. You would need museum details not only with date of collection. but in fact also info on the rank / status of the original owner...

I am afraid that KNIL soldiers often took these weapons at a monent when they where not able to ask the former owner about their status. Not the prettyest time in our history. :o

Best regards,
Willem

Maurice 26th August 2010 12:36 PM

Hi Willem,

That is correct when you are talking about the golden crowns and I agree about the higher status of gold in comparrison with suassa.
I have images enough of sikins with one, two and three golden crowns.
It is also correct that the one from the Bronbeek article is the only rentjong that I also know with this variation of crown.

But I posted this one, because this is the only sikin I know with a golden crown and this suassa crown on top. I have seen it on rentjongs, but not on sikins..
But your image is the second one I see...:D

Kind Regards,
Maurice
Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Hi Maurice :)

Nice example. but the crown type with suasa is found on both sikins and rencong. (see example). Personally I like this type a lot, but technically it is much simpler, so I would assume it had also less status.
statistics is not my hobby, but my gut feeling says that this type of crown must have occured on sikins and rencong more or less in equal numbers.

The type that Erik means with the double crown made entirely from gold alloy with the elaborate carvings is a type of crown that I have seen on various sikins, but the only rencong I ever saw was in this Bronbeek article.

All together I don't think that we can get to the bottom of the meaning of the various crowns. You would need museum details not only with date of collection. but in fact also info on the rank / status of the original owner...

I am afraid that KNIL soldiers often took these weapons at a monent when they where not able to ask the former owner about their status. Not the prettyest time in our history. :o

Best regards,
Willem

erikscollectables 26th August 2010 12:44 PM

This is a beautiful example and a very rare one too.
This type of handle (hulu peusangan) and sheath are rarer than the common sikin. And the ones with crowns are even rarer again. Would not mind having one like that myself....:)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice
I think this one would be a nice addition in this thread.
It is a beautifull sikin that was in the personal collection of late Bisseling, who was a conservator of the Leiden Museum.

It is now in a friend's collection, and already a long time impossible for me to get it rid from him.;)

It has the same type of crown as discussed, but the upper crown is suassa instead of gold. This sikin has everything.
Attractive, gold, suassa, silver, ivory....you name it! :eek:

Maurice

erikscollectables 26th August 2010 12:51 PM

About the gold used on the double and triple crowns. Two collectors I know tested the gold on several crowns in their collection - all were made of a higer grade of gold than 14k!!!

So it does make some sense that many of these were harvested over time. I can imagine that up to recent times the gold was relatively of higher value that the "art".

Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Hi Maurice :)

gold alloy

Maurice 26th August 2010 12:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikscollectables
This is a beautiful example and a very rare one too.
This type of handle (hulu peusangan) and sheath are rarer than the common sikin. And the ones with crowns are even rarer again. Would not mind having one like that myself....:)
Well Erik,

Who won't????:D
But I am allready happy that I am able to hold and admire it every time when I visit the owner.;-)

asomotif 26th August 2010 10:12 PM

Quote:
So it does make some sense that many of these were harvested over time.


Yep. Just imagine... These weapons where often already in dutch hands during the crisis in the 1930's. Useless gold laying around on your attic.
And they where around in WW 2. Food was scarce, sigarets and coffee where hard to get and than you find this piece of useless gold fixed to an old sword that was also not very usefull.

erikscollectables 27th August 2010 08:30 AM

There are quite a few of these harvested around - although still rare items.
Last week I saw a rentjong for sale with gold inlay and that had clearly had triple crowns and also the back part of the handle covered in gold - like the one left in the first photo in the thread. It must have been an incredible piece when it was complete....


Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Yep. Just imagine... These weapons where often already in dutch hands during the crisis in the 1930's. Useless gold laying around on your attic.
And they where around in WW 2. Food was scarce, sigarets and coffee where hard to get and than you find this piece of useless gold fixed to an old sword that was also not very usefull.

Battara 28th August 2010 01:56 AM

Where is this rencong?

Anyway, it would be of higher status to have 14k+ over swassa. Back then the moulding of the metal was not the chore like it is today.

asomotif 28th August 2010 06:56 AM

Chore = daily routine.

No, I can not imagine how they would make such crowns with only charcoal/wood fire. The crowns are not solid and they are made with much detail.

erikscollectables 28th August 2010 08:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Where is this rencong?



It is now with one of the other forum members - I hope he will post pictures!

Battara 28th August 2010 06:25 PM

Sorry Asomotif. By chore I meant a lot of work (US colloquial expression). Back then they had more experience with doing this type of work than we do today.

