Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 2nd November 2021, 05:24 PM   #1
Godfried
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Den Haag Holland
Posts: 19
Default Question about the scabbard of a mandau

Dear people, I am new here on the forum. I have been collecting Mandau's for several years now. I am now trying to figure out the symbols and motifs on the scabbard and handle of some of my mandauís. As far as possible I am trying to find out the meaning and/or native name of the scabbards of photo-1 and photo-2. Who can help me.
Attached Images
  
Godfried is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2021, 12:06 AM   #2
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,772
Smile

Welcome to our forum, Godfried!

You definitely are located in the best country for collecting Dayak pieces!

Albert started with some classification approaches for motifs in his recent book "Traditionele wapens van Borneo. De uitrusting van de koppensnellers. Deel III, zwaarden en messen" - I'm sure you have this resource. Still lots of work needs to be done due to the overwhelming diversity (not to mention migrations, cultural cross-fertilization, and influences from coastal Malay communities including truly international melting po(r)ts like Banjarmasin).

Finding names will be tough and likely change a lot from one settlement/clan/culture to the next. It might be much more relevant trying to identify the origin of a mandau first - if feasible. This certainly needs detailed discussions (and lots of pics from all angles for each piece).

Some of our core contributors on things Borneo have participating a bit rarely in recent times - maybe posting some good/interesting/variant pieces gets them out of their caves eventually...

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2021, 02:04 AM   #3
Godfried
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Den Haag Holland
Posts: 19
Default

Hi Kai, thanks for your reply. I know Albert . I spoke to him on Sunday at the "Tribal Art Fair" in Amsterdam.
The Mandau's are known to me. Nr-1 is a Mandau of the Long Glat (upper Mahakam) late 19th,c.. And Nr-2 is a Mandau of the Kayan also late 19th,c. I think the motif of photo-1 is the tumpal motif, but I'm curious if the circle represents the sun (surya) or a dashed head. Photo-2 is either just decoration or a stylized image of something. But of what.
Attached Images
 
Godfried is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2021, 02:29 AM   #4
Battara
EAAF Staff
 
Battara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,843
Default

Welcome to our little forum!

The section of number 2 is a stylized aso, or dog-dragon. It is of the face with the teeth.
Battara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2021, 02:48 AM   #5
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,772
Default

Right, Josť. Towards the bottom of #1 is an even clearer Aso to be seen.
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2021, 02:56 AM   #6
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,772
Wink

From what little can be seen, #1 seems considerably older with also better quality carvings than #2.

Godfried, if you decide to post more pics, I'd suggest to start dedicated threads on a single piece each for more focused discussions.

Comparative threads are fine, too, and serve different purposes (like getting an overview or discussing specific details).

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2021, 08:11 AM   #7
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Room 101, Glos. UK
Posts: 3,700
Default

Someone here once told me it is common for them to buy plain grips and scabbards from the makers, and carve them to suit themselves. Some are better than others. MIne, the owner started a few leech outlines on the upper panel, then gave up.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by kronckew; 3rd November 2021 at 08:31 AM.
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2021, 03:56 PM   #8
Godfried
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Den Haag Holland
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara View Post
Welcome to our little forum!

The section of number 2 is a stylized aso, or dog-dragon. It is of the face with the teeth.
O.k. Thank you !
Godfried is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2021, 12:04 AM   #9
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,772
Post

Hello Godfried,

Quote:
I know Albert . I spoke to him on Sunday at the "Tribal Art Fair" in Amsterdam.
Sure thing - from the quality you're collecting at, I assume you've been in direct contact with some of the long-time Borneo collectors!


Quote:
The Mandau's are known to me. Nr-1 is a Mandau of the Long Glat (upper Mahakam) late 19th,c..
I agree - very typical example with excellently preserved blade! I'd assume that this piece entered NL pretty early.


Quote:
And Nr-2 is a Mandau of the Kayan also late 19th,c.
This blade exhibits considerably more wear and might have been collected later; I'd also guess the scabbard is a later replacement during the 20th c. as it often happens with blades in active service.


Quote:
I think the motif of photo-1 is the tumpal motif, but I'm curious if the circle represents the sun (surya) or a dashed head.
Yes, this is a very legit consideration - SE Asia is full of tumpal motifs. Of course, this motif itself is a reference to a multitude of associated interpretations (Mt. Meru, tree of life, etc.).

