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Old 10th November 2010, 04:59 AM   #31
Amuk Murugul
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Hullo everybody,
Just for the sake of completeness.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henk
..... I picked up some new stuff I would like some info/opinions about so I will show them in some new threads.
The first one is a machete that I cann't place very well. I looked in the book by Van Zonneveld and found some possibilities. For me it is a javanese piece.
Parang Bengkok, Ruding Lengon (I guess not) or most likely Telabuna.


The photo shows a common tool referred to by the Soenda as:Tjongkrang (a short chopper with a beak-like downward hook, i.e.billhook). Usually carried w/o sheath. Often carried by farmers on night-watch. Used for general chopping of grass/scrub..... also the hook was traditionally used for chopping off the tip of a coconut husk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
.....
Thanks for clarifying the name for this tool. I, too, called this particular example a golok when I acquired it. Then I found a nearly identical chopper in v. Zonneveld (p. 34) which he identified as a bendo from West Java. So, even Mr. v. Z. can make a mistake, or perhaps there is a regional variation in terms that differs from your own experience. In any case, it is very confusing for someone from a different culture trying to understand these terms from a distance.


The photo shown is that of a short golok Soenda.... or more colloquially referred to by the Soenda as:Bedog.
This example was made in Soemedang, in one of the villages like Tjikeroeh, Tjipatjing, Tjisoerat etc.....

Best,
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Old 1st March 2011, 08:48 PM   #32
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The Rijksmuseum for Volkenkunde in Leiden (Holland) has a similar tool, sadly no data given. When I first saw this some years ago, my first impression was it was a copy of an European billhook - very similar are found in Portugal - I thought it was made in Asia in one of the European settlements...

Later I learned a little about the history of the local edge tool and weapon making...
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Old 1st March 2011, 08:59 PM   #33
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This one is classified differently, but is shown as being from: Madura / Jawa Timur / Jawa / IndonesiŽ, as is its twin (inventory No 3600-2855)...
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Old 1st March 2011, 09:07 PM   #34
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And then they get even more bizarre (to European eyes...) - also listed as from Java Indonesia....
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Old 1st March 2011, 09:14 PM   #35
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Default Spanish and Portugese Billhooks

This style is found in Northern Spain and Portugal - the similarities in blade shape was what first caught my eye...
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Old 1st March 2011, 09:46 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marto suwignyo
The variation in names of things from place to place in Java is very confusing sometimes, this was precisely what I was trying to clarify with my questions to Kiai Carita. Kiai Carita took the correct approach when he said "in my village it is called such and such". In another village twenty kilometers down the road it might be called something else entirely, which to me means that if we want to give names to things we need to qualify the name by saying:- in this place, at this time, this article is known as a whatever.


This does not only happen in Asia - even in countries such as France a few miles difference can mean a different spelling, a different pronunciation or even a completely different name...

The dictionary name for a billhook in French is a serpe (diminutive a serpette, or little serpe) - but also gouet, goyarde, poudo, pudet, podadora...

For more complete list, see my web site: http://www.billhooks.co.uk/France%201.htm

In the UK it can be a billhook; a bill, a handbill, a hedging bill, a chopper, a hacker, a brushing hook, a hook, a broom hook, a block hook, a spar hook, a pruning hook - see: http://www.billhooks.co.uk/Page%201.htm

and the shape can vary considerably from country to country....
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Old 1st March 2011, 10:15 PM   #37
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Hullo Billman,

I would refer to your first six pictures as: Koedjang variants (while their shapes may appear to vary widely, they share the same philisophy in their construction).
BTW ..... I think it would be a mistake for anyone to think that koedjangs are/were only talismanic.
My avatar is a picture of my personal koedjang. It is 43 cm long and fully functional.

Best,
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Old 2nd March 2011, 07:23 AM   #38
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Very interesting, apparantly my example does originate from Indonesia. Probably the tool was used for pruning or harversting verbs in the first place and a weapon if necesarry?

Can we compare a koedjang or billhook or whatever the name is of this tool with the sickle used by druids?
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Old 2nd March 2011, 08:04 PM   #39
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Hullo Henk,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henk
Very interesting, apparantly my example does originate from Indonesia. Probably the tool was used for pruning or harversting verbs in the first place and a weapon if necesarry?

Can we compare a koedjang or billhook or whatever the name is of this tool with the sickle used by druids?


