Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   This one is for Bill Marsh: what is it? (

ariel 11th December 2006 01:46 AM

This one is for Bill Marsh: what is it?
Just ended.
Seems to me the new owner is Bill's semi-legendary friend Lonna.
What is so special about it?
I am not trying to be sarcastic (I do it occasionally :o ), just genuinely interested.

DaveS 11th December 2006 03:35 AM

Ariel: This is a sword from Timor in the eastern edge of indonesia. there is several styles of hilts and blades, and as far as i know none really has a name. These are pictured in Van Zonneveld plate 566, and the next page shows a native carrying what looks to be the same type of sword. This type of sword is rare and very seldom seen. One of the very few i have been lucky enough to see was at a tribal art show , with a price tag of over $4000.00. I guess there are still some bargains on ebay..........Dave

ariel 11th December 2006 03:53 AM

Well, with a 10:1 profit margin, she can drop the "semi" from her title any time :D
Bill, you associate with very smart people!
And, Dave, thanks for the lesson!

DaveS 11th December 2006 03:56 AM

BTW, i also noticed that there are two or three Timor swords each with a different style of handle on ebay and these have names. I don,t know why Van Zonnenveld doesn't give the names for each handle style.......Dave

VVV 11th December 2006 06:54 AM


I think you can find the names in van Zonneveld if you are thinking about Surik etc?
On your Tanimbar sword have a close look at the bone when you get it.
I have been told that it's not whale bone but dolphin bone used for the handles of those.


CharlesS 11th December 2006 04:22 PM

Bill Marsh and I both learned the hard way two years ago that these swords are currently being reproduced by Balinese artisans, using old material, and copying carving styles. The blades have a much more machined look than the old ones.

I hope this is not a repeat of the same mistakes, but I suspect it is not an old example. Hope I'm wrong.

Bill M 11th December 2006 09:40 PM

2 Attachment(s)
DaveS is Mr. Lonna. The other half of the Semi-Legendary Couple.

True Tanimbar swords are very rare and expensive. I saw one sell at one of the big auction houses for $7,000.

Here is my example. It could be real. Could be. Did I emphasize COULD BE?. Well, might be.

It must have dolphin bone ....

Now, Chumley the dog is real and is alseep next to some Moro armor. He feels safe there.... well, he is not really alseep. Just watching out for Timor dolphins.

DaveS 11th December 2006 09:40 PM

Charles: I hope so too!!!!!!!!!!. But if it isn't an old one it wouldn't be the first time we have been fooled, and it probably won't be the last......Dave.

DaveS 11th December 2006 09:46 PM

Bill: I really think that moro armor would be safer at my house......Dave

VVV 11th December 2006 10:28 PM


You wanted a name on this Moluccan sword.
Local name is kra' silai (kra' means sword and silai has the meaning of duel).
And that's what it's used for by the Yamdena warriors.
(My source is Juynboll, don't speak the local language myself :D )


Dajak 12th December 2006 12:19 AM

Hi I think this is not an old molukken sword
the older ones looks very different and are much more expensive


DaveS 12th December 2006 05:54 AM

Ben: I have to agree, that at that price it is probably a newer piece. However the low price sometimes dosn't mean too much as sometimes people really don't know what they might have. Pictures sometimes fool even know-ledgeable collectors. I told Bill and Ann a story of what happened at a knife show that Cecil Querino and i were doing years ago. A fellow came to my table with pictures of what was an Indonesian klewang. It had hair on the pommel and all the other trimmings that we sometimes see. Upon looking at the pictures, Cecil and i calmly and confidently told the man that this was a gaudy tourist sword, not worth much. The man thank us and went on his way. A year later at the same show this same man came back to my table, this time with piece in hand. When Cecil and i saw it in person we were completly and totaly shocked! This was ABSOLUTELY NOT a tourist piece. It was the real deal, and both of us felt a little bit humbled by the experience. What i learned was not to jump to snap judgements when evaluating a sword from pictures, even good ones because they can be very decieving. I really believe that pictures tell us NOTHING about age, or even condition, as some very old pieces might have been very well kept and not used very much, but old nevertheless. This is why i also think that there are some pieces on ebay that often get passed over as new, when they really are not. I just don't trust making an evaluation as to age anymore based on pictures. Oh well, just my ramblings.............Dave

Dajak 12th December 2006 07:24 AM

Hi DaveS the only cheap molukken sword I did see sell in the years was on artzi site from oriental arms a few years ago .

I did buy myself an nice mandua for a cheap price in my opinnion because the quality was not regcognised and some people did put on a low bid .

but an nice molukken sword is haevy in price I have only one and been trying to get another one


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