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Old 25th December 2017, 10:50 PM   #1
Ian
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Default Sulawesi bangkung

Here are two knives that resemble the description and line drawing of a Sulawesi bangkung in Albert van Zonneveld's book. The beaten up, lower example came from a GI who served in the Second World War and saw action in the Celebes.

This is very different from the Moro bangkung, being much smaller and more like a working knife, such as a small golok, rather than the Moro sword version.

Ian.


Two Sulawesi bangkung
Top example: Blade = 11 inches, OAL = 14 inches
Bottom example: Blade = 9.5 inches, OAL = 13 inches
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Old 26th December 2017, 01:58 PM   #2
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Hi Ian,

I've ever thought that this are Malay goloks!?

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 26th December 2017, 09:38 PM   #3
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I'm with you Detlef. I forgot about Zonneveld.
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Old 26th December 2017, 10:02 PM   #4
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Hello Ian,

Quote:
Here are two knives that resemble the description and line drawing of a Sulawesi bangkung in Albert van Zonneveld's book. The beaten up, lower example came from a GI who served in the Second World War and saw action in the Celebes.

It does seem true that the word bangkung refers to somewhat medium-sized blades among the Bugis and other peoples from SW Sulawesi - I'm not sure if I really grasp the native definition(s) though? Could it possibly be a fairly broad/generic term resembling golok/bolo?

Like Detlef, I also hesitate to attribute these 2 examples to Sulawesi Selatan. Did this GI also "visit" other places throughout the archipelago, Ian?

It is possible that we do see some Bugis (in a wide sense) cultural influence here - it may be indirect though...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 27th December 2017, 06:54 AM   #5
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Hi Detlef:

The distinguishing features of the Sulawesi bangkung, as shown in van Zonneveld and the two examples above, appear to be the "finger notch" just in front of a very short, down-turned hilt. It is necessary for me to place my forefinger into the notch to hold the knife comfortably.

I do not recall any knives from Malaysia that have such a notch just below the hilt. If you are thinking of "Malay" in a more anthropolgical sense, then some of the knives from Sumba come to mind, as well as the Visayan plamingko and some Bugis badik that have similar notches or cut out areas in that position.

Hi Kai:

The gentleman who owned this knife served in the U.S. Army late in WW II. He enlisted in June, 1944 and saw action in the capture of Morotai (September 1944), a small island to the north-east of the Celebes, which served as a significant jumping off point for the invasion of the Philippines. He was later stationed in the Philippines after the Japanese surrender. He was discharged from the Army in 1946. He told me that he acquired the knife during his time on Morotai.

Ian
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Old 27th December 2017, 10:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
The distinguishing features of the Sulawesi bangkung, as shown in van Zonneveld and the two examples above, appear to be the "finger notch" just in front of a very short, down-turned hilt. It is necessary for me to place my forefinger into the notch to hold the knife comfortably.

I do not recall any knives from Malaysia that have such a notch just below the hilt. If you are thinking of "Malay" in a more anthropolgical sense, then some of the knives from Sumba come to mind, as well as the Visayan plamingko and some Bugis badik that have similar notches or cut out areas in that position.


Hi Ian,

the finger notch is seen also by other short goloks and special by the short version "bedok" from Sunda so I am unsure if this could be called as distinguishing feature, see here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=golok
And we have only a drawing by Zonneveld.

Morotai is ethnologic the same like Halmahera and I have never heard about a great Bugis population over there, similar situation like on Halmahera which I know well. What you can find are a Javanese and Sundanese population.

And yes, I've meant Malay in the meaning of Malaysia and this for the scabbard form from your both examples.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 27th December 2017, 12:45 PM   #7
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Hello Ian,

Quote:
The gentleman who owned this knife served in the U.S. Army late in WW II. He enlisted in June, 1944 and saw action in the capture of Morotai (September 1944), a small island to the north-east of the Celebes, which served as a significant jumping off point for the invasion of the Philippines. He was later stationed in the Philippines after the Japanese surrender. He was discharged from the Army in 1946. He told me that he acquired the knife during his time on Morotai.

Great, it's rare to have a reasonable provenance for ethnic blades!So, unless we discover any evidence to the contrary, I'm fine with accepting that your example was collected on Morotai during WW2.

