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Old 5th March 2020, 12:59 PM   #1
Green
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Default Tumbuk lada with Malayan rhino horn handle?

This tumbuk lada was auctioned today and it was described as follows:-

A 19TH CENTURY MALAYAN RHINO HORN AND STEEL KRIS DAGGER having a carved horn handle with white metal mounts and wooden scabbard. (approx 36cm)

Questions:

Based on these two not very good photos from the auction site, can we ascertain that it is really in fact from rhino horn?

What are characteristic features of rhino horn that can be used to determine it?

The dress and blade look too ordinary to merit a rhino horn handle and also, the carving at the end of the handle looks rather crude.

Appreciate comments.

Thanks

Nik
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Old 5th March 2020, 02:02 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green
The dress and blade look too ordinary to merit a rhino horn handle


So it's most probably water buffalo...

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Old 5th March 2020, 02:47 PM   #3
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I also think water buffalo horn.
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Old 5th March 2020, 02:51 PM   #4
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Well, i couldn't say from just those photos.
I am also still curious about the naming. I see peninsula folks often calling these tumbuk lada, but other people claim that is a similar blade with a clunker handle (pepper crusher). We discussed this a little bit in my recent thread on the one i just acquired. I know this is a bit of the name game, but i am trying to determine is tumbuk lada and sewar are actually two different types of knife or just different names for the same kind of knife.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=25663
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Old 5th March 2020, 04:02 PM   #5
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I also doubt that it's Rhino horn!
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Old 5th March 2020, 09:00 PM   #6
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Hello Nik,

Extremely unlikely from mere statistics alone. (Search this forum for identifying features - not visible from these pics though.)

BTW, I suspect the "carving" of the pommel is from rats gnawing away on it...

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Kai
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Old 1st June 2020, 01:39 PM   #7
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Now that I have this item in hand, I'll putting up a few close up pics of the handle and part of the sheath. A rather unusual thing for me is the coloration of the handle, it is not black or translucent as in albino bufallo horn but brownish in parts and with lines/striations and pittings(?) in some places. It look almost like a skin rather than horn.

Can anyone comment what it actually is?... buffalo horn?
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Old 1st June 2020, 02:17 PM   #8
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I'm not sure what kind of horn this is. It doesn't really look like rhino, but then your photos don't really reveal very much. I can't see the structure of the horn. On close examination though you should be able to see a tubular structure with a dot in the center if it is rhino .
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Old 1st June 2020, 08:14 PM   #9
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It look like water buffalo horn, very worn and get wet once over some time. Still a nice sewar or when you want tumbok lada!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 2nd June 2020, 09:31 AM   #10
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Thanks for the confirmation/opinion Detlef!
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Old 2nd June 2020, 02:09 PM   #11
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In my opinion this is a Sewar, not a Tumbuk-lada. Tumbuk-lada have a significantly thicker hilt with a flater pommel.

I think it might be rhino. Rhino horn was fairly frequently used for sewars. I have at least one if not two rather muddane sewars with rhino horn hilt and top part of the scabbard.

Rhino horn under magnification has a fibrous structure as it is practically compacted hair.

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Old 2nd June 2020, 03:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
In my opinion this is a Sewar, not a Tumbuk-lada. Tumbuk-lada have a significantly thicker hilt with a flater pommel.

I think it might be rhino. Rhino horn was fairly frequently used for sewars. I have at least one if not two rather muddane sewars with rhino horn hilt and top part of the scabbard.

Rhino horn under magnification has a fibrous structure as it is practically compacted hair.



Thanks Mariussgmioc for this info.
If you don't mind can you show your sewar with rhino horn pommel? it would be instructive to me. And about the name tumbuk lada... here's an example

http://old.blades.free.fr/daggers/tumbukl/tumbukl.htm

compared to sewar here

http://old.blades.free.fr/daggers/sewar/sewar.htm
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Old 3rd June 2020, 06:11 AM   #13
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I had a look at the links and I consider them very confusing.

It aserts that Tumbuk Lada means "pepper crusher" because the shape of the hilt, but items no. 3 and 5 definitely don't look like a pepper crusher.
In fact, in my oppinion NONE of the daggers shown there is a Tumbuk Lada. Look for example the first one is almost identical to the Lampung sewar at the sewar page.

A Tumbuk Lada is essentially a sewar with a stuby hilt.

I suggest you use Van Zonneveld for reference.

PS: I made a couple of photos of my sewars but have not time to resize them so I can post them here. Meanwhile, have a look at some proper Tumbuk Lada (or Tumbok Lada) for reference.
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Old 4th June 2020, 05:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
In my opinion this is a Sewar, not a Tumbuk-lada. Tumbuk-lada have a significantly thicker hilt with a flater pommel.


Agree with you Marius! And the blade by a Tumbok Lada is broder, the blood groove is longer and better and the area before the tang thicker. Sadly you have shown most examples inside scabbard, I will look if I find examples in my archive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
think it might be rhino. Rhino horn was fairly frequently used for sewars. I have at least one if not two rather muddane sewars with rhino horn hilt and top part of the scabbard.


I really doubt that we see here rhino horn. And it would be the first I've seen until now with a hilt from this material! And I doubt also that mudane sewars has fittings with this material. I am curious to see your example.
Rhino horn was also in old times an expensive material and was only used by high class examples, I've seen and handled a few keris hilts with this material but never by sewars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
horn under magnification has a fibrous structure as it is practically compacted hair.