- Both tools have an agricultural origin.
- The difference:
The druid sickle, from what I recall, is constructed merely in a sickle shape whereas the koedi/koedjang/tjongkrang is constructed to be more of a utility tool.

mvg,
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Old 2nd March 2011, 09:51 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amuk Murugul
Hullo Billman, I would refer to your first six pictures as: Koedjang variants (while their shapes may appear to vary widely, they share the same philisophy in their construction). Best,


I would agree - all appear to have two elements, a curved sickle type blade and an axe type - the difference between these and European double bladed billhooks, is that the axe part is on the front of the blade, next to the hooked part, rather than on the back... But even on European billhooks, the position and shape of the back blade varies considerably from country to country, or even within a single country or region 5the following are from Spain - Lleida, Teruel, Castilla and Girona:
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Old 2nd March 2011, 10:05 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henk
Can we compare a koedjang or billhook or whatever the name is of this tool with the sickle used by druids?


If the Druids used any tool at all, other than in the comic books of Asterix, it would have been a pruning hook of the billhook/sickle type... It is sometimes difficult to classify a tool as a light billhook and a heavy sickle overlap their functions... In France there exist 'faucilles ŗ bois' - wood sickles, i.e. sickle shaped billhooks...

It is more likely that as mistletoe is a parasitsic growth, often found on fruit trees, it would have been cut witha tool specific to the task - known as a 'coupe gui' in France, and mounted on a long handle, many also have two blades - that cut on the up stroke (push) and the down stroke (pull) - like the billhook there are many regional variations in blade shape...

All these tools have been around since the late Iron Age, and existed in England before the Roman invasions c 50 AD...
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Old 2nd March 2011, 10:09 PM   #42
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The origins of the Golden Sickle probably lie in the bronze bladed sickles that preceded those made of iron, as in this reconstruction (from Germany) the bronze blade is golden when polished - note the caulked billhook type of handle, common in northern Europe and Britain:
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Old 2nd March 2011, 10:51 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billman
The origins of the Golden Sickle probably lie in the bronze bladed sickles that preceded those made of iron, as in this reconstruction (from Germany) the bronze blade is golden when polished - note the caulked billhook type of handle, common in northern Europe and Britain:


That's one possibility, but you do know that they could tell the difference between bronze and gold, right?

There's a couple of things here. One is that the golden sickle is a Roman story, and we don't know if it was real. That said, a modern-day druid actually did try to cut mistletoe with a golden sickle (9 carat sheet gold--he was a jeweler), and yes, the gold sickle did cut the mistletoe. It cut about two stems before it broke. Mistletoe wood is pretty brittle. So it could have been done.

Additionally, we have to look at the symbolism:
gold=metal of the sun
sickle=crescent of the moon
...and the ritual took place on the summer solstice, the time of maximum sunlight.
Mistletoe is sacred because
--it grows in the "air," not in the ground,
--it tends to be green when the tree it's on has shed its leaves (a symbol of eternal life and/or the spirit?)
--the berries look like semen (white and sticky)
--the fruiting stem looks like a phallus, especially since the two berries at the base of the straight, rigid stem are typically the last two to fall off
(Yes, this is why you kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas. It's a fertility rite).
And finally, most English mistletoe grows on apple, not on oak, and mistle-oaks are quite rare. And yes, oak was sacred to the druids.
--As I recall, the mistletoe was caught on a bull hide, too, and bulls were one of the major sources of wealth in the ancient world (if you know the origin of "capitalism," you know what I'm talking about).

Add up all the symbols, the sun-moon of the golden sickle cutting a supernatural/fertility symbol/toxic plant on the day of maximum sunlight from a sacred tree, and it's caught on the skin of a slaughtered, valuable animal...

I don't know if the ritual ever happened, or whether they used a gold sickle or a gold plated sickle, or whatever. The things we do know are that it could have happened as stated, and regardless, there's a lot of symbolism hidden in that story.

Best,

F
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Old 5th March 2011, 05:38 PM   #44
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see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druid and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritual...k_and_mistletoe you really need to go back to Pliny's original latin text and see what he actually wrote ref the 'golden sickle' and how else it could be translated.....

"But he was a Roman, and scholars have always treated Roman descriptions of the world with caution" see: http://www.spiegel.de/international...,536402,00.html
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Old 5th March 2011, 06:50 PM   #45
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the latin was falce aurea, a golden sickle. rather than falce aurum, a gold sickle. like billman said, could have been polished bronze of a golden color, or even gold plated iron, which the romans did know about...
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Old 6th March 2011, 05:22 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
the latin was falce aurea, a golden sickle. rather than falce aurum, a gold sickle. like billman said, could have been polished bronze of a golden color, or even gold plated iron, which the romans did know about...