As Detlef wrote, Morotai does not exactly belong to the Bugis sphere of influence - it's traditionally part of the Ternate Sultanate; this important sultanate's sphere of influence once extended over Maluku towards eastern Sulawesi but declined during the later colonial era; OTOH I'm not aware of any direct Sulawesi (much less Bugis) links nor trade with Morotai during the 20th century. Seems like more thorough research is needed here!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 1st January 2018, 05:55 PM   #8
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Default Does This One Qualify?

Hi All,

I picked up this knife a number of years ago. It doesn't have a hilt but does have a notch at the base of the blade. The designs on the sheath appear to have been made with pen and ink. There are designs on both sides of the sheath and the designs on one side differ from the designs on the other. Based on the designs, I had always suspected that the piece was peninsular Thai but after seeing this thread, I wonder if if it isn't a Sulawesi bankung. After all, the Bugis folks did get around. Blade (including tang) is 12" (30.5 cm) long.

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 1st January 2018, 06:56 PM   #9
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Hello Rob,

Quote:
I picked up this knife a number of years ago. It doesn't have a hilt but does have a notch at the base of the blade. The designs on the sheath appear to have been made with pen and ink. There are designs on both sides of the sheath and the designs on one side differ from the designs on the other. Based on the designs, I had always suspected that the piece was peninsular Thai but after seeing this thread, I wonder if if it isn't a Sulawesi bankung. After all, the Bugis folks did get around. Blade (including tang) is 12" (30.5 cm) long.

Thanks for posting this nice example! I've seen these from knife size to shortsword length with variable blade configurations.

This type is certainly Sumatran: I was going to post similar examples in a separate thread. The inked motifs on the scabbard of yours are of additional interest: This suggests a fairly northern origin! Could you please post close-ups to allow comparison with Aceh style motifs?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 1st January 2018, 07:19 PM   #10
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Agree with all Kai has said. And yes, please provide close-ups from the ink carvings.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 1st January 2018, 07:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Here are two knives that resemble the description and line drawing of a Sulawesi bangkung in Albert van Zonneveld's book. The beaten up, lower example came from a GI who served in the Second World War and saw action in the Celebes.


It does seem true that the word bangkung refers to somewhat medium-sized blades among the Bugis and other peoples from SW Sulawesi - I'm not sure if I really grasp the native definition(s) though? Could it possibly be a fairly broad/generic term resembling golok/bolo?

I have not researched Schroeder's Makassarese and Bugis publications enough to really comment on his drawing (reproduced in Albert's book).

However, Matthes states in his companion dictionary that the word bangkung replaces parang which seems to suggest a fairly broad usage without referring to a specific weapon or blade type. See also the usage in current Bugis publications which doesn't seem to point to any specific type nor a clear-cut definition. While the piece shown by Schroeder may well have been called bangkung by his informants/contacts, I believe we should not fall prey to the logical fallacy that a bangkung in the Makassar/Bugis sense needs to look exactly like this.

It would be great if any of our Bugis forumites were to care to comment, pretty please!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 1st January 2018, 08:43 PM   #12
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Guys,

I wrote to Albert Van Z to see whether he may have had more information. Here is his kind reply:

Quote:
Hello Ian,

The only (very concise) information I have about the 'Bankung' is, what is written on page 30 of 'Traditional Weapons ......', already quoted in your thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=20412

The drawing comes from 'Schröder, C.A., 1874, Ethnographische atlas bevattende afbeeldingen .....'
The accessory text from 'Matthes, B.F., 1874, Boegineesch-Hollandsch woordenboek ......' only says:
"bangkoeng (hakmes)"
[hakmes (Dutch) means chopper]

That is all, I'm afraid.

Best wishes,

Albert
From Albert's additional information, it seems bangkung describes a "chopper." So I think the term is likely describing a heavy-bladed knife (with a belly?) designed for chopping.

Ian.
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Old 1st January 2018, 10:05 PM   #13
A. G. Maisey
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I know nothing at all about bangkungs, and next to nothing about Bugis tosan aji (Jav.), but I do have a copy of "Senjata Pusaka Bugis" -- Ahmad Ubbe, I am unclear on publication date, but it was around 2011-2012.

There is a text chapter where the badik is treated, but Bugis people (apparently) do not name the badik as badik, rather it is named as "Kawali". In this text chapter I can find no mention of a "bangkung/bankung".

