Join Date: May 2006
Forget my suggestion for splitting bambu, now we have the complete description the blade geometry militates against that use.
In respect of terminology.
In Jawa and also in Bali there is a hooked knife that we use for cutting grass and pruning bushes.
This knife is called a TELABUNG in Raffles, but I've never heard it called that in either Jawa or Bali, in Jawa it usually gets called a "BENDO", in Bali I've heard several people call it an "ARIT". Both these modern names could be historically incorrect and represent the common generic names used by modern people.
The TELABUNG frequently has the handle fitted into a socket, the example shown in Raffles has a handle that uses a ferrule. Every TELABUNG that I have seen is less than 24 inches overall length, the ones I use in the garden are only about 15 inches in length. The blade has a flat grind and is sharpened on the hooked side of the blade. It is a typical billhook, and is used like one.
Albert van Zonneveld shows a TELABUNG on page 143, but incorrectly names it a TELABUNA. He quotes Raffles as his reference. This is an understandable error, as the print in Raffles is very faint, and could easily be misread.
I do not own a copy of Tirri.
If Tirri names a KUDI TRANCHANG as Balinese he is wrong.
The KUDI is not Balinese, it is Javanese, principally from western Central Jawa, Banyumas and Cilacap. I have never heard the term KUDI TRANCANG used in Jawa.
Raffles shows a knife that we would now call simply a KUDI, and he names this as a KUDI TRANCHANG --- which of course should be KUDI TRANCANG. It is probable that Raffles is the source of the incorrect spelling that is repeated and repeated and repeated, and also the addition of "tranchang"
The word TRANCANG is Javanese and it means a net or a grid made out of wire. I have long thought that Raffles' name of KUDI TRANCHANG was the direct description of a specific KUDI given to him by his indigenous informant. A kudi with heavily veined material would be described as KUDI TRANCANG because the veined material would have the appearance of wire or cable.
Gardner shows a variety of tools and weapons from various locations that he names as KUDI, or KUDIK (kudi and kudik would sound the same to a native English speaker), and PARANG BENGKOK. Gardner is an historically interesting source, but it is as well not to take him too seriously.
Alfred van Zonneveld shows several blade forms that he names as KUDI, and he shows two implements that he names as KUDI TRANCHANG (kudi trancang). One of these is a Balinese pengentas, used in cremation ceremonies. The other is something I have never seen an example of and I do not know a name for it.
As for BENGKOK.
BENGKOK means bent or crooked.
Just that simple.
A PARANG BENGKOK is a bent parang.
Its a description rather than a name. There are any number of S.E. Asian tools/weapons that can be called PARANG BENGKOK.
I have a very intense dislike for this name game business. Every collector I've ever known wants to stick a name on every item that comes into his possession.
Very, very frequently the names that they have to choose from are corruptions of the name provided by the indigenous informant, or the name is not a name at all, but a description, or the name is simply wrong.
Collecting is one thing.
Affixing correct names is something different. It is a very good idea for anybody who wishes to collect S.E.Asian weapons and tools to gain some knowledge of the relevant languages and get hold of a few decent dictionaries.
SPIRAL:- I've had a look at the Rawson references you've provided, I cannot see anything that looks like the thing that Dave posted a pic of.