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Old 31st August 2017, 07:51 PM   #1
ArmsAndAntiques
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Default Indonesian/Indian Ankus or Spearhead?

Apologies for the possible mis-directed post, but I'd like to learn more about this style of spearhead.

The first image is from a book published in 1993 of the Moscow State Historical Museum collection where it is described as an Indian Ankus, 19th c. The collection was put together decades ago so I'm fairly certain the item is old, but Indian... My feeling is that it is Indonesian.

Then looking through Holstein you find again a similar style of spearhead/ankus (?) grouped with other ankuses... It's a bit difficult to determine where in the text it is referenced but I'd be interested in the forum perspective on this kind of spear/ankus. Of course, the Moscow State museum description could be pulling from Holstein but it's barely referenced so no way to tell why they ascribed it to India, unless it was acquired there in the 19th C.

Indonesian or Indian? Age? Perhaps nomenclature if known?
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Old 31st August 2017, 11:39 PM   #2
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Looks much more like a mak than an ankus to me. A spear-mak hybrid rather than the usual single-edged blade. Might be a nice weapon to play with: better cutting than a normal spear, and the ability to trap/hook that you get with a winged spear.

Having neither an elephant nor one of these, I can't try one out as an ankus. In the absence of experiment, all I can say is that it looks so completely un-ankus-like that I cannot seriously consider it as a type of ankus.
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Old 2nd September 2017, 01:48 AM   #3
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The item with the bird base blade is stylistically Javanese and very probably of Javanese origin, I've got some pics of similar things somewhere, but I can't remember which book, if I can find them, I'll post them. In any case, it is a tombak, a spear, in this case, ornamental/ceremonial.

The other item with the human/beast style base has a vague hint of Jawa, but I'd need to handle it before I could decide on whether it was likely to be Javanese craftsmanship or not. If it is Javanese it was most likely intended for use as a finial, probably above a banner.
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Old 2nd September 2017, 09:52 AM   #4
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Alan is completely right.I also have a book with pictures of similar tombak.
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Old 2nd September 2017, 02:12 PM   #5
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Thanks all for the knowledgeable response. Does anyone have the reference to the book mentioned?

Interestingly in Hales (2013) there are also two spearheads with the blades coming out of the head of the bird. Though they appear to be of simpler and earlier construction.

What would these have been used for? I.E. what kind of ceremonial use would a spear like this be username in?
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Old 2nd September 2017, 07:02 PM   #6
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i vote for the Mak!

rather odd weapons with the edge on the 'wrong' side. double edged version would work tho.
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Old 2nd September 2017, 09:03 PM   #7
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This image was copied from Sachse, he copied from somewhere else, maybe Jasper & Pirngadie. Sachse is not the book that I had in mind, I've got a small publication that has a lot of images of spears in it, that were originally published in J&P. I'll look for it when I have time.

In Jawa any spear is called "tombak".

I do not know the name for a finial, but it might be acceptable to use "sirah" or "endhas", both words mean "head", but in different language levels -- sirah is Krama, endhas is Ngoko. Possibly Krama usage would be more appropriate, assuming the use is associated with a higher level of society.

A finial sometimes appears on the top of a shaft used for a banner in a procession.

The spear head would also be ceremonial, possibly also processional, but I do not know the precise use, by this I mean that I do not know exactly what procession it would be appropriate to use it in..
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Old 3rd September 2017, 07:28 PM   #8
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Whilst not necessarily making an an attribution of these examples, spears were used by 'elephantiers' for the control of elephants. An elephant, being such a big beast, cannot always be controlled by it's mahout and attendants would walk alongside with a spear pressed to the elephants cheek to keep it on the straight and narrow, particularly if the elephant has a reputation for being 'wayward'. Such spears can be ceremonial, often decorative, but with a purpose, and do not need a particularly strong spike, merely one that the elephant feels threatening to it's eyes.
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Old 4th September 2017, 08:34 PM   #9
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I will try to dig up the book and post some scans of the images later this week.
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Old 5th September 2017, 05:19 PM   #10
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Thanks for all leading the way on the references. I was able to find a number of plates in Jasper and Pirngadie Volume V which show an astounding assortment of these spearheads or toembak (as they're referenced in the volume). I post them below. Another assumption is that devoting essentially all the color plates to these examples must have meant that they had some significance either from the workmanship side or the cultural side, though I'll let the more knowledgeable forum member discuss that.

In the many "ethnographic: read non-European" metalworking cultures in which I'm personally interested in, I haven't seen such a wide assortment of figural metalwork, some of which I'd assume would have been smithed from pamor. I've only seen one of this style of spearhead in person and it was of an exceptional level of workmanship, but I've never seen any others in hand or even published as actual examples in photographs.

In any case, those of us who love iron work and may find these plates interesting.

