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Old 25th November 2020, 11:12 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,673

Hello SÚverin,

That's a good grouping! Please add dimensions.

While sewar tend to get associated with Sumatra, we have to keep in mind that they were also common along the western coast of the Malay Peninsula.

In this line, I'd refer to the middle example with rounded pommel as Straits type. While similar carving seems to have extended into the adjacent Batak territories/highlands (especially Karo and probably Simalungan, too), the full silver sleeve and its motifs suggest coastal Malay culture (whose people moved back and forth at a whim).

The 2 other examples with the numerous silver bands along the stem of the scabbard originate from the Sumatran West coast, most likely Aceh. While this coastal style most likely originated in the North West, it probably moved South under Aceh's hegemony; it also reached the neighbouring highlands, possibly as gifts to nobility or by trade, and even influencing Karo Batak status pieces.

Both engraved bolsters were originally covered with (most likely) silver foil. The last example with this silver-covered bolster still extant seems to have lost a silver cap at the pommel; any remnants of gold wash on the silver, especially on the decorated scabbard top? A close-up of the end of the crosspiece would be good to confirm.

The first example exhibits an intricately carved crosspiece - a type which also seems to be present much further South in the Padang highlands, the Minang heartland. Whether this style got distributed by Aceh's attempts to increase its sphere of power and influence or, alternatively, it moved northwards with Minang expat communities settling along the western coast may prove difficult to ascertain...

kai is offline   Reply With Quote