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Old 30th September 2010, 05:24 PM   #1
VANDOO
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Smile FINE SWORD, INDONESIA OR MALAYSIAN ?

I BID ON THIS RECENTLY BUT IT GOT AWAY BUT I SAVED THE PICTURES TO SHARE AT LEAST WOULD BE INTERESTED IN ANY OPINIONS ON ITS ORIGIN, IT IS 27.5IN LONG. GOLD AND SWASSA ENJOY!
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Old 30th September 2010, 05:38 PM   #2
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Very nice.

I would say Indonesia, Sumatra.
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Old 30th September 2010, 06:11 PM   #3
Sajen
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A real beauty! I also would guess Indonesia, Sumatra. Thank's for sharing.
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Old 30th September 2010, 06:17 PM   #4
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Beautifull Sumatran pedang!

Besides the suassa and gold thing, I really like the floral carvings on the horn handle a lot.
Very divergent as normally seen (in a positive way).

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Old 30th September 2010, 06:45 PM   #5
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The handle resembles a lot of klewangs attributed to Sumatra and Lombok...
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Old 1st October 2010, 12:49 AM   #6
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I LOVE IT! Love the repousse on the gold. I would bet that the scabbard is a replacement. I agree with the Sumatra attribution, definitely Indonesian.

Question: would this be considered a sultan's piece?
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Old 1st October 2010, 01:39 AM   #7
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Hi Vandoo

It's obviously a klewang.

I would say it could be Lombok Island, as well as Sumara.

Is the handle horn? If so, more likely Lombok, where they really do fantastic carving on horn.

I have a collection of these carvings. Will show soon.

They seem to really prefer horn there on their klewangs, whereas elsewhere (Sumatra) it is more likely to be wood. Also, these very nice ones were usually worn as court swords in the Lombok royal court. Though I've not seen a gold hilt before, I have seen this kind of quality with silver hilts (all from Lombok Island).
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Old 1st October 2010, 02:50 AM   #8
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Ron, do you think the original scabbard would have been wood covered with gold or silver? If so plain or repoussed?

I guess I am asking what the scabbard would look like?
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Old 1st October 2010, 03:41 AM   #9
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THE HILT IS WOOD NO IDEA OF WHAT KIND, THE SCABBARD DOES SEEM A BIT PLAIN TO ME BUT AS I DIDN'T WIN IT I CAN'T INVESTIGATE FURTHER.
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Old 1st October 2010, 04:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VANDOO
I BID ON THIS RECENTLY BUT IT GOT AWAY BUT I SAVED THE PICTURES TO SHARE AT LEAST WOULD BE INTERESTED IN ANY OPINIONS ON ITS ORIGIN, IT IS 27.5IN LONG. GOLD AND SWASSA ENJOY!


Opinons...hmmm, I say bid harder, it is a good looking piece.
I'd would have said East coast of Java to Lombok would be correct, but the chiseling to the forte and the style of repousse say clearly to me Sumatra. All very fine quality!
These are all a mystery at best to me when placing with exactness. Zonneveld shows a similar blade profile as a Pedang III, also noted to have pamor..
Does anyone have any other publications that sort through these styles.

Gav
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Old 1st October 2010, 04:17 AM   #11
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On the good ones I'd expect the whole wood base of the scabbard to be covered in silver.

In this case, it may have been gold to match the hilt. The gold or silver might well have been plain if typical of the genre.

I don't think it would have been just wood.

If the hilt is wood than I think it's likely to be from somewhere other than Lombok, where they really do seem to like their hilts to be buffalo horn.

Of course, I have seen the occasional sword a with wood hilt from Lombok, but not these klewangs. They're generally horn.
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Old 1st October 2010, 04:21 AM   #12
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Hi Vandoo

The hilt actually looks like buffalo horn to me.

It's hard to tell just by looking sometimes. But it looks more like horn than wood. You can't rely on the description either, because most people don't investigate any further. It kind of looks like wood, so they just assume it's wood and describe it as such.
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Old 1st October 2010, 04:36 AM   #13
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Looking at the shading, and the grain, it's almost certain this is buffalo horn.

They apparently boil it before working it.

When I get the chance, I'll try post pictures of the horn hilts I have. I have about 20 Lombok hilts, all figural and quite exquisitely carved.
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Old 1st October 2010, 04:50 AM   #14
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However, I agree with Gav that the chiseling on the forte is also worth noting.

It really is nice work all round.
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Old 1st October 2010, 04:04 PM   #15
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Looking at the shape of the blade, I still would vote for Sumatran.. ;-)
Also I have seen several Sumatran pedangs with horn hilts in the shape as this one, only plain without that beautifull floral design carved in it.
I am still thinking that the handle is horn, as far as I can see on the image, but I can be mistaken ofcourse.
Horn by the way is used on all the islands of the indonesian archipellago. I am not sure if it is correct to say that when it is horn, it probably is Lombok.
In Sumatra also a lot of handles are made of carabao horn...

