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Old 28th December 2017, 06:37 PM   #15
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,175

Hello SÚverin,

The sheath and the handle would be made for the tourism market?
As the set dates from before 1941 it would therefore be among the first production for tourists?

Yes, I am certain that the scabbard is tourist and also the craftsmanship of the hilt is way to poor to be legitimate for a guru piece; these fittings may well date from the first half of the 20th century though. (Any good evidence for the 1941 date you mention?)

Already during the second half of the 19th century, burgeoning tourist destinations (and associated souvenir/curio market opportunities) developed in Toba and later Karo lands. By the last quarter of the 19th century, Chinese-run workshops in Medan produced (or at least Chinese traders ordered) new pseudo-Batak artifacts in considerable numbers! These were never intended for traditional use and sold to colonial officials, European/American businessmen (including plantation owners/etc.), and visitors. The motifs try to look "Batak" but usually fall short of the real thing and often exhibit cross-cultural influences. I do believe it is fair to tag these as tourist pieces...

Because quite a few of these souvenirs are already over 100 years old themselves, collecting Batak is a quagmire!

kai is offline   Reply With Quote