But in the photographic chapter of this book that deals with "Kawali" the names used are "Badik & Bangkung". The chapter title is "Koleksi Badik & Bangkung", content of the chapter is a number of photos with descriptions.

In this chapter of collection items, most items using the word "bangkung" are coupled to "badik" :- "Bangkung/Badik". Some use the term "Badik/Bangkung Raja". Only one item is named as "Pusaka Bangkung".

One item is named "Badik/Bangkung Gantara" , but it is a Badik form that I believe most Javanese scholars of tosan aji would claim as Javanese, and its form is not in agreement with the other items named as "bangkung".

The predominant form of the items that use "bangkung" in the name is a slim blade that has a waist and a swelling towards the tip, these blades appear to be slightly longer than normal.

If we then read the text that treats the Kawali known as "Kawali Raja" we find that this text seems to be referring to a Kawali (ie, badik) that has the form and proportions of the Kawali that is mostly named as "Bangkung/Badik".

Wilkinson's Classical Malay dictionary does not list either "bangkung" or "bankung", but it does list "bangkong", given as "a Bugis parang; a short, broad bladed knife". Wilkinson also lists "bengkang, bengkok" which he gives as "crooked".

In Javanese one of the meanings of the word "bengkung/bengkuk" is "bent/curved".

It should be noted that in Malay languages there is a high degree of interchangeability, inconsistency in the use of both vowels and consonants.

Confusing? Yes, I agree, but "Senjata Pusaka Bugis" does need more than the average degree of perseverance to come to terms with its content.

I very strongly suspect that the name "bangkung/bankung" is in fact not a name at all, but rather a description, or at least, was originally a description that may now be accepted as a name.

When I look at the items under discussion here I would have only one name for them:- "golok".

When we use Colonial Era and before sources as references we are walking in a minefield.
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Old 1st January 2018, 11:52 PM   #14
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Hi All,

I will try to take better close-up photos of the sheath but it will need to wait till next weekend when I have enough light.

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 6th January 2018, 06:09 PM   #15
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Hi All,

Here are the best pictures I could get. I took them with an Olympus Pen FE-47 using the macro feature. I also used a tripod. The camera doesn't offer F-stop or shutter speed adjustment but I fiddled with a feature called "exposure compensation" which offers a quasi F-stop/shutter speed adjustment. It is what it is. I hope it will do for ID.

sincerely,
RobT
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Old 6th January 2018, 07:32 PM   #16
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Hello Rob,

yes, I think it's from Aceh.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 6th January 2018, 09:56 PM   #17
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Hello Detlef,

Quote:
yes, I think it's from Aceh.

I'm not convinced - the wood seems not to be the typical one for Aceh.

I hope to get a closer view on the motifs if Rob can email the original files.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 6th January 2018, 10:05 PM   #18
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Hello Rob,

Thanks for the efforts!

I assume you reduced the size of the pics for posting here? Full-sized pictures will allow me to examine details of the motifs. TIA!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 6th January 2018, 10:09 PM   #19
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Hi All,

Sajen,
Do you think the hilt should look roughly like what has already been shown on the other two blades?

Kai,
I would be happy to send you both the original files from the camera as well as JPEGs that I created using Photoshop if you could PM me with brief instructions on how to send a PM and how to add attachments.

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 7th January 2018, 12:36 AM   #20
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Hello Rob,

Quote:
Do you think the hilt should look roughly like what has already been shown on the other two blades?

No, these seem to usually come with another hilt style or two...

Have a look at the attached example: This was sold by Gavin a good while back.


Quote:
I would be happy to send you both the original files from the camera as well as JPEGs that I created using Photoshop if you could PM me

Done - thanks for trying!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 7th January 2018, 01:10 AM   #21
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And here's an example that might be a bit closer to the first of Ian's pieces.
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Old 7th January 2018, 10:36 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
I'm not convinced - the wood seems not to be the typical one for Aceh.


Hi Kai,

really not? I think it's fit!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 7th January 2018, 07:09 PM   #23
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Hello Detlef,

You certainly have a point.

Just saying that I'm not convinced yet. Would like to see more details!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 8th January 2018, 01:12 AM   #24
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Kia,

Thanks for the hilt shots. I copied them for future reference. I also sent you the original photos I took of the sheath. They are much larger files than the ones on the forum.

Sajen,

As your pictures show, the design in the center of the rentjong sheath does look very much like the one on my sheath.

Sincerely,
RobT
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