A friend of mine has 6 of these pedangs in his collection. All with gold and suassa and complete with scabbards.

Two of them have upward curved blades, and the scabbards of those two are both plain wood.

Three of them have a similar scabbard as the one Vandoo posted. One scabbard with no decoration at all, one with a suassa scabbardtip and suassa scabbardmouth, and one with a silver scabbardtip and silver scabbardmouth, and one silver band in between.
But none of the 6 have very highly decorated scabbards with gold as you would think it should have....
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Old 1st October 2010, 06:48 PM   #16
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Maurice would your friend allow you to post these pieces and/or their scabbards?

In the meantime, Maurice the pieces with swassa, were the scabbard top and bottoms repoussed to match the hilt work or were they plain?

Last edited by Battara : 1st October 2010 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 1st October 2010, 07:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Maurice would your friend allow you to post these pieces and/or their scabbards?

In the meantime, Maurice the pieces with swassa, were the scabbard top and bottoms repoussed to match the hilt work or were they plain?
Sorry, can't post the images that aren't mine..

The suassa scabbardpieces on top and bottom are plain, just as the suassa parts on the hilt. The golden sleeve in the middle has nice repoussed floral decorations...
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Old 1st October 2010, 07:32 PM   #18
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The pedang with golden repoussed sleeve and plain suassa ferrule, and the scabbard with silver bands, must be original.

At first sight it looks a bit strange, the silver on the scabbard in combination with the gold and suassa on the handle, but the repousse floral motifs on the golden sleeve and other decorations are the same as on the silverwork of the scabbard....
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Old 1st October 2010, 07:55 PM   #19
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I don't know if this will help any, but i enlarged the section in question and lightened up the surface area some. I can't really blow this up much larger or it starts to pixelate to much.
It still looks like it could go either way, but i lean towards horn here. However i agree with Maurice that horn is a popular higher end material all over Indonesian and i don't think we can place the point of origin based on this choice alone.
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Old 1st October 2010, 11:21 PM   #20
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The indigenous people of Lombok are the Sasak. They are an Eastern Island people, and prior to their domination by Majapahit in the 14th century their culture resembled more the cultures of the Eastern Islands, rather than the cultures of those islands on the western side of the Lombok Strait.

Around 1600 most of the Sasaks had converted to Islam, after coming under the influence of migrants from Jawa and South Sulawesi. In the early 17th century the Balinese from Karangasem invaded Western Lombok and took control of the country, prior to this Lombok had been split up into petty principalities which were constantly fighting between themselves. The Balinese invasion and dominance put an end to this in Western Lombok. About the same time, the Makassarese settlers from the colonies on Sumbawa invaded Eastern Lombok and established their dominance there. By about the middle of the 18th century Bali had managed to gain control over all of Lombok, however, by the end of the 19th century the Dutch had replaced the Balinese as the dominant power.

So, if we look at the cultural influences upon Lombok society we find:- the indigenous Sasak culture, Javanese Islamic culture, Balinese culture, and South Sulawesi culture. The cultural influences to be found in Lombok are the influences that have formed Lombok society and the artifacts to be found within that society.

Now let's have a look at this sword under discussion here.

It has a forward weighted blade intended for slashing, that blade is made by a forge technique that has resulted in what appears from the photos to a construction similar to that found in the blade of a keris, that is, patterned sides on a core, the ricasso has been thickened , squared and notched.

The hilt has a horn pommel with some rather uncomplicated foliate carving, the body of the hilt is metal embossed with a foliate motif and applied twisted wire work, the base of the hilt has a semi guard with rounded edges.

The scabbard has parallel sides made necessary by the widening of the forward weighted blade.

The swords of the Eastern Islands tend to lack the refinement shown in this sword,and the hilt form does not occur in the Eastern Islands, thus native Sasak origin can be discounted.

Swords with broad similarities can be found in Javanese weaponry, but the specific hilt form cannot be found in Javanese weaponry.

This type of sword does not exist within Balinese weaponry.

Neither the hilt form, nor the blade style is found in South Sulawesi, however a similar hilt base can be identified in some South Sulawesi swords.

Djelengga provides illustrations of a sword with a similar hilt profile to the hilt profile of this sword, however, Lombok swords with this type of hilt profile seem to be cut and thrust weapons, not slashing weapons as is this sword.

If we turn our attention to Sumatera, we can find many variations of swords similar to the sword being discussed here:- forward weighted blades intended to slash, hilts of similar profile, blade ricasso with some attention to detail, plain, parallel sided scabbards. Additionally, Sumatera had sufficient population, wealth and power bases to make the possibility of construction of a sword of this quality a probability, as compared with Lombok, which was essentially a deprived backwater.

