Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Balinese Wedung (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1273)

VVV 26th September 2005 11:28 PM

Balinese Wedung
 
What's the forumites opinion about this Balinese Wedung that just ended at eBay?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1

Michael

Rick 26th September 2005 11:34 PM

A most unusual looking Wedung , if that's what it really is .
Looks like a mismatch between blade hilt and sheath .
Composite piece maybe ? :confused:

Justin 26th September 2005 11:51 PM

I saw this one as well,passed on it though,seller wanted crazy shipping,like $44 for the keris he had.

I think this may be more of a golok than a wedung,and Rick may be right about it being mismatched.However it did seem fairly old,maybe its a odd/rare variant.....

nechesh 27th September 2005 02:46 AM

Personally, i don't think it would be too easy to determine much of anything from these photographs.

VVV 27th September 2005 09:07 AM

Wedung is not the correct term but I have seen it being used in the forum before, as well as the term is used by Holstein, so that's why I used it. Maybe the proper Balinese term is Madik?

In van Z there is a ceremonial knife as reference. Oriental Arms has one as well in their Gallery.

http://www.oriental-arms.com/item.php?id=1812

I have also seen two other knives like this when visiting European collectors.

The reason I asked was to see if anybody else was puzzled by the simple look of it. The carvings seems correct but the sheath and hilt is not painted and the blade seems to be of less quality than the documented ones.
Could it be a Balinese tourist version???

Michael

marto suwignyo 27th September 2005 09:46 AM

The names I have been given by Balinese people in possession of, and using this type of knife are :- blakas pengentas, caluk, madik, and arug.

A number of differently shaped knives are used for the same and similar purposes, and I have not been able to get anybody to differentiate in the name used for any of them. Some people will use pengentas, others blakas pengentas, others blakas,others madik, others caluk, others madik, all for the same knife, and for different knives.

Do the dictionary exercise and you`ll find that they have similar meanings in different language levels.

Possibly the "correct" name varies according to current use of the knife and the hierarchical levels of the persons involved in using it and whether they are speaking, being spoken about, or being spoken to.

When we try to give a "correct" name for any Balinese or Javanese item, be it weapon or other than a weapon, we are really attempting to do something that is often almost un-do-able.

I suggest that the use of a term understood by all participants in a discussion is adequate.Wedung if you wish, but my preference would be "Balinese knife".

Incidentally, in my opinion this is a very good example of this type of knife, certainly it is a little more utilitarian than the highly decorated published examples, but these published examples hardly exist outside the covers of books, and they certainly are not common in Bali.

VVV 27th September 2005 10:31 AM

Thanks Marto for your feedback!
And also for confirming that this in fact is a proper Balinese knife.
I have so far only seen the highly decorated versions.
Maybe because those where the ones that the Dutch prefered to "bring" with them home in the old days as exotic souvenirs?

Michael

Henk 27th September 2005 07:57 PM

Michael,

Justin gave the right answer. It is a balinese golok.
Stone shows a similar piece with a different hilt.

I had the honour to admire and hold one with a polychrome painted sheath and same hilt like this one in the collection of a member of Tammens study group that Tammens mentioned in his books.

marto suwignyo 27th September 2005 08:51 PM

Well, Henk, I suppose it is barely possible that all those Balinese people I have spoken to over the years who were using, or who owned one of these knives, were wrong.

Equally, I suppose it is possible that Mr. Stone was right, even though his record demonstrates that he was often, very often, wrong.

VVV 27th September 2005 09:36 PM

Marto,

Please correct me if I am wrong but isn't golok originally a local term for a short Javanese(!) sword before it became "bastardized" by us Western collectors?

Michael

Justin 27th September 2005 11:23 PM

As far as I have assertained through a few books and people, comments, and questions here on the forum; ' golok ' can described a variety of Indonesian knives/short swords.I didn't mean to say that this was definately anything,I only meant to offer an alternative to 'wedung' which I thought was a distinctly different type of knife.

Rick 28th September 2005 12:07 AM

A Wedung is a 'Javanese' cultural artifact .

nechesh 28th September 2005 03:40 AM

I know you all know just how much i hate making controversial statements :rolleyes: but if you ask me, books, especially those written by Westerners on the subject of Indonesian weapons, aren't worth squat when it comes to the proper naming of the various weapons in question. Add to that the great variance of names applied to these weapons by the many different groups of people who use(d) them and live in this area of the world and we are left with MUCH confusion. I'm with Marto. I'd call it a Balinese knife. :)
There are certainly MANY errors in the writings of Stone, Raffles, Tammens and others. This does not make their works useless by far, but i think it is important that we take care not to assume that just because it got written down and published that it must be right. ;)

VANDOO 28th September 2005 04:15 AM

AHA!! THE DREADED BOWIE WEDUNG FROM BALI :eek:
IT IS INTERESTING TO FIND THAT THIS IS A KNIFE ACTUALLY FOUND AND USED LOCALLY, THE SCABBARD AND HANDLE LOOK AS THEY SHOULD BUT THE BLADE JUST DOSEN'T LOOK RIGHT WITH THE FORM. THE BLADE FORM WE THINK OF AS A BOWIE KNIFE BLADE HERE IN THE USA MAY HAVE BEEN AROUND IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD OR IT MAY HAVE BEEN ADOPTED FOR KNIVES IN OTHER COUNTRYS OF THE WORLD IN MORE RECENT TIMES. I FOR ONE DON'T KNOW WHERE IT ORIGINATED UNLESS IT WAS JIM BOWIE AS LEGEND SAYS. THE FORM WAS USED ON QUITE A FEW PHILIPPINE KNIVES I HAVE SEEN BUT ALL WOULD HAVE BEEN AFTER JIM BOWIES TIME SO I THINK THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN INFLUENCED BY AMERICANS.