Regarding the circle: Interpretations throughout the archipelago are rarely if ever limited to a single meaning. Don't ask binary "or" questions - just use "and"...

BTW, there also seems to be a chance that it has a spiral connotation if you look at the lower/distal part.


Quote:
Photo-2 is either just decoration or a stylized image of something. But of what.
Certainly not "just" decor - pretty much anything has a connotation...

Some motifs (aso, leeches) tend to be quite obvious while others can be much more challenging to discern. Especially the floral elements can sometimes hide larger motifs - these are often only visible with extensive experience, i.e. training of the eye.


When looking into these details, I'd strongly suggest to look a lot into all kind of "Dayak" carvings, inked decor on tolor, tattoos, etc. Some motifs seem to be very widespread while others may be much more restricted in space and/or time. Considering the wide geographic scope, vast ethnic diversity, and extensive cultural evolution over time, such an extremely valuable project would be a really huge task! What have you been able to glean from the long-time collectors so far?

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th November 2021, 02:00 PM   #10
Godfried
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Den Haag Holland
Posts: 19
Default

Hello Godfried,

Quote:
I know Albert . I spoke to him on Sunday at the "Tribal Art Fair" in Amsterdam.
Sure thing - from the quality you're collecting at, I assume you've been in direct contact with some of the long-time Borneo collectors!

No not really. Some correspondence about a certain symbol on a Mandau and a discussion with Albert about a Mandau of mine made of meteorite steel. (I will post that discussion on the forum soon).

Quote:
The Mandau's are known to me. Nr-1 is a Mandau of the Long Glat (upper Mahakam) late 19th,c..
I agree - very typical example with excellently preserved blade! I'd assume that this piece entered NL pretty early.

Round 1900 from a dutch officer in the army

Quote:
And Nr-2 is a Mandau of the Kayan also late 19th,c.
This blade exhibits considerably more wear and might have been collected later; I'd also guess the scabbard is a later replacement during the 20th c. as it often happens with blades in active service.

Could be.

Quote:
I think the motif of photo-1 is the tumpal motif, but I'm curious if the circle represents the sun (surya) or a dashed head.
Yes, this is a very legit consideration - SE Asia is full of tumpal motifs. Of course, this motif itself is a reference to a multitude of associated interpretations (Mt. Meru, tree of life, etc.).

Regarding the circle: Interpretations throughout the archipelago are rarely if ever limited to a single meaning. Don't ask binary "or" questions - just use "and"...

The circle in the middle is not round but interrupted. The raised edges of the Tumpal motif have "teeth" on the inside. That makes me curious what it is exactly

BTW, there also seems to be a chance that it has a spiral connotation if you look at the lower/distal part.

In any case, the spiral has many meanings. That often makes it very difficult for me to estimate the correct meaning.

Quote:
Photo-2 is either just decoration or a stylized image of something. But of what.
Certainly not "just" decor - pretty much anything has a connotation...

Some motifs (aso, leeches) tend to be quite obvious while others can be much more challenging to discern. Especially the floral elements can sometimes hide larger motifs - these are often only visible with extensive experience, i.e. training of the eye.

That's why I joined this club, in the hope that experts can tell me a bit more about it

When looking into these details, I'd strongly suggest to look a lot into all kind of "Dayak" carvings, inked decor on tolor, tattoos, etc. Some motifs seem to be very widespread while others may be much more restricted in space and/or time. Considering the wide geographic scope, vast ethnic diversity, and extensive cultural evolution over time, such an extremely valuable project would be a really huge task! What have you been able to glean from the long-time collectors so far?

I did. Nieuwenhuis, Shelby, Carl Bock Hose and McDoughall etc all read.
In 1982 I was invited to one of the last "Gawai Kenyalang" parties on the Baleh River. And in 1993 I made an authorized expedition ( sponsored by the Ministry of Forestry of Indonesia and Holland and the World Wildlife Fund
with 3 other westerners and native porters from Upper Mahakam to Bandjarmasin following Carl Bock. I have only started collecting mandaus for the last 4 years.
And indeed during my stay in Sarawak and Borneo (a few times) I visited many longhouses and saw many Dayak objects and indeed the diversity is enormous.
But here on the forum there are many more people who know a lot more about Mandau's than I do.