Exactly.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 4th June 2020, 05:34 PM   #15
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Tumbok Lada blades
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Old 5th June 2020, 01:55 PM   #16
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Hello Detlef,

While some Tumbuk-lada may have wider blades, there are many with blades indiscernable from those of sewars. Yet, they still are Tumbuk-lada because in this case, it is the hilt that has the defining role.

The same goes for example with the Rencong that quite often has a blade absolutely identical to that of a Sewar, but distinguishes by its long, strongly curved hilt.

And here are the photos of a few sewars in my collection. The first one to the left has rhino hilt an upper scabbard. And I have another one that I couldn't find. They are rather small in size (around 23 cm).
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Old 6th June 2020, 08:20 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
While some Tumbuk-lada may have wider blades, there are many with blades indiscernable from those of sewars. Yet, they still are Tumbuk-lada because in this case, it is the hilt that has the defining role.


Hi Marius,

I think that this is your own classification while others seemingly have an other classification, see for example here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=sewar
It's a name game and I guess that hundred years in future will be still a similar discussion!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
same goes for example with the Rencong that quite often has a blade absolutely identical to that of a Sewar, but distinguishes by its long, strongly curved hilt.


Similar discussion, one person will call it rencong with sewar hilt, others sewar. And there are differences between sewar and rencong blades.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
here are the photos of a few sewars in my collection. The first one to the left has rhino hilt an upper scabbard. And I have another one that I couldn't find. They are rather small in size (around 23 cm).


Nice collection of fine sewar examples! Like said, I strongly doubt that the handles and cross pieces of the scabbards are from rhino horn, it would be the first I see! Any close-ups where you can show it clearly?

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 6th June 2020, 08:47 AM   #18
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Here some daggers from my own collection, posted before in the above given thread.
The one in up I would call tumbok lade, handle big (pepper crusher), spine nearly straight, blood groove big and long, round section before hilt very big and round, blade nearly straight.
Second from up a typical sewar, curved slim blade, short tiny blood groove, section before hilt isn't round.
But what are the others? You cant classify ethnograhic blades like coins or stamps, look inside a book and say it's this or this.

You may have noticed that I go mainly by the blades, it's the heart/body of a knife/dagger/sword and with the overall appearance.
You have seen in the given thread that there are different views, all try to classify these lovely daggers but all do it different, who will say that it is wrong or correct?

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 6th June 2020, 09:06 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Rhino horn was fairly frequently used for sewars.


Sorry that I am persistent! Any evidence for this claim?
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Old 6th June 2020, 09:34 AM   #20
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I have seen loads of horn hilts from Sumatra and with most I believe to have sound reason from comparative analyses to regard them as made from water buffalo horn. No doubt, horns from hunted animals will have been utilized, too. However, the latter seems to be quite rare.

The texture (as well as color and translucency) of the horn can vary widely; aged (or rather weathered) water buffalo horn has a very fibrous appearance. This has been widely mistaken as a hint for rhino horn; it hardly ever is though.

Marius, we need close-ups showing the end grain of the horn from your pieces (like the jambiyah/khanjar shown in post #8), please!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 6th June 2020, 09:47 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
The same goes for example with the Rencong that quite often has a blade absolutely identical to that of a Sewar, but distinguishes by its long, strongly curved hilt.


Here you can see the difference between a recong blade (the three examples in up) and a sewar blade (the three in down).
There are examples which could be tricky but still can get identified by it's blades, see for example here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=sewar

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 6th June 2020, 06:26 PM   #22
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Hello Detlef,

It would be very difficult to make photos good enough so one can see the rhino horn structure as I do not have a good camera.

Will give it a try as soon as it will be a sunny day. This weekend is pretty dark and rainy.


PS: Yeah, most rencongs have pretty distinctive blade. Most tumbuk-lada also have a distinctive blade.
Most but not all...
I had a couple of rencong that had exactly sewar blades.

PPS: Have you examined the second one from the bottom in your photo at high magnification?

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Old 6th June 2020, 07:15 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Sorry that I am persistent! Any evidence for this claim?


Same here. Rhino, fairly frequently used for sewars
I am a bit of a newby in collecting indonesian arms, and maybe Detlef hasn't seen that many sewars either

Marius, no day light needed, hold the handle against a strong light source and take some pictures with light shining through. especially the scabbard mouth should be no problem for that kind of pictures.
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Old 7th June 2020, 09:02 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Same here. Rhino, fairly frequently used for sewars
I am a bit of a newby in collecting indonesian arms, and maybe Detlef hasn't seen that many sewars either



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Old 7th June 2020, 09:12 AM   #25
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Marius, have a look to this thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...hlight=thailand

Horn (water buffalo) can show a very fibrous structur when old and weathered, I think you see the same at your sewars but I am nearly sure that it's horn, like said, it would be the first I've seen with rhino horn! Belive me, it's not a common material by sewars!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 7th June 2020, 09:14 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
PPS: Have you examined the second one from the bottom in your photo at high magnification?


Yes, I have, it's not rhino horn!
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Old 7th June 2020, 09:16 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
PS: Yeah, most rencongs have pretty distinctive blade. Most tumbuk-lada also have a distinctive blade.
Most but not all...
I had a couple of rencong that had exactly sewar blades.


Would like to see them when possible!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 7th June 2020, 09:17 AM   #28
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More light this morning sa here are more photos where the hair structure can be seen.
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Old 7th June 2020, 09:33 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
More light this morning sa here are more photos where the hair structure can be seen.


Sorry Marius, exactly what I thought, it's not rhino! Look to the above given thread about my Thai enep, you will see there the same structure. It's old weathered water buffalo horn, not rhino.

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Detlef
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Old 7th June 2020, 09:35 AM   #30
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Compare!
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