marto suwignyo 28th September 2005 09:59 AM

VVV,

What I understand as a golok is a short , heavy chopping knife, with a blade that has a swelling towards the tip which increases the force of the blow. Something like a khukri would be if it were straight, instead of bent.It is certainly a word that is used in Indonesian, Javanese, and Balinese, but I do not know from which language it originates. I suspect Malay. Personally, I think of a golok more as a tool than as a weapon. However, in Solo we refer to a certain type of scabbard and mated handle that we use for tombak, as "stel golok", that is, "golok dress".

I don`t think that people in the western world have bastardised or misapplied the word golok, I rather feel that golok may have already entered the English language, as I have seen some military forces issue tools and weaponry that I seem to recall were described as "golok form" by an officer who had no knowledge of Indonesian or Malay languages.

Henk 28th September 2005 04:31 PM

Marto,

I didn't say anybody you spoke was wrong. I just bring up what I found in Stone and what a member of Tammens studygroup told me. In this case the knife was adressed as a balinese golok.

But I understand just a ceremonial balinese knife is better?

Ian 28th September 2005 04:56 PM

Guys:

I think we are in a tough area when it comes to common nomenclature for the knives/swords of cultures and areas of the world with which we have little direct experience. And that is probably true for the vast majority of us who post here.

When locals a few miles apart call the same item something different, it is going to be very hard for us to arrive at consensus about a particular name. The original subject of this discussion could certainly be described as a golok by some groups -- it is a heavy bladed chopper, and Stone uses the term for a similar knife -- but probably not in its host culture.

And one of the things that is great about this Forum, we get to hear a diversity of opinions from within and outside the host culture. Thanks to marto suwignyo for giving us the local names that might be applied to this interesting piece. Even so, he gives us a collection of terms that may apply. Which just emphasizes the point that there is usually no one correct answer when it comes to asking "what is it?"

Ian.

marto suwignyo 28th September 2005 10:09 PM

Sorry Henk, what threw me was "Justin gave the right answer", which I understood as all my Bali people being wrong.

I don`t have any problem with calling it anything at all, for discussion purposes, provided everybody understands what is being discussed.

For me, the hanging point is the concept of correctness.

Many things can be correct, depending upon the situation.

Henk 29th September 2005 04:06 PM

Marto,

No hard feelings at all.

"Justin gave the right answer" was in my opinion the answer that was given to me by other sources. So if someone would show me this piece, my answer would be golok too, until now.

A more or less similar piece is in the book by Van Zonneveld and he put it under ceremonial knives.

The wise words of Ian makes sense.

Marto, you are the one with some other forummembers that live in the area where these pieces come from, so you have the best references and I'm just a humble student who tries to bring up the learned lessons.

Montino Bourbon 29th September 2005 05:21 PM

What I saw in Bali referred to as 'blakas' looks like a rectangular blade about 12 inches long with a handle of the same length, looking like a (non-folding) straight razor 2 feet long. In fact, I bought one, but I don't have it with me right now, so can't post photographs.

Another version of a 'blakas' looks like a sickle-pruning hook with a handle same length as the blade, total length about 2 ft.

Both are farm tools, but can be used as weapons.

marto suwignyo 29th September 2005 10:46 PM

As I remarked in my initial post to this thread:-

"A number of differently shaped knives are used for the same and similar purposes, and I have not been able to get anybody to differentiate in the name used for any of them. Some people will use pengentas, others blakas pengentas, others blakas,others madik, others caluk, all for the same knife, and for different knives. "


The cutting implements that you describe , Montino, are amongst these other, differently shaped knives, along with a number of other cutting implements, some would be described as knives, some as hand axes, and one item that was given the name of "blakas pengentas suda mala" was a waved blade about 500 centi long, incorporating a long handle, and making the whole thing about 1000 centi long.A small, almost square hand axe was given the name "blakas pengentas" by a different person. The person who had the first thing I have just described gave the name of "pengentas" to a knife similar to the one under discussion. Another person gave the name "blakas pengentas" to a knife like a small wood carving knife, the type of thing that the books describe as "boyo knife", then 12 months later this person called the same knife a "pemukis".

Quite frankly, I find the whole thing too difficult.I do believe that the name used is situational, and that only a Balinese person who was thoroughly versed in both ritual and language could provide understandable explanations.

However, I do not believe we are talking weaponry here, nor do I believe we are talking farm tools. The conversations I have had with my informants on names indicates some sort of ritual use for all these implements.

Henk, I do not live in Bali. I do understand something of keris culture and weaponry as these things are understood in Solo, Central Jawa, but that is not Bali, and apart from my ability to speak with Balinese people in Indonesian, and the fact that I have visited Bali more times than I can count, over many years, I probably understand Balinese culture no better than you do.To get really accurate answers on these matters you need the input of a scholar who has studied in this field, or a very knowledgeable Balinese person.


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