Recong with another eh? Oh well..... :(

asomotif 28th August 2010 11:13 PM

Quote:
By chore I meant a lot of work


Ok, that explains the comment :)

erikscollectables 30th August 2010 01:47 PM

bronbeek
 
Was able to visit the Bronbeek Museum this weekend.
Unfortunately it is no langer a small heaven for those interested in the military history of the Dutch East Indies - it dropped from the first place in my list of favourite museums in the Netherlands....

There are still a few good Aceh weapons on display among which the rencong in the photo from Willem with triple crown and golden back on an ivory handle.

Also a peudeung with the handle totally covered in gold (I think the same as in Zonneveld...) - still looking for one like that - tips are most welcome :)

But no longer the Aceh flags and the large amounts of ethnographic weapons they had in the previous set up.

Will post pictures of the rencong with crowns later on.

Maurice 30th August 2010 02:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikscollectables
Was able to visit the Bronbeek Museum this weekend.
Unfortunately it is no langer a small heaven for those interested in the military history of the Dutch East Indies - it dropped from the first place in my list of favourite museums in the Netherlands....

There are still a few good Aceh weapons on display among which the rencong in the photo from Willem with triple crown and golden back on an ivory handle.

Also a peudeung with the handle totally covered in gold (I think the same as in Zonneveld...) - still looking for one like that - tips are most welcome :)

But no longer the Aceh flags and the large amounts of ethnographic weapons they had in the previous set up.

Will post pictures of the rencong with crowns later on.
Oooooohhh, what a pity. They hide away all good things in the depots!:mad:
And what are they displaying? Just wait a few years, and all there will be left is a puppet-show!

Do they still exhibiting that mandau in a showcase, or did they stuff that one away behind doors also?

Regards,
Maurice

erikscollectables 30th August 2010 05:58 PM

Gone and none on display...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice

Do they still exhibiting that mandau in a showcase, or did they stuff that one away behind doors also?

Regards,
Maurice

erikscollectables 30th August 2010 06:10 PM

three items with crowns
 
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Here three nice items that are still on display in Bronbeek Museum.
*Sikin Peusangan with a single crown in suassa or copper - a first for me this type of single crown.
*Rentjong with total handle covered in gold
*Rentjong with crowns and back in gold on hippo ivory

asomotif 30th August 2010 08:12 PM

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Thanks Erik for the nice pictures.
Indeed a shame that they hide away all weapons.
Modern times. Musea are meant to educate and build bridges.
Weapons are often not a part of that.

Ps. the rencong with the gold covered hilt was used in the attack on Luitenant Kolonel W.B.J.A. Scheepens in Oktober 1913.
He died from the wound on 17th october 1913. A few days after the attack.

Battara 31st August 2010 12:38 AM

Beautiful gold covered rencongs. Thank you for posting.

erikscollectables 1st September 2010 07:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
the rencong with the gold covered hilt was used in the attack on Luitenant Kolonel W.B.J.A. Scheepens in Oktober 1913.
He died from the wound on 17th october 1913. A few days after the attack.

I looked up the story - I remembered reading it. It is in the book Atjeh by Zentgraaff (pages 49/50).

Scheepens was the military and civil commander of the city Sigli in Atjeh at that time. As civil commander he was also acting as the local judge.
There was a dispute between the son of an oelama (local religious leader) and a regular citizen were the son was hit. In court the regular citizen was punished to 3 months imprisonment - to the father this was not satisfactory and after some discussion over this with Scheepens he took his rencong by surprise and stabbed Scheepens in the belly. The oelama was immediately struck down by the Atjeh men and did not survive.

As an experienced Atjeh fighter Scheepens knew the stab was likely to kill him. But his pregnant wife was also there and in order to calm her down he acted as he was not badly hurt and suggested to drink a glass of champagne on the good outcome. After which he walked to the hospital. Despite the surgeon that was in the meantime noticed and came down from Koeta Radja in a hurry he was not to be saved and he died a few days later.
He was a very highly decorated officer with a lot of experience in Atjeh.

The son of the oelama was rejected by his mother after this for not standing up for his father and defending him there. It is a sad history for all that were involved.

And the rentjong is still in the collection of the Bronbeek museum! A very interesting piece of history - I hope this will be explained there as I did not know this was that infamous rentjong and there was no text at all.

Erik

asomotif 1st September 2010 01:14 PM

Thanks Erik for sharing the whole story on Scheepens.
Strange that they do not mention this in the museum.

Quote:
*Sikin Peusangan with a single crown in suassa

I checked the "Legermuseum"at Delft, and they also have a sikin peusangan with a single suasa crown. Their collection nr 11149
Nice example that is, with a buffalohorn scabbard mouth and the scabbard covered with 3 large sections of silver.
I forgot my camera, so no pics.

Best regards,
Willem


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