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Old 18th August 2017, 10:35 PM   #1
Sajen
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Default My Sumba collection and some observations

Hello dear members,

I try in the moment to catalog my collection with pictures and descriptions and since I've noticed some noteworthy mannerisms by my Sumba blades I've decided to share my Sumba collection and my observations with you.

I'll start with my Sumba shield, called tamua, made from water buffalo hide. It's approx. 66 cm in diameter.
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Old 18th August 2017, 10:47 PM   #2
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Next piece is a Sumba knife, very worn and well used, I don't know if there is a special name for this knives or if it get called like the swords, kabeala. It's 35,5 cm long inside scabbard, 34 cm without and the blade is 22 cm long. Blade is 3 mm thick at the handle. Handle and also ferrule from horn (water buffalo).
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Old 18th August 2017, 11:07 PM   #3
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Next piece is a sword where the handle is shaped like a male human and the scabbard mouth like a horse. The Sumba people are great horsemen so it's clear from where this motive coming. So far I know this type of swords are found around Bondokodi but I don't have any evidence for this. The sword is 74 cm long inside scabbard, 67,5 cm without and a little bit over 3 mm thick at the handle. Handle is made from beautiful grained wood and shows a very nice patination.
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Old 18th August 2017, 11:25 PM   #4
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Next but not last piece is a very classic kabeala like many from you will have seen before and described in Zonneveld on page 59, the blade broadens toward the tip. The handle seems to be worked from the same wood (kemuning?) like the previous example and has a long "ferrule" from horn, by this example not cracked like many times seen. 62 cm long inside scabbard, 58 cm without and 6 mm thick at the base.
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Old 18th August 2017, 11:34 PM   #5
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Last piece is a kabeala with whale bone handle, clearly a sword for someone of wealth. 65 cm inside scabbard, 62,5 cm without and the blade is also 6 mm thick at the base.
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Old 18th August 2017, 11:50 PM   #6
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Before I will tell you my observations (maybe you have seen them byself already) I will show you some other swords from Sumba I don't have in my collection (sadly) but I hope that I can add similar examples in future to my collection.

There is a type of kabeala knives and swords similar to the shown example in post #3 but it shows as handle also a male human but the scabbard mouth is shaped like a female human, a clearly sexual symbol, see pictures from a knife which was sold not long ago by ebay. I've seen this type also as sword.
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Old 18th August 2017, 11:55 PM   #7
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And there is also the rare sword from West Sumba, I've seen only very few from this type, here you can see them byself: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ighlight=sumba
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Old 19th August 2017, 12:15 AM   #8
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And here my observations:
1. all my Sumba blades are not laminated and I can't remember to have seen one with laminated blade. But it seems that the West Sumba swords have laminated blades!

2. all my blades and the most others (exception West Sumba swords) have a cut-out at the edged side of the blade near the handle, it seems to be typical.

3. all scabbards from the examples in my collection have a cut-out at the scabbard mouth on the backside of the handle. Also this seems to be a typical sign for a Sumba sword.

And I can add maybe that the bindings at the scabbards are worked/braided in the same manner.
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Old 19th August 2017, 12:18 AM   #9
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Here the pictures for my second observation.
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Old 19th August 2017, 12:22 AM   #10
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And here the pictures from my third observation.
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Old 19th August 2017, 12:27 AM   #11
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I hope that this thread is from some interest for you and I haven't bored you. You can see that you can collect weapons from a small Island only and can put together a very large collection if you want.
Finally the display at my home!
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Old 19th August 2017, 02:44 PM   #12
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Hello,
I have only 2 knive and one Kabeala, all are recent (between 1945 and 1990) and all in Bondokodi style. But they are never cut-out on the backside of scabbard mouth.
But I noticed that this area is very frequently broken on the scabbards of badik, mandau, kalasan etc... (at least on those that I own).
The cut-out can be made to limit the risks of breakage in this apparently fragile zone of the sheaths.
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Old 19th August 2017, 02:56 PM   #13
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For comparison here are pictures of my
The copper coins on the Kabeala are dated 1945
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Old 19th August 2017, 04:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athanase
....But they are never cut-out on the backside of scabbard mouth.
Maybe a sign for the more recent date of your examples? I think that this cut-out is done to prevent any break you described? The cut-out on my examples is clearly carved and not broken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Athanase
The cut-out can be made to limit the risks of breakage in this apparently fragile zone of the sheaths.
I think that the cut-out at the edge is done to prevent a finger cut by using the knife since there is no guard which can prevent a slide of the fingers from the handle.

Nice collection, also when your examples are more recent!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 19th August 2017, 04:42 PM   #15
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Very interesting!

All the best,

Fernando
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Old 19th August 2017, 04:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F. de Luzon
Very interesting!
Thank you Fernando, I've hoped that it would be of some interest for other collectors!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 19th August 2017, 10:25 PM   #17
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Hello Detlef,

Thanks for posting your nice collection! I agree on all observations but believe we need to be careful with describing old Sumba blades as non-laminated: most likely they are laminated (low contrast and maybe limited welding) or at least likely to sport inserted edges...

BTW, a very nice shield! A pic of the backside would be very kind.

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Old 19th August 2017, 10:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Thanks for posting your nice collection! I agree on all observations but believe we need to be careful with describing old Sumba blades as non-laminated: most likely they are laminated (low contrast and maybe limited welding) or at least likely to sport inserted edges...
Hello Kai,

thank you! The kabeala in post #4 went recently in my hands and coming from an old Dutch collection (collected before 1920) and get recently etched and show only a hardened edge, nothing else, also the two others don't show any sign of lamination. And like said, I've handled some others from old collections, not one I've seen where the blade was laminated. Do you have seen a kabeala with laminated blade? And I only have stated that my ones not laminated and that I never have seen one where the blade was laminated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
BTW, a very nice shield! A pic of the backside would be very kind.
When my time it allows I will take tomorrow a picture from the back side.

Regards,
Detlef

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Old 20th August 2017, 03:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
A pic of the backside would be very kind.
Here you go!
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Old 20th August 2017, 06:54 PM   #20
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Great collection of Sumba weapons you have put together Detlef. The way you have them arraigned on the wall of your home makes for a wonderful display. I especially like the one sword with the whale bone hilt, what a beauty it is. I think that the shield you have is only the third one from Sumba that I have seen. Personally I have only the one sword from West Sumba in my collection, but would like to someday be able to add a few more to keep it company. My only example (like one of the pieces shown by CourseEight in the link you posted) does has a laminated blade. As I have never gotten around to taking new photos of it after doing a little cleaning, will try to do so in the next few days and if you do not mind I will post them here for comparison. Thank you for postings these most interesting pieces not only for everyone's enjoyment, but also for later reference as well.

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Robert
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Old 20th August 2017, 09:01 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert
Personally I have only the one sword from West Sumba in my collection, but would like to someday be able to add a few more to keep it company. My only example (like one of the pieces shown by CourseEight in the link you posted) does has a laminated blade. As I have never gotten around to taking new photos of it after doing a little cleaning, will try to do so in the next few days and if you do not mind I will post them here for comparison.
Thank you very much Robert! And I am more as curious to see your beautiful West Sumba sword how it look now. And thank you for confirming the lamination of the blade from your beauty.

Best regards,
Detlef
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Old 18th June 2020, 12:15 AM   #22
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Has this handle also some relation with the ancestors / family members ?
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Old 19th June 2020, 10:27 PM   #23
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Hi Gunar,

Never seen such a handle by a kabeala, could be an expression of Makara or an other mythical snake head. Most interesting. Would be good to know how old your sword is.

Regards,
Detlef
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