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Old 22nd March 2012, 05:03 PM   #1
colin henshaw
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Default Dayak mandau

Hi

Could any Borneo specialists tell me about this recently acquired mandau please. Age, area of origin etc...

Usually the ones I see are missing the small knife.

Many thanks in advance.
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Old 25th March 2012, 11:28 AM   #2
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Any ideas on this item ?

Thanks.
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Old 25th March 2012, 02:26 PM   #3
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I am far away to be an expert for mandaus but to my eyes it look like an authentic good mandau with very nice carvings at the scabbard, blade seems simple but good worked. Good that the piso raout is still present.
Hope that Willem, Maurice, Michael or Arjan jump in to tell you more about your mandau.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 25th March 2012, 03:15 PM   #4
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Although i'm not an expert either, something tells me that this nice worked out mandau is more recent. My guess is that this one is used for dancing purposes.
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Old 25th March 2012, 06:09 PM   #5
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This Kenyah tribe mandau isn't very old, but looks very complete with the beautifull carvings on the scabbard, tufts of dyed goathair, ratan belt and simple blade.

Kind Regards,
Maurice
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Old 26th March 2012, 04:04 PM   #6
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Many thanks for the information on the mandau.

Can anyone recommend some good reference books on Dayak/Borneo material ?

Regards,
Colin
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Old 29th March 2012, 06:53 AM   #7
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I am always a little reluctant to put dates on mandaus.

However, mandaus of similar style and craftmanship are depicted in a Swiss book : "Aufschlussreiches Borneo, Der Geologe Wolfgang Leopold in Niederländisch-Indien 1921-1927" (Zürich 2011)

So this mandau could date to pre ww2.

Best regards,
Willem

PS, this one is better than those in the book. especially the scabbard
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Old 30th March 2012, 05:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
I am always a little reluctant to put dates on mandaus.

However, mandaus of similar style and craftmanship are depicted in a Swiss book : "Aufschlussreiches Borneo, Der Geologe Wolfgang Leopold in Niederländisch-Indien 1921-1927" (Zürich 2011)

So this mandau could date to pre ww2.

Best regards,
Willem

PS, this one is better than those in the book. especially the scabbard



Many thanks for the information on the mandau, Willem. It ties in with what the auction house said - that it was from descendants of an English family, who had travelled overseas in the early 20th century....

This Dayak ? mask, was also part of the group - can you tell me anything about it please ?

Regards
Colin
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Old 30th March 2012, 07:06 PM   #9
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Hello Collin,

That is a rather unusual mask. Not a type that I know.
Do you have a picture of the back ?

Ps. here a picture of the mandau from the bookI mentioned.

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 30th March 2012, 09:24 PM   #10
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Hello Colin,
to my opinion your mandau is very well from the 1920's and originates from the Sarawak (;English side of Borneo) from the Iban-tribe, which I see from the so-called 'elbow-carvings' (which suppose to be leeches).
Often pieces, under which mandaus, where made and carved on order by the Chief with the special intention of giving them to special friends/important visitors. Hence the very nice details (but slightly unpractical) on the sheath and the lack of usagepatine.
Best regards,
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Old 31st March 2012, 08:57 PM   #11
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Dear Collin,

The mandau that I posted for comparisson is collected by Wolfgang Leupold in North East Borneo near the Kayan river.
The white/red/black coloured goat hair is in my opinion quite typical for the kayan and kenyah tribes.

If you check a map with various tribes from Hornbill and Dragon (B. Sellato 1992) you see that kayan and kenyah tribes are neighouring tribes of the Iban.
The leech pattern is found a lot on Kayan /Kenyah carvings but is indeed also found a lot on Iban scabbards and other tribes.

Your mandau may well have been collected in Sarawak (the english provenance being an inportant hint ) but I would not call it Iban as Wouter does.
maybe a matter of different 'mores', different opinions

All together it is a very nice example in prestine condition.

Ps. looking forward to the additional picture of the mask.

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 1st April 2012, 12:45 PM   #12
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Willem

Many thanks for your input - here are some images of the back and side of the mask. The ears (one missing) and nose are attached separately with nails. Can you find anything similar in your books etc ?

Is it correct to say that art styles in Borneo could vary from tribe to tribe, as in Africa for example ?

Kind regards
Colin

Indianajones

Many thanks for your input, also. It could be assumed that the British collectors visited (or were colonials ?) in the northern or British part of Borneo. But of course, this may not have been the case. As mentioned above, can you give any guidance about different art styles etc to be found within Borneo, if they exist ?

Kind regards
Colin
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Old 1st April 2012, 09:41 PM   #13
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As Willem mentioned, the mandau Willem depicted was collected by Leupold, in the North East part of Dutch Borneo, upriver the Kajan..
According the book, the sword (and the three others that are depicted in the book) are typically for that region.

the Kenja's in the Sarawak area had other kind of mandaus....