The first post is the plate description followed by the plates themselves.
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Old 5th September 2017, 05:20 PM   #11
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Next set of images.
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Old 5th September 2017, 05:21 PM   #12
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Another set of images from Jasper and Pirngadie Volume V.
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Old 5th September 2017, 05:22 PM   #13
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Image set 4
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Old 5th September 2017, 05:22 PM   #14
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Final set
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Old 6th September 2017, 08:20 AM   #15
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That's the book i wanted to look for. Thanks ArmsAndAntiques
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Old 6th September 2017, 03:14 PM   #16
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An additional image of an actual example from, I believe, a 2006 exhibition held at the Nieuwe Kerk and the National Museum of Indonesia of what is described as a "State Lance" Java, circa 1858.
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Old 7th September 2017, 11:41 AM   #17
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Forgive my ignorance, but is it correct to assume these spearheads are painted?
And do any survive? in Antwerp or elsewhere?
Best wishes
Richard
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Old 7th September 2017, 08:51 PM   #18
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Here is one from the old museum Nusantara, in Delft. (closed now)
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Old 9th September 2017, 11:08 AM   #19
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Thanks for this topic.
Here is a "tombak" of the 1990s that I bought a few years ago.
I thought it totally fanciful and intended only for tourists but thanks to this conversation I discovered that this is the reproduction of an old traditional pattern.
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Old 9th September 2017, 05:16 PM   #20
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A number of other examples found referenced online and which are attributed to the Leiden Ethnographic Museum or Museum Volkenkunde. I couldn't find these in their registry online but have no reason to doubt the institutional attribution.

It does appear the known figural examples are all gold gilded. Perhaps other knowledgeable members would know why the plates put the others in multiple colors or whether this was a fanciful interpretation of gold decoration

In addition, I attach another image of a ceremonial lance attributed to Paku Alam IV, 1874.

And finally, two images from Jasper and Pirngadie of these types of tombak.
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Old 9th September 2017, 11:02 PM   #21
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Where a tombak-like object is used as the finial for a banner shaft, or where the object has been specifically made to serve as a finial for a banner shaft, the correct name for that object is "Pataka".

So these things being discussed here are called "Pataka", not "Tombak".

I had forgotten this, but I needed to do a re-read of something and I came across the reference again. I have not yet checked for a root or cross reference.
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Old 11th September 2017, 12:28 AM   #22
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I have now had time to look at the word "pataka".

It is quite an interesting word.

It exists in Old Javanese, the form of Javanese that was in use prior to the establishment of the Second Kingdom of Mataram in the late 16th century. In Old Javanese the word "Petaka" can be understood in three ways, only two of which have a relationship to the name of a banner shaft finial. Dependent upon context, the word "Pataka" can mean:-
the top part of a house roof; a flag, a banner, a standard, a pennant, a sign, a symbol, an emblem, a badge, a war decoration, an insignia, a token, a mark, a signal, a decorative item, a coat-of-arms.

The unrelated meaning of the word relates to sin and evil doing. In BI there is a fairly common word that comes from the same root:- "malapetaka" = a disaster or great misfortune.

Pataka comes from the Sanscrit, where it has +20 ways of being understood, most of which relate to sin and evil doing, I can only find one word in Sanscrit that has a vague relationship to flags & etc:- "utpataka", which probably can be understood as "flying upwards".

It is really quite wonderful that this word has come from Sanscrit>Kawi>Old Javanese into Modern Javanese>Bahasa Indonesia, where in Modern Javanese and BI it is understood as flag, banner, standard, and apparently by those with an interest in tosan aji, as a banner shaft finial.

It is interesting to note that during the Majapahit era, banners were counted as weapons of war (Quaritch-Wales).

Some readers of this may be aware that for many years one of my pet hatreds has been the "Name Game". I have found that in order to avoid the heated idiocy that sometimes finds itself attached to debate or even discussion about "correct names", it is a very worthwhile exercise to explore the etymology of a word.
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Old 28th September 2017, 09:13 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmsAndAntiques
A number of other examples found referenced online and which are attributed to the Leiden Ethnographic Museum or Museum Volkenkunde. I couldn't find these in their registry online but have no reason to doubt the institutional attribution.

It does appear the known figural examples are all gold gilded. Perhaps other knowledgeable members would know why the plates put the others in multiple colors or whether this was a fanciful interpretation of gold decoration

In addition, I attach another image of a ceremonial lance attributed to Paku Alam IV, 1874.

And finally, two images from Jasper and Pirngadie of these types of tombak.


I try to give a sample of the bilge dragon spear we used to call a leaf dragon .. bugis also know dragon in literature heirloom. in our ancient record which is called the lontara book. dragon is called as la tamposisi. besides being speared, we also found it in kris and badik blades.
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Old 28th September 2017, 09:28 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by La Pagaru
I try to give a sample of the bilge dragon spear we used to call a leaf dragon .. bugis also know dragon in literature heirloom. in our ancient record which is called the lontara book. dragon is called as la tamposisi. besides being speared, we also found it in kris and badik blades.

This sampling
We called Naga daun
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