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Old 5th August 2014, 09:21 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 2,461
Default Rare sword of the Timor group

This sword finished on eBay today:

It is a typical example of a rare Timorese sword from the islands of Savu and Roti. It bears a striking resemblance to the sword shown in Fig. 590, p. 139 of Albert van Zonneveld’s book, Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago, Zwartenkot Art Books:Leiden, 2001.

The sword corresponds to a type (e) Timorese sword, and this is what van Zonneveld has to say about these swords:

“As are all hilts of the Timor group, type (e) is made of buffalo horn, but it is here yellowish instead of black. It has a surprisingly short shaft, the lower half of which is quite broad. At the top we find a large, flat almost square part protruding towards the edge and resembling a kind of flag. The edge’s side is incised with two shallow, oblique V-shaped indentations. The square’s sides are, with the exception of the lower side, pierced and provided with tufts of goat hair. The entire hilt is decorated with carvings. In the centre of the sides we see an elevated circle with a protruding central point.

The blades are of local provenance and always straight. The back curves towards the edge.

The scabbard is made of two wooden pieces, tied together with rattan. The binding can continue over the scabbard’s entire length. Its mouth can be very broad, and towards the back somewhat less broadened, or hardly broader than the hilt’s stem. The mouth is always decorated with carving resembling that on the hilt, also with a raised central ‘eye.’ The scabbard has an angled foot, facing towards the edge side. This foot is decorated with carving which always includes a central raised circle.”

Given the wear and tear on the scabbard and hilt, I think this one is probably late 19th Century. Unfortunately the blade has been cleaned recently. I shall try to post more pictures after it arrives.

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