Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 23rd September 2023, 02:20 PM   #1
JeffS
Member
 
JeffS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 308
Default Indonesian sword?

Does anyone recognize this style of sword? It originally had hair from pommel and foot of scabbard. It has an Indonesian feel to me.
Attached Images
  
JeffS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th September 2023, 03:46 AM   #2
JeffS
Member
 
JeffS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 308
Default

Any thoughts?
JeffS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th September 2023, 08:57 AM   #3
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,697
Default

Jeff, this sort of stuff is a bit outside my area of interest, but I have seen similar edged weapons to this that were attributed to Sumatera, Aceh.
A. G. Maisey is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 25th September 2023, 10:19 PM   #4
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 8,453
Default

I've never seen something similar, sorry!
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th September 2023, 12:38 AM   #5
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,697
Default

I said "similar" Detlef, I did not say "the same".

I reckon that you & a lot of other people too might have seen swords & daggers & knives that bear design characteristics and geometry that would fit into the parameters that this sword of Jeff's carries. This is clearly not a major item, it looks like rural workmanship, and as we move away from major centers of influence the easy to ID characteristics soften & blend with the ideas of people who only have perhaps vague memories or stumbling descriptions to work on.

When looking at older items from SE Asia we need to remember things like the travellers' tales of attempting to cross Sumatera by motorbike during the not so distant past, like into the 1950's. A lot of what we take for granted now was very different not long ago. Even places like Bali were very, very different in the 1960's & 1970's. I had personal experience of both rural Jawa & South Bali long before the tourist flood. I'm reading a book at the moment that was written by a long-time Australian resident of Bali, a famous landscape architect, where he regards 1985 as the year when old Bali changed, I personally regard 1982 as the last good year for Bali, and in 1982 it was a lot different to what it was in 1966-7.

In the markets in Bali now we can see the current interpretations of designs from the past, put a 2023 work-knife side by side with a 1970 work knife and a cursory glance will cause one to form the opinion that these two knives are from different places, but spend the time to look closely at design geometry & we will find the same salient features.
A. G. Maisey is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 26th September 2023, 10:05 PM   #6
Jerseyman
Member
 
Jerseyman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 97
Default

I'm no expert, but this feels Nias to me. I had a quick flick through Albert's lastest book (Traditionele Wapens van Nias - Zonneveld) and Type 10 on page 160 has some similarities - enough to perhaps merit consideration.
Attached Images
 
Jerseyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th September 2023, 03:19 AM   #7
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,697
Default

I think this Nias example does qualify as "similar" , slight differences, not the same, but to my eye certainly similar.

Nias is located in the Province of North Sumatera.
A. G. Maisey is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 27th September 2023, 02:32 PM   #8
JeffS
Member
 
JeffS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 308
Default

I really appreciate the discussion. The Nias vibe originally caught my eye and curiosity. However there were hair plugs (since broken off) which is reminiscent of Timor area or Borneo. If I had to choose between the two, Timor. I also understand hair was often added for tourist appeal. The blade quality is decent but overall primitive as noted. The interlocking hilt and scabbard throat is pleasing and well executed.
JeffS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th September 2023, 08:06 PM   #9
Albert
Member
 
Albert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 191
Default

I don't recognize any similarities with Nias swords.
Although the blade looks similar to the sword in the picture in my book, it is a very common shape found in many areas.
The hilt and sheath provide no clues to Nias.
Albert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th September 2023, 09:33 PM   #10
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,697
Default

Albert, I have already stated that this sort of thing is out of my area of interest. On the other hand , it is absolutely within your area of interest.

On this matter, you undoubtedly understand more than I do.

Additionally, my guess at "Sumatera" was based upon 3 or perhaps 4 examples of similar swords that were in the hands of finders (runners, wholesale dealers)whom I had met in Solo & Bali, it was separate professional trade dealers who provided the "Sumatera" ID. These people were not natives of either Solo or Bali, but people whose job it was to search S.E. Asia and then sell to retail dealers.

So this present post is not an invitation to enter debate, all I wish to do is to state what I believe I can see. My guess has a qualifier, ie, "similar", meaning not quite the same, but having a broad, overall character that is almost the same.

There are two characteristics of Jeff's sword that are similar to characteristics of the swords that I have seen and that were identified as having a Sumatera origin, those two characteristics are the stylized ancestor head, forward canted pommel, and the blade form. As you yourself have commented, the blade form of both these swords bears similarities to other swords spread across a wide area.

