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Old 27th May 2023, 09:27 PM   #1
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Default Parang, Java? Old blade?

Javanese name for this sword?

Wondering if anyone can improve on van Zonneveld. Closest match is with this sword on page 134 of Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago labeled “Sword, West Java”. Dense wood hilt, no scabbard. Nice blade with very coarse texture, obvious pamor. Possibly old blade/new hilt? Would this be lumped under “parang”? Thanks!
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Old 27th May 2023, 11:53 PM   #2
A. G. Maisey
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No, not parang, but pedang.

Pedang translates as "sword".
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Old 28th May 2023, 01:14 PM   #3
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Good quality example from western Java, indeed. BTW, I'm quite sure this hilt is from horn.

The Sunda sphere of influence has had a very long and varied history (pretty much rivalling tanah Jawa in East and central Java throughout historic times). As usual, it's not any uniform culture - there are lots of local differences. Thus, narrowing down origins to specific regions and time periods can be as much a challenge as coming up with reasonably specific names.

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Old 28th May 2023, 06:26 PM   #4
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Default Alemeng vs pedang

This post is a good segue into a question that I have pondered over and not found an answer that puts my mind to rest. I believe I believe this inquiry is very relevant to clarify original post's identification. My sub-inquiry is the differences between a pedang and an alemeng. They can have similar blade construction and profile. The handle can be vaguely similar as well. I am not arguing the attribution, but I am asking for more clarification on the subject in general. I have attached some pictures from A. Ubbe, 3 alemeng and 1 kelewng as well because of its tepak kuda style handle. So, my question is I guess what are the major differences between the Jawa and Sulawesi tool/weapon? I see minor differences in blade profile but enough variation in each region that this doesn't seem easily generalized. Do the alemeng generally have a central ridge on the spine, the few pedang I have seen do. I cannot tell spine thickness from the pictures. Does that typically vary by region? The shape of the sweep of the hilt and pommel seem the major difference that I see. Is the Jawa hulu considered a hoof or tail feathers in shape?
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Old 29th May 2023, 03:51 AM   #5
A. G. Maisey
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The difference in names comes from the difference in locations & consequently dress.

We're looking at Bugis terminology & Javanese terminology.

In Central Jawa this blade is going to be called a pedang, in any dress at all it can be called anything else at all in any other place at all.

Names vary from place to place, from time to time and from person to person. The same person can give a different name to the same object on a different day, and/or if it is being used in a different way, or worn in a different way.

In my experience it becomes a pretty pointless exercise to pin an unchanging, nailed down, cast iron name on something, and this does not only apply to weaponry, it is general across almost everything.

Kai has indicated that getting a "specific" name for something is difficult, well, the concept of something having a specific name is dependent upon time, location, place, circumstance, & person. In these societies "specific" means what the person you are speaking with, & what you, yourself, can agree is correct.


Just a bit if clarification, in Javanese a pedang is a sword, a parang is a chopping tool, but today's pedang can well be tomorrow's parang:dad bought himself a pedang to wear when he does guard duty at the kraton, but then he died, junior got the pedang and he used it to clear some scrub so he could build a house, and that's when it became a parang.

In Balinese the word "parang" appears not to exist, but "peding" means "sword".

In Sundanese a "parang" is a farming tool for chopping light scrub,"pedang" is "sword".

In Malay a "parang" is a chopping tool, a "pedang" is a sword.

Both parang and pedang have classifiers, FX, a "pedang suduk" is a stabbing sword in Javanese, a "pedang sabet" is a slashing sword in Javanese, ie, a sabre, and there can be specific forms of each type, but opinions on what is what do vary, as previously noted.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 29th May 2023 at 05:27 AM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 29th May 2023, 06:20 AM   #6
Bob A
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Sounds like the language is rife with nuance, and unspoken yet situation-specific contextual understanding.

Would this nuanced communication be understood by all in the culture, or is it somehow caste-specific? A complex culture, seemingly.
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