Regards,
Kai
kai is offline Report Post Reply With Quote
Attached Images
 
Godfried is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th November 2021, 09:01 PM   #11
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,772
Post

Hello Godfried,

Apologies, I did not saw your reply! Keep posting and the moderators can get you off probation status which helps to keep the flow of discussions...

Your responses are a bit tough to differentiate from mine. In the reply window you can select/highlight any piece of text and hit the citation button (yellow icon with text in it): This will place quotes around the cited text and allows to respond to sections separately (you can even keep several layers of quotes, if needed).


Quote:
Quote:
Sure thing - from the quality you're collecting at, I assume you've been in direct contact with some of the long-time Borneo collectors!
No not really. Some correspondence about a certain symbol on a Mandau and a discussion with Albert about a Mandau of mine made of meteorite steel. (I will post that discussion on the forum soon).
I'm looking forward to seeing that piece! Mandau blades with contrasting pamor are known - most seem to originate from the coastal regions though (Malay/Indo influence like in Kutai, Banjar, Brunei, etc.).

BTW, most of the bold pamor throughout Indonesia was not achieved by utilising meteorite but usually constructed from iron ores with different amounts of trace elements.


Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Nr-1 is a Mandau of the Long Glat (upper Mahakam) late 19th,c..
I agree - very typical example with excellently preserved blade! I'd assume that this piece entered NL pretty early.
Round 1900 from a dutch officer in the army
Thanks, always good to know pieces with established provenance!


Quote:
The circle in the middle is not round but interrupted. The raised edges of the Tumpal motif have "teeth" on the inside. That makes me curious what it is exactly
Yes, that I was referring to regarding it possibly being a spiral, too. OTOH, these circles often exhibit 2 gaps as well...

I don't think those are teeth - usually those tumpal are partly filled with what might be considered floral motifs; a tumpal aka Mt.Meru is associated with vegetation. Not sure if such connotations hold true for Borneo though.


Quote:
Quote:
BTW, there also seems to be a chance that it has a spiral connotation if you look at the lower/distal part.
In any case, the spiral has many meanings. That often makes it very difficult for me to estimate the correct meaning.
As mentioned, it will likely be several meanings rather than a singular "correct" one. It may usually be tough to impossible to establish the meaning(s) envisioned by its carver.


Quote:
That's why I joined this club, in the hope that experts can tell me a bit more about it
We're all learning together - no expert can claim to know it all.


Quote:
Quote:
When looking into these details, I'd strongly suggest to look a lot into all kind of "Dayak" carvings, inked decor on tolor, tattoos, etc. Some motifs seem to be very widespread while others may be much more restricted in space and/or time. Considering the wide geographic scope, vast ethnic diversity, and extensive cultural evolution over time, such an extremely valuable project would be a really huge task! What have you been able to glean from the long-time collectors so far?
[I]I did. Nieuwenhuis, Shelby, Carl Bock Hose and McDoughall etc all read.
Good start - continue and keep asking questions as well as making own observations; at this level of detail much needs to be done I believe.


Quote:
In 1982 I was invited to one of the last "Gawai Kenyalang" parties on the Baleh River. And in 1993 I made an authorized expedition ( sponsored by the Ministry of Forestry of Indonesia and Holland and the World Wildlife Fund
with 3 other westerners and native porters from Upper Mahakam to Bandjarmasin following Carl Bock. I have only started collecting mandaus for the last 4 years.
That's quite a trip (took CB about a month of travel)! I'd probably have opted for Schwaner's trip (or a full transversal if enough funding).

In the eighties we started to see large-scale devastation advancing into the remote interior. Sadly, things have only gone worse and worse and resulted in heavily compromising if not completely destroying the livelihood of all traditional inland communities...


Quote:
And indeed during my stay in Sarawak and Borneo (a few times) I visited many longhouses and saw many Dayak objects and indeed the diversity is enormous.
Yes, it's a vast island with rugged terrain and a lot of old ethnic groups that kept evolving culturally - it might be better to avoid referring to "Dayak" and be as specific as possible.


Quote:
But here on the forum there are many more people who know a lot more about Mandau's than I do.
We certainly appreciate some impetus to discuss things Borneo more often since some of the regular core contributors left for good (Ben, feel free to chime in whenever you get bored! ) or just got busy with life/family/you-name-it... Any initiative to start discussions here is most welcome!

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 03:52 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.