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Old 11th February 2018, 09:32 PM   #1
Ian
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Default Parang latok w/stag horn hilt

When reading Albert van Zonneveld's excellent encyclopedia of Indonesian arms, I ran across a particular statement that the hilt of the parang latok is "always made of wood."

I have had the example shown here for 20+ years and have thought it was a rather refined example of the parang latok, with its brass ferrule and carved stag hilt. Certainly, the blade seemed above average in quality and finish: peaked spine between the hilt and bend, gradually tapering heavy blade, a fuller adjacent to the spine on each side, and a hardened edge. Now I'm not so sure it is a parang latok from the Sea Dayak, but perhaps a similar sword from another Borneo group.

Overall length = 25 inches
Length of blade (to bend) = 18 inches
Thickness of blade in front of hilt is just under 0.5 inches

Can one of our Borneo experts tell me what I have. Is this indeed a parang latok or something else?

Ian.

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Last edited by Ian : 11th February 2018 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 12th February 2018, 05:04 PM   #2
kai
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Hello Ian,

Quote:
When reading Albert van Zonneveld's excellent encyclopedia of Indonesian arms, I ran across a particular statement that the hilt of the parang latok is "always made of wood."

In my edition is written "usually" rather than "always"...

There are quite a few pieces with stag/bone pommels. Many high-end pieces also have exquisitely carved pommels from status wood though.


Quote:
Overall length = 25 inches
Length of blade (to bend) = 18 inches
Thickness of blade in front of hilt is just under 0.5 inches

Can one of our Borneo experts tell me what I have. Is this indeed a parang latok or something else?

Considering the size and relatively plain decoration, I tend to believe yours comes from the "Land Dayak" who called it buko. There are quite a few peoples dwelling in the area and it will need specialist knowledge to really narrow down the origin of this piece.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 12th February 2018, 08:31 PM   #3
Sajen
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Hi Ian,
I am with Kai, I also would call it buko, see here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...&highlight=buko
This one has also a bone pommel. This very nice piece travelled a lot since it was first posted here!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 13th February 2018, 09:19 PM   #4
Ian
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Thanks Detlef and Kai. A Land Dayak buko.

Buko is an interesting Malay word. In Tagalog it means green coconut, and has been variously used to describe the flesh of the green coconut and also the coconut water it contains. The bukong agua is a very refreshing drink on hot tropical days and replenishes a lot of electrolytes as well as providing water.

Do you think the designation "buko" for this sword is related to opening coconuts with it?

Ian
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Old 13th February 2018, 09:35 PM   #5
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Hi how wide is the blade at the point in cm?

Dajak



Angled, largest width <5cm Latok Malay, Melanau


Angled, largest width >5cm Buko Land-Dayak
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Old 15th February 2018, 05:08 AM   #6
Ian
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Dajak:

Thanks for the information. Dimensions of the blade at the three points shown in the picture.

A: Just in front of the hilt
Width = 1.4 cm, Thickness of spine = 0.9 cm

B: At the angle in the blade
Width = 1.1 cm, Thickness of spine = 0.8 cm

C: At the widest point of the blade, just before the spine curves down towards the tip
Width = 4.1 cm, Thickness of spine = 0.35 cm

In each case the blade width was measured at right angles to the cutting edge at that point.

Ian.


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Last edited by Ian : 15th February 2018 at 01:32 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 15th February 2018, 11:40 AM   #7
kai
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Hello Ben,

Thanks for chiming in!


Quote:
Angled, largest width <5cm Latok Malay, Melanau
Angled, largest width >5cm Buko Land-Dayak

I'm always a bit hesitant with rules of thumb since I'd expect that there may be some overlap at most thresholds...

Ian's example is quite slender and 41 mm might be safe enough to accept this as a Melanau piece though? The brass ferrule seems in line with Melanau craftsmanship, doesn't it? However, the very simple bone pommel strikes me as unusual since Melanau pieces seem to have neatly carved pommels.

Blade thickness seems moderate, too. Any idea?

Regards,
Kai
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