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Old 23rd July 2017, 01:24 PM   #1
mariusgmioc
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Hello,

I just aquired a few new blades and among them is the rencong in the photos. Both, hilt and scabbard, appear to be made of bone and the blade, while strong blade is integral with the bolster. The blade was obviously heavily corroded and roughly cleaned so I cannot discern any traces of lamination.

Total length in scabbard is 37 cm (14.6").

Blade length is 17.5 cm (6.9").

Any comments will be welcomed!
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Old 23rd July 2017, 02:09 PM   #2
kai
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Hello Marius,

This is a later example, probably from the second half of the 20th century.

The blade is reasonably done but shows the flow of lines and details of, say, the post-WW2 period.

The hilt and scabbard show more differences compared to antique examples. The floral decoration seems more of a general Malay style and I'm not convinced these were crafted in Aceh. There was (and still is) quite a local Chinese/Malay industry in Medan producing old-looking pieces for the curio market.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 23rd July 2017, 04:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Hello Marius,

This is a later example, probably from the second half of the 20th century.

The blade is reasonably done but shows the flow of lines and details of, say, the post-WW2 period.

The hilt and scabbard show more differences compared to antique examples. The floral decoration seems more of a general Malay style and I'm not convinced these were crafted in Aceh. There was (and still is) quite a local Chinese/Malay industry in Medan producing old-looking pieces for the curio market.

Regards,
Kai


Thank you Kai for your comments. Yes, the rencong is definitely quite recent, as you said post WWII.

Had no idea about the hilt and the scabbard as I am not familiar with the traditional patterns.

Thank you once more!
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Old 24th July 2017, 03:08 AM   #4
Battara
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I must back up what Kai says about the later make.
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Old 24th July 2017, 06:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I must back up what Kai says about the later make.


Thank you!
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Old 24th July 2017, 06:29 PM   #6
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Hello Marius,

is this the original picture from the auction? When it is I think that it is older as before suggested.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 25th July 2017, 12:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Hello Marius,

is this the original picture from the auction? When it is I think that it is older as before suggested.

Regards,
Detlef


Hello Detlef,

Yes, that is it! The original photo from the auction house.

Marius
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Old 25th July 2017, 01:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Yes, that is it! The original photo from the auction house.


Hello Marius,

I disagree with the others, I think that the receng in question is pre WWII. And sorry, the auction picture is more meaningful. The statement from the auction house (1920) seems to be a good guess IMVHO.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 26th July 2017, 11:29 AM   #9
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Hello Detlef,

Thanks for adding the pic!

The auction house didn't gave any support for their estimate - with them confounding horn and bone, I don't see any reason to put much trust in their descriptions...

The blade is quite nicely done, indeed. However, it does show the flow of lines and details of later rencong; also note the forging flaws at the bolster. It may predate WW2 a bit - however, much more important is that it does appear to be made by an Aceh bladesmith.

BTW, the Chinese/Malay souvenir industry in Medan was already in full swing by the late 19th century! I'm pretty sure the fittings were done there (post-WW2).

Still, the genuine blade certainly makes this later example collectable.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 26th July 2017, 11:50 AM   #10
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Yes, the descriptions of weapons from Indonesia by that auction house are quite often a little bit adventurous.
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Old 26th July 2017, 01:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Thanks for adding the pic!


I think it's more meaningful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
The auction house didn't gave any support for their estimate - with them confounding horn and bone, I don't see any reason to put much trust in their descriptions...


I also don't put any trust in descriptions from auction houses but sometimes they have a reason for the age guess, would be worth to call them and ask for any background knowledge they may have. I was going with the patination the blade show at the auction house picture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
The blade is quite nicely done, indeed. However, it does show the flow of lines and details of later rencong; also note the forging flaws at the bolster. It may predate WW2 a bit - however, much more important is that it does appear to be made by an Aceh bladesmith.


Agree with you that the "file" work is different from antique blades, maybe a sign that it is maybe not done by an Aceh smith? We don't will be sure about this point. The forging flaws you can find also by antique blades, see attached picture from one of my pieces: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=rencong

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
BTW, the Chinese/Malay souvenir industry in Medan was already in full swing by the late 19th century! I'm pretty sure the fittings were done there (post-WW2).


So why it can't be pre WWII?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Still, the genuine blade certainly makes this later example collectable.


Agree complete with you, it's a nice piece which show, that there was already early a small "tourist knife" market with well done pieces. I have a very nice worked Batak rawit where I am sure that it is worked for tourists since I've seen a lot other examples in exact the same style. BTW, I bid on this recong as well, but much lower.

Best regards,
Detlef
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Old 26th July 2017, 02:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav
Yes, the descriptions of weapons from Indonesia by that auction house are quite often a little bit adventurous.


Hello Gustav,

yes, agree, sometimes you have to laugh but sometimes it was maybe the reason to catch great blades for small money.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 29th July 2017, 07:35 AM   #13
kai
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Hello Detlef,

Quote:
I think it's more meaningful.

I really hate these "artistic" pics of many auction houses and sellers. While they may be pleasing (and usually done with professional equipment), they often hide "features" that would otherwise be more obvious. Marius pics were certainly important to verify the true shape of the blade.


Quote:
I also don't put any trust in descriptions from auction houses but sometimes they have a reason for the age guess, would be worth to call them and ask for any background knowledge they may have. I was going with the patination the blade show at the auction house picture.

Marius, maybe you want to send them an email? The blade doesn't seem to show any wear and I don't see any patina that necessitates placing this into the first quarter of the 20th century.


Quote:
Agree with you that the "file" work is different from antique blades, maybe a sign that it is maybe not done by an Aceh smith? We don't will be sure about this point.

The duru seuke as well as the taku rungiet and the other features at the bolster are traditionally done; only the shape of the blade and the "greneng" are of a clearly modern style which took a while to develop in Aceh: first the quality of the rencong deteriorated and then the stylistic changes set in during the first half of the 20th century.

I'm quite positive that the blade is Aceh workmanship; the blades which I suspect to be made by other cultures are those gruesome examples with wax resist etching in pseudo-Arabic "calligraphy"...


Quote:
The forging flaws you can find also by antique blades, see attached picture from one of my pieces

Definitely. If we exclude those which may have become visible upon continued corrosion, major flaws are really rare though.


Quote:
So why it can't be pre WWII?

It's an estimate - I won't quibble about some years. Yet I'd like to see any solid evidence.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 29th July 2017, 09:41 PM   #14
mariusgmioc
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Thank you very much for your comments!

I honestly am less concerned about the age of the pieces I collect... as long they are well crafted and in a traditional way.

This piece is certainly well crafted but it seems in a more modern style.

Is this style the result of a forced attempt to make the knives more marketable or did it come naturally, as fashion changed?
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