There is only one thing that troubles me with a Sumatera attribution for this sword, and that is the simplicity of the pommel carving:- it is very, very much below the complexity that we normally encounter in Sumatera examples of this type. I am of the opinion that it is most definitely not Lombok, I tend towards a Sumatera attribution, but because of the anomalous pommel, I feel we may eventually discover that a Malay source, or at least influence, is somehow involved.
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Old 1st October 2010, 11:34 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice
The pedang with golden repoussed sleeve and plain suassa ferrule, and the scabbard with silver bands, must be original.

At first sight it looks a bit strange, the silver on the scabbard in combination with the gold and suassa on the handle, but the repousse floral motifs on the golden sleeve and other decorations are the same as on the silverwork of the scabbard....

You are right. This does sound strange at least to my non-Indonesian ears. So I guess that the above scabbard could be original after all. Interesting..........

I also assume that these pieces are rare?

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Old 2nd October 2010, 12:31 AM   #22
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The pedang/parang/klewang type is not so rare, but the quality of this one certainly is!
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Old 2nd October 2010, 01:48 AM   #23
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Thanks for that informed outline, Alan.

I do not claim to believe this is from Lombok, but was just commenting on the possibility, from my limited experience, and trying to establish the truth through dialogue. I am aware horn is used throughout Indonesia, so of course this does not indicate it is from Lombok per se. It is as you say, probably from Sumatra, for reasons you've outlined.

On a bit of a side point, Lombok may be a deprived backwater, nonetheless I have seen many items with a great deal of craftsmanship attributed to Lombok Island. However, not so much in the area of blade manufacture, as the blades seem relatively ordinary, but certainly in terms of the carving that comes from there, which is very distinctive, and rather different from most of the other islands, perhaps precisely because of the diversity of influences that you've mentioned.

In a sense you are right - Lombok is a bit of a backwater. Culturally, it is quite atavistic. The themes in their art are primitive, with a lot of animist influence. So it being a backwater is precisely why it is of interest. Their artefacts, other than these klewangs, also have their own particular flavour and feeling, which appeals to me anyway.

I will open a thread posting my Lombok horn hilts soon, for those who may be interested.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 02:23 AM   #24
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I HAD OCASION TO VISIT THE SITE AGAIN AND WILL ADD THE TWO OTHER PICTURES. IT WAS LISTED AS INDONESIAN, BEHEADING SWORD, WOOD SCABBARD WITH HORN THROAT AND TIP, METEOR IRON BLADE AND WOOD HILT. THE PRICE WAS WELL BEYOND WHAT I WOULD PAY. I SUSPECT YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT THE HANDLE BEING HORN AS SEVERAL OF THEIR COMMENTS IN THE LISTING WERE OFF.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 02:51 AM   #25
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What site?
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Old 2nd October 2010, 07:55 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VANDOO
I HAD OCASION TO VISIT THE SITE AGAIN AND WILL ADD THE TWO OTHER PICTURES. IT WAS LISTED AS INDONESIAN, BEHEADING SWORD, WOOD SCABBARD WITH HORN THROAT AND TIP, METEOR IRON BLADE AND WOOD HILT. THE PRICE WAS WELL BEYOND WHAT I WOULD PAY. I SUSPECT YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT THE HANDLE BEING HORN AS SEVERAL OF THEIR COMMENTS IN THE LISTING WERE OFF.


That Pamor and tip shape reminds me of the Dua Lanan I have here. These swords from Sulawesi also have simple horn fittings to the ends however this example above shows the throat shape of West Java and Sumatran, Zonneveld figures 557 & 558 for Java and 274, 397 for Sumatra which represents this example best in blade profile and scabbard in my opinion.

Gav
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Old 3rd October 2010, 05:08 PM   #27
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AWESOME

IMO: Sumatra or Jawa
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Old 10th November 2010, 08:04 AM   #28
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just to note a curious fact about these gold/suasa handled swords.

normally these are quite scarce but I have spotted 4 of this kind in a few weeks

however well made it makes me a little concerned.

best regards and take care,

Arjan
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Old 22nd November 2010, 05:48 PM   #29
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I have yet to see any Peninsula Malay weapons with this very distinctive form of hilt design. Especially the foliage ukiran on the hilt. After thinking it through i would say that i could see a shadow of a semblance of a makara form form in the general outline of the weapon's hilt. But that outline is only a semblance of what a makara outline would look like.

As for the blade itself, i would have to agree that it is more akin to what would be found in Sumatera and perhaps lombok. But not likely in the peninsula. The form of the blade, especially the markings and the pamor combination is just something that i have yet to see there.

There is just something rather odd about the combination of the blade, the markings on it and the hilt form and decoration on this weapon.
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Old 11th April 2011, 02:53 AM   #30
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Was just reading in Van Zonneveld's Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Arhchepalego , and I came across this type of sword which he called a Sumatran pedang (type III), page 102. He also stated that this type of sword often has a bare wooden scabbard, even when the hilt has silver on it (has a picture of it too).

Interesting stuff.
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