Many thanks for that - one of the great things about a forum such as this is the vast range of expertise available....
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Old 6th March 2011, 07:11 PM   #47
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Agreed on the falce aurea, although I'd love to see more examples of bronze being called "golden."

To grind in the point, whether the falx was gold or gold-plated is irrelevant, because even gold will cut mistletoe. However that myth got started, it will work.

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Old 7th March 2011, 07:31 AM   #48
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i came across a reference to someone who actually made a gold sickle - 9 caret - and used it to cut mistletoe, they did say it worked, for a couple of cuts, before it deformed and needed resharpening & was in general not up to the job.

i do remember gathering mistletoe from my BIL guerney's farm in no. alabama a number of years ago. rather than a golden sickle, he used a browning 12ga. to shoot the infested branch off. we could easily peel it off the oak branch. the berries are rather gooey & sticky i recall.

one of the more constant threads in mythological and fantastic historical fiction is that iron poisons magic, and/or can weaken or kill magical creature like the fair folke (fairies) and elves. the more educated modern wiccans prefer bronze in their ceremonial items to avoid disturbing the magic.

iron IS strange and magical stuff.

iron is only produced by the exothermic decay of radioactive higher elements formed by fusion in high mass stars, every higher radioactive element eventually decays to iron, and it's very energy hungry if you try to make it from fusing lower elements. iron will not engage in either fusion or fission. the iron in our bodies was once in such a star that exploded and distributed it's iron long before the earth was formed. iron is the most common element forming our planet.

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Old 7th March 2011, 01:56 PM   #49
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Henk, I'm not sure about the correct name but I'm guessing an evolution of kudi (which is no longer a popular tool), the shape is somewhat (more popular) bendo-heavy chopping utility knife and arit/clurit-sickle combo in Java at present time. Both I mention later has variations and local names and this might fall in one or another. I attached some internet photo for reference.
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Old 7th March 2011, 03:47 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
i came across a reference to someone who actually made a gold sickle - 9 caret - and used it to cut mistletoe, they did say it worked, for a couple of cuts, before it deformed and needed resharpening & was in general not up to the job.

i do remember gathering mistletoe from my BIL guerney's farm in no. alabama a number of years ago. rather than a golden sickle, he used a browning 12ga. to shoot the infested branch off. we could easily peel it off the oak branch. the berries are rather gooey & sticky i recall.

one of the more constant threads in mythological and fantastic historical fiction is that iron poisons magic, and/or can weaken or kill magical creature like the fair folke (fairies) and elves. the more educated modern wiccans prefer bronze in their ceremonial items to avoid disturbing the magic.

iron IS strange and magical stuff.


Cool. A few years ago, a big "bush" of mistletoe came down near my house, and for the heck of it, I made a small knife with a mistletoe hilt. Mistletoe wood (this is North American mistletoe, not the European white mistletoe) is like brittle plastic. It's fairly easy to cut, but it tends to shatter, especially if one drills it. The knife is definitely an art piece, not a tool.

As for the iron myth, we do have to be careful. There were faery smiths after all (Wayland, etc.), and even within the Irish faery lore, one comes across stories where the faeries use iron--enchanting a plow into a horse, for instance (Meeting the Other Crowd, by Lenihan and Green). And there are certainly magical steel swords. Excalibur comes to mind. Conversely, I don't know of any stories of named bronze swords, even though bronze was always comparatively rarer than iron was.

Outside Europe, there are many iron-using fairies.

Best,

F
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Old 7th March 2011, 04:45 PM   #51
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the excalibur legend is so old, i suspect that it was actually based on a bronze sword, cast in a stone mold, hence the pulling of the sword from the stone. the legends just got converted to steel to fit the local technology as the ages pass. similarly the arthurian knights are generally shown in full plate armour in the medieval period tales, which was not an option at the post roman period arthur was supposed to inhabit....

throwing a sword into a lake, also part of the excalibur mythos, was a very bronze age thing to do. you were not judged on how many posessions you had, but on how many you gave away. the ultimate was to take a bronze sword, a very expensive and important named sword even better, and throw it in a lake or river as an offering to the gods. sometimes the sword would be 'killed', that is bent or broken, to ensure it could never be used again.

anyhow more on topic, the kudi/kujang, which is most definitely steel, is also a magical tool, more ceremonial these days.
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Old 9th March 2011, 06:39 AM   #52
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Tunggulametung,

Thank you for these pictures. Now it is clear for me what i have.

It has become a very interesting thread. Thanks to all for their input.
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