Maurice
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Old 2nd April 2012, 06:49 PM   #14
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DO OTHER TRIBES BESIDES KAYAN/ KENYAH USE THE SHORT DYED GOAT HAIR DECORATION ON THEIR MANDAUS?
HOW WIDELY SPREAD IS ITS USE IN BORNEO IS IT FOUND IN MALAYSIAN AND INDONESIAN BORNEO AS WELL AS BRUNI.?
I ASSUME IT IS MOSTLY FOUND ON SWORDS USED FOR CEREMONY OR PRESENTATION NOT FOR EVERYDAY USE. A FEW PICTURES OF EXAMPLES FOR COMMENT.
PICTURES OF SEVERAL EXAMPLES BOTH RECENT AND OLD. ONE PICTURE FROM OLD BOOK 1928 WITH MANDAU AND THE TYPE HAT WORN WITH IT.
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Old 2nd April 2012, 08:25 PM   #15
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Hi Colin (and Willem )
having a second look it may be more Kenyah as Willem (and others corrected me; the using of the different color hairtufts are more done by Kenyah.

I have collected and studied Dayak material (comparisson) for years and as anywhere else in the world Borneo also consists of many (actually) different tribes -collectively called Dayak- with each their own styles, religions, habits and carvingtraditions. Although through migration and near borders these differences mingle, but . . . .one can still very much distinguish from an object with carving or a particular style from which area it orginates in Borneo.

To give a very short impression;
Kenyah=very busy artstyle (as your carved scabbard)
Kayan= more archaïc style, classic
Bidayuh/landdayak= floral forms, quite different style.
Bahau/Penihing= often carved 'horselike'-mouths or heads are popping out (as do the 'elbows')
etc

Vandoo; yes the Naga's on the mainland are also famous for their elaborate use of white and red-dyed goathair, mainly for objects used in war or ceremonies indeed. I personally havent got any pics at quick hand. Perhaps others.

Best, Wouter
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Old 4th April 2012, 04:23 AM   #16
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HERE ARE TWO PICTURES OF DAYAK WARRIORS WITH SWORDS WITH THE SHORT DYED GOAT HAIR ON THEM. THE PAGE WITH TWO PICTURES WAS DATED 1933 DON'T KNOW WHICH TRIBE.
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Old 4th April 2012, 08:50 AM   #17
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Many thanks to those who commented on this piece. Wouter, thanks for the information summary about Borneo tribes - most helpful.

This is what I like about ethnography and the material culture - always more interesting things to learn.

I checked on the internet for the book "Hornbill and Dragon", but it seems very expensive...

Regards
Colin
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Old 5th April 2012, 08:46 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indianajones
I have collected and studied Dayak material (comparisson) for years

May I ask which sources you used for your study?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Indianajones
and as anywhere else in the world Borneo also consists of many (actually) different tribes -collectively called Dayak- with each their own styles, religions, habits and carvingtraditions. Although through migration and near borders these differences mingle, but . . . .one can still very much distinguish from an object with carving or a particular style from which area it orginates in Borneo.

I agree with the first part but about the last part I fully disagree. Therefore a lot of study will be needed from old museumcollections, old private collections and old books/articles/drawings/images.
Though a lot of museumpieces are not documented correctly. So a lot of homework will be needed, finding out who collected it in Borneo, and than find sources about the person trying to nail down the area of a piece. Than it's still very tricky... But when several sources from different collections point out at one area, one could assume you're on the right track...
Therefore it's very hard to explain ethnographic weapon collecters in general in a few words to nail down origine of their mandaus, as you can see in previous mentioned lines.....
And the trading of parts (blades/handles/scabbards) were also done. You do need some knowledge about which tribes visits which tribes and also which tribes were in war with other tribes, which can sometimes be found in very little quotations in very old books...
So I definately won't agree it's very much distinguish to point out an area as you say!
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Old 5th April 2012, 01:12 PM   #19
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Not that I am interested in this sort of thing these days but I have to say how nice it is to see pre WW2 pictures of this type of Mandau. So often I have been swayed but the rather erronious views of the conserative Mandau/Borneo speciallists, somewhat spoilling the joy of a find. They certainly have very good blades.
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Old 5th April 2012, 11:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons
Not that I am interested in this sort of thing these days but I have to say how nice it is to see pre WW2 pictures of this type of Mandau. So often I have been swayed but the rather erronious views of the conserative Mandau/Borneo speciallists, somewhat spoilling the joy of a find. They certainly have very good blades.

That's just the point here what I tried to say. It isn't always that easy to give perfect views about these weapons.
Sometimes it's very clear and obvious, but sometimes it could be a mix or it's just that divergent that it isn't that simple anymore...
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Old 6th April 2012, 05:48 PM   #21
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Hi Maurice,
to my opinion the only or most reliable studymaterial are old pictures with preferrably people wearing items and from books which are about specific expeditions, so one knows the placenames are correct. Cataloges and museumbooks are often not correct.
Besides that one cannot rely on just one picture with a name but at least three. Books as from Nieuwenhuisen, Hose, Mjoberg, Dragon n Hornbill were quite informative to my opinion.

Trading and raiding did take place and especially the iron blades where traded as also jungleproducts as hornbillivory and deerantler. Though I dont think personally that mandau taken from the slain enemy were just worn without any modification (by its new owner). I reckon the mandau is among the most important symbols worn by a tribesmember that he belongs to a particular tribe (or clan).

Even from the appearance I can often see from what area this particular person comes from.
Example; the two pictures posted by Vandoo are from a Kelabit-tribesmen <the one with the child> and the other from South Kalimantan somewhere close to Ngaju <as the mandauhandle is Ngaju-like>.
I would like to say; test me. . . .! Though ofcourse there are always a few exceptions to the rule.

Best,
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