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Old 7th January 2018, 03:50 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Default Unusual Double Piso Halasan

I am not especially sure what the practicality of the combining two piso halasans is, but none the less here is an old combo pair that I believe date to the early 20th century. The pair is identical in the way they are mounted with staghorn hilts and silver alloy bolsters. The blades are also identical, each with nicely tempered edges. The scabbard took some engineering skill since the hilts don't allow for a naturally even back to back fit. The scabbard is hardwood with silver alloy bands and chape.

While I'm not so sure this is a practical combat weapon, and would even have been difficult to fit through a sash belt, I do wonder if it may have been used for some form of martial arts.

The patina of the wood is lovely and the staghorn is nicely patinated too, but more difficult to see in the pics.

Ideas and comments about this oddity are welcomed!

Overall length: 21in.
Blades' length: 13.75in.
Blades' widest point: just under 1in.
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Last edited by CharlesS : 7th January 2018 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 7th January 2018, 04:26 PM   #2
Sajen
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Hello Charles,

very interesting, never seen something similar before. I am curious if someone will be able to add informations.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 7th January 2018, 08:01 PM   #3
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Hello Charles,

Thanks for posting another enigma!

This time I'm more inclined to play devil's advocate and believe we should seriously consider sales to those who travel for pleasure, I'm afraid.

Most piso halasan were first and foremost for status/ceremonial wear.

Ignoring the double feature, the scabbard resembles the standard Karo kalasan scabbard a bit; however it is not of traditional style/decoration, especially for a status piece!

A silver ferrule is again a Karo feature while these are Toba hilts which may have casted brass ferrules (more of a selut than a ferrule for the usual stag hilts though).

The blades should exhibit a hardened edge (or laminated construction) upon etching which is tough to ascertain from the pics. These Karo blades got (and get?) forged well into recent times.

Patina is not a reliable indicator for Batak since early tourist pieces are now way older than 100 years: as mentioned recently, there were non-traditional workshops for the curio market already in the late 19th century...

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Kai
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Old 7th January 2018, 08:06 PM   #4
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P.S.: I should also mention that there is a Batak double knife. However, this seems to be more of a working tool and the blades are not placed alongside (as in Chinese double weapons) but in a row so that both are visible.
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Old 9th January 2018, 12:13 AM   #5
CharlesS
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Being an old tourist piece would be a distinct possibility, but I would think that tourists would be more drawn to more blingy objects than this quite plain thing.

The blades do have tempered edges, and it is best noticeable with the one that is at the bottom of the pic of the 3 pieces shown separately. I did not etch out the blade too darkly...it looked unnatural.

The only thing that draws me away from the tourist theory is the wear to the scabbard and especially the silver bands. They have seen real wear and tear, especially at their edges, just as one might expect form carrying or pushing the scabbard through a belt of some sort.

I suppose if the tourist piece theory is correct, better to have a 100-year-old one and a tacky modern one!!
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