Now, if i compare the picture of the sword of Nias origin that has been reproduced from your book, with Jeff's sword, I can again see a similar stylized ancestor head pommel, & both swords are similar to this characteristic in the swords I have previously seen.

The blades of the Nias sword & Jeff's sword are not really so close in similarity, but this difference could be due to repeated sharpening of Jeff's sword:- the Nias sword is forward weighted, other than this variation, I would consider both blades quite similar.

Another similarity between Jeff's sword, the Nias sword and the swords I have previously seen is scabbard design & construction.

I have no field experience in Sumatera, thus, based upon my own direct experience I am unable to identify origin of any of the swords I have mentioned, but using only visual comparison with photos on a computer screen & the information gained from professionals in this field of antique S.E. Asian edged weapons I do believe I can see sufficient similarity in the mentioned examples to to take a tentative guess at origin.
A. G. Maisey is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 28th September 2023, 03:38 AM   #11
JeffS
Member
 
JeffS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 308
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert View Post
I don't recognize any similarities with Nias swords.
Although the blade looks similar to the sword in the picture in my book, it is a very common shape found in many areas.
Thank you Albert. The hilt and sheath provide no clues to Nias.
That helps to clear that up. Are hair plugs a clue along with other features for other possible origins? Small tufts from hilt and scabbard foot.
JeffS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th September 2023, 06:02 AM   #12
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 8,453
Default

Hello Jeff, can you show us the hilt with some close-ups?

Regards,
Detlef
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th September 2023, 08:05 AM   #13
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,215
Post

A really interesting piece, Jeff!

From what I can see from the pics, it doesn't seem to have the vibes expected of pieces from Aceh and its backwaters; I can see where Alan is coming from though. Also the details of the hilt and the scabbard don't vibe with Nias as already suggested by Albert.

I'd guess we may have to look towards the eastern part of the island chain.

The blade has a fairly generic shape and seems to be village made as already suggested by Alan.

I agree with Detlef, that we need a close look on the wood carving and other details of the fittings: Could you please provide close-ups of the hilt from all 4 sides and its top? Please also post the corresponding 5 close-ups for the scabbard mouth as well as a pic of its very tip. Thanks!

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th September 2023, 10:04 PM   #14
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,697
Default

Yes Kai, Aceh was a bad thought, obviously wrong. Shotgun approach.

I'm quite certain of the "Sumatera" nomination from these runners, people who did not know one another & who are professionals in their field, but the Aceh did not come from them, it was my shotgun.

Maybe Batak might be better?

I do not have many references on this sort of thing, a long time ago I had some mild interest in these various S.E. Asian sharp-pointy things, but that is ancient history, perhaps somebody might come up with some supportive evidence of somewhere.

I wonder if anybody here has read Centini? There is a passage in it where the chief characters are discussing keris, & one of them says something like "lets go to the market & learn about keris". As far as any sort of object of trade is concerned, it is the market-place that holds the answers, people who rely upon knowledge of what they sell in order to earn a living hold all the knowledge, everybody else is on the outside, just looking in through the occasional open window. If the pasar holds the knowledge, it is the finders who supply the pasar.
A. G. Maisey is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 29th September 2023, 03:44 AM   #15
JeffS
Member
 
JeffS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 308
Default

Apologies for wasting people's time. When I went to clean it for detail photos I found that the upper handle/ferule is plastic (not horn as I thought) and that the black residue is not soot or dirt but some type of synthetic concoction. The blade is real but I think it is safe to assume the rest is fantasy. More tuition fees for me.
JeffS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th September 2023, 04:35 AM   #16
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,697
Default

That's a real disappointment for you Jeff, & I'm sorry to hear it.

Anyway, welcome to the club, we've all been shonked , its part of degree course.

However, when a piece of fakedakery like this appears on the scene, we usually have seen or will see others the same, or close to to it. Speaking for myself only, I have not seen a plastic hilt anything like this one of yours --- & I very regulary see a lot of various examples of fake antique weaponry.
A. G. Maisey is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd October 2023, 09:31 PM   #17
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 4,022
Default

Very sorry to hear that Jeff. As Alan says, we have all been there. I have a drawer of "shame" with the pieces acquired over the years that turned out to be fakes. Not many, but enough to hurt the pride. Hang in there. When you find a real "sleeper" it makes the world seem a whole lot brighter and collecting a lot of fun.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th October 2023, 11:49 AM   #18
werecow
Member
 
werecow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Leiden, NL
Posts: 430
Default

I like the term "oops box" that someone here coined. My oops box overfloweth.
werecow 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

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 09:28 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
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.