Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 14th January 2021, 05:34 PM   #1
Athanase
Member
 
Athanase's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Paris (France)
Posts: 327
Default North Sumatra Klewang

Hello,

I recently found this heavy Klewang, sold as an African machete.
I think it comes from North Sumatra, I have already seen it on the forum or on the internet with painted or engraved scabbard and foliage sculptures on the handle.
Here the model is really very simple, just a weaving of rattan on a wooden handle. There are remains of an old white varnish covered in places with another brown, I think these are later additions made once the weapon arrived in Europe.
The blade is thick and heavy, the total length is 77cm.
Seems like a rare model, but I don't know what culture / people made this type of Klewang. Is there a more precise name than "Klewang"?

Thank you in advance for your comments.
Attached Images
    
Athanase is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 14th January 2021, 07:42 PM   #2
Peter Andeweg
Member
 
Peter Andeweg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Vlissingen, Netherlands
Posts: 34
Default

Nice klewang, its indeed Sumatra, likely Batak. The hilt type is referred to as 'Hulu iku mie' and often seen in combination with this type of blade.
Regards, Peter
Peter Andeweg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th January 2021, 10:02 PM   #3
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 7,240
Default

Yes, agree. It's a Batak klewang. Are you going to remove the paint Séverin?

Regards,
Detlef
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th January 2021, 10:11 PM   #4
Athanase
Member
 
Athanase's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Paris (France)
Posts: 327
Default

I think I will try to remove the varnish on the wooden part of the handle but I dare not touch the rattan.
Why would these Klewang be batak? on those that I saw I only found typical sumatra decoration, but none specifically batak. (except perhaps the overall shape of the handle).
Athanase is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 14th January 2021, 10:14 PM   #5
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 6,203
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Yes, agree. It's a Batak klewang. Are you going to remove the paint Séverin?

Séverin will have to make up his own mind, but this looks like a real "users" to me and that paint seems to have gotten there of it's own accord. Sometimes it's best to leave the history in place i think.
David is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 14th January 2021, 10:22 PM   #6
Athanase
Member
 
Athanase's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Paris (France)
Posts: 327
Default

I've never seen the rattan braiding from an Indonesian hilt covered with paint, (I just see lacquered), that's why I thought it was not local but a modification out of the original cultural context.
Athanase is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2021, 02:53 PM   #7
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,670
Post

Hello Séverin,

Quote:
I think I will try to remove the varnish on the wooden part of the handle but I dare not touch the rattan.

It looks as if the whole hilt (including the disk at the base of the blade - possibly integral to the wooden hilt?) got dunked into some stubborn sort of paint - please confirm. If so, I doubt this was done during its working life. OTOH, painted pommels are known from Sumatra (and the Malay world in general).

If you repeatedly rub the whole hilt with linseed oil (or paraffin oil depending on your preference) over weeks/months, this may loosen up at least some of the paint, especially if it got applied later on already worn-in materials. If it happens to stuck well, it might be modern paint and/or applied to freshly restored rattan braiding.


Quote:
Why would these Klewang be batak? on those that I saw I only found typical sumatra decoration, but none specifically batak. (except perhaps the overall shape of the handle).

I'm with you in not seeing any stylistic details that specifically support any Batak origin; even the hilt shape of the typical sukul jering is quite a bit different.

IMHO, the common attribution to all or any of the Batak groups hasn’t convincingly established yet. We have the names hulu iku mie and hulu/sukul simpul from northern Sumatra (documented by Kreemer during the early 20th century) for this hilt type. There are examples of this sword in museum collections which seem to have picked up in southern Sumatra (i.e. Palembang), too.

I guess that the notion of this blade pattern specifically being of "Batak" origin got stuck in the mind of many collectors based on Albert’s book. Since the nice piece in Fig.268 is from his own collection, I hope he can share its provenance with us.

It's quite possible that this type of sword was known and utilized with some Batak groups; it seems pretty safe to assume that it also was utilized in other regions though.

I'll try to write up some preliminary info from my research when I find a bit of spare time.

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2021, 10:11 PM   #8
Athanase
Member
 
Athanase's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Paris (France)
Posts: 327
Default

For the paint, yes it seems to have originally covered the entire handle.
The rattan braiding must have dried and retracted because it is moving a bit. I was thinking of trying on a small area with turpentine oil.
Athanase is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2021, 10:44 PM   #9
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 7,240
Default

Kai is correct, we have had the discussion before. I guess that Albert was going with Sibeth. See this thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ght=Batak+sword

So it's possible that these swords originated in Palembang. The sword in the above thread has carvings at the handle which look more Palenbang than Batak.

Regarding the paint at the handle, I would try very carefully different agents like alcohol, benzin, acetone and so on. But like said, very very carefully. At the wooden part of the handle I would use the finest steel wool. Oiling like Kai suggests can help lose the paint.
With a clean blade and handle it will look great IMVHO. I don't think that the paint has something to do with its history.

Regards,
Detlef
Attached Images
 
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2021, 10:56 PM   #10
asomotif
Member
 
asomotif's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 2,142
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Séverin will have to make up his own mind, but this looks like a real "users" to me and that paint seems to have gotten there of it's own accord. Sometimes it's best to leave the history in place i think.


I would leave the paint as it is. It looks like old paint and old rattan to me.
Of course it is part of the history of the weapon.
The fact that we do'nt know why it was painted does not change that.
asomotif is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2021, 04:39 PM   #11
Rick
Member
 
Rick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,896
Default

^^^
I agree. Looks like it might be a can of worms.
Once stripped that rattan weaving may need to be replaced; and then what do you end up with; a refurbished antique?

"First, do no harm."
Rick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2021, 05:36 PM   #12
Athanase
Member
 
Athanase's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Paris (France)
Posts: 327
Default

I do not intend to remove the paint on the rattan, because I am too afraid of damaging the braiding.
I'm just thinking of putting some linseed oil on the braiding because the rattan feels dry.
Athanase is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2021, 08:37 PM   #13
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 7,240
Default

I also wouldn't try to remove the rattan, it will move because all is dry. But I would try if it's possible to remove the paint. Only when it isn't possible I would leave it alone. Maybe it's only me but to my feel it's look ugly with this paint, sorry.
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 04:26 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.