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Old 2nd December 2023, 12:45 PM   #1
Sajen
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Default Is it a jimpul, help needed

Hello dear members, I have just purchased a Dayak sword and I am a little bit unsure how this sword would be called properly.

Pictures from the seller, more and better pictures when I have received it.
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Old 3rd December 2023, 01:35 PM   #2
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It certainly looks like a jimpul to me. There is a specimen with a somewhat similar blade profile shown in Albert Zonneveld's book "Traditionele Wapens van Borneo - Deel III: Zwaarden en Messen" on page 84 (though with two "steps" in the profile of the tip and a few more decorations along the spine).
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Old 3rd December 2023, 02:04 PM   #3
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Thank you for your comment! Yes, this example is similar. But it's certainly not a classical jimpul.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 3rd December 2023, 05:57 PM   #4
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As the two swords look rather similar to me, I'm not clear on why one would not be a "classical" jimpul.

It's also unclear to me which would be referred to as Classical. Could you please shed more light on the issue?
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Old 3rd December 2023, 06:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob A View Post
As the two swords look rather similar to me, I'm not clear on why one would not be a "classical" jimpul.

It's also unclear to me which would be referred to as Classical. Could you please shed more light on the issue?
Hello Bob,

I am not an expert by Dayak swords and sometimes it's difficult to name them correctly, see for example here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ghlight=jimpul

What I would call a classical jimpul look to the attached pictures taken from other threads.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 3rd December 2023, 10:29 PM   #6
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Hello Detlef,

How about a Gayang ? Or a Tilang Kemarau ?
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Old 4th December 2023, 01:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif View Post
Hello Detlef,

How about a Gayang ? Or a Tilang Kemarau ?
Hello Willem,

I've considered both, but I am quite unsure about them too, as there are differences between these types too. But as I said, I'm quite inexperienced with Borneo swords, so it's not for nothing that I asked for help!
What would you say?

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 4th December 2023, 11:44 AM   #8
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What sets these three (jimpul, gayang, tilang kamerau) apart? Is it to do with the tip shape? Curvature? Decorative elements?
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Old 4th December 2023, 10:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by werecow View Post
What sets these three (jimpul, gayang, tilang kamerau) apart? Is it to do with the tip shape? Curvature? Decorative elements?
I've had a hard working day behind me but I will look for examples to show the differences. I think it's a mixture of all.

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Detlef
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Old 7th December 2023, 05:13 PM   #10
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Two possible "gayang" examples I found here in old threads. Both are from Charles Saunders.
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Old 7th December 2023, 05:15 PM   #11
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And here two possible examples of "tilang kemarau".
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Old 9th December 2023, 05:20 AM   #12
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Detlef,

I think there are many similar swords shown here, and in other threads of the forum, with variously attributed names. Perhaps the different names reflect the usage of different tribal sub-groups for essentially the same sword, but with minor differences in embellishments or style of blade. To me, they come from a common family and were likely used in a similar fashion. Jimpul seems to be the most common term used to describe these swords, and I personally would settle for that designation, knowing that there may be alternative names based on subtle differences or geographic/ethnic preferences. For those of us outside the culture of origin, it may be extremely difficult to learn the subtle, and perhaps not very important, differences in terminology.
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Old 13th December 2023, 09:23 PM   #13
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Thanks for the examples Detlef. I must say I agree with Ian in that I'm going to have a harder time than usual telling these apart.
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Old 14th December 2023, 02:35 AM   #14
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Sorry, being a bit late to the party!

Looking from a distance, you may classify a car as a SUV. Manufacturer, model, age, etc. will make quite a difference for someone interested in cars though.

Bornean swords can be quite a challenge: Subtle details can make quite a difference! And examples in text books are not rarely misattributed. IMHO, it's important trying to place them into a multidimensional space not only including ethnic (sub)group, blade type, hilt style, etc. but also considering historic timelines and estimated age when classifying any specific piece. There are oddballs and cross-over pieces, too.

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Old 14th December 2023, 02:38 AM   #15
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Hello Detlef,

Quote:
I have just purchased a Dayak sword and I am a little bit unsure how this sword would be called properly.

Pictures from the seller, more and better pictures when I have received it.
More pics would be good - I hope it's arriving soon!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 15th December 2023, 12:41 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai View Post
... IMHO, it's important trying to place them into a multidimensional space not only including ethnic (sub)group, blade type, hilt style, etc. but also considering historic timelines and estimated age when classifying any specific piece. There are oddballs and cross-over pieces, too.

Regards,
Kai
Kai, I agree with you. If someone has a special interest in these particular swords, then it may be worth the effort and time to try to understand the various local names that may apply. The question comes, at what point does this attempt become a "name game." For the collector with a somewhat passing interest in such items, such as myself, I'm pleased others are willing to try to sort this out but I'm also content to recognize the swords here as simply jimpul.
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Old 17th December 2023, 04:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Detlef,

I think there are many similar swords shown here, and in other threads of the forum, with variously attributed names. Perhaps the different names reflect the usage of different tribal sub-groups for essentially the same sword, but with minor differences in embellishments or style of blade. To me, they come from a common family and were likely used in a similar fashion. Jimpul seems to be the most common term used to describe these swords, and I personally would settle for that designation, knowing that there may be alternative names based on subtle differences or geographic/ethnic preferences. For those of us outside the culture of origin, it may be extremely difficult to learn the subtle, and perhaps not very important, differences in terminology.
Hello Ian,

As Kai already wrote, it's interesting for me to find out more about the sword in question, which ethnic group it's come from, ect.
For example, when we talk about swords from Mindanao, we also try to assign them to a specific ethnic group. I think in this case it's not much different.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 17th December 2023, 04:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by werecow View Post
Thanks for the examples Detlef. I must say I agree with Ian in that I'm going to have a harder time than usual telling these apart.
Thank you as well! Me too but I like to learn!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 17th December 2023, 04:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
For the collector with a somewhat passing interest in such items, such as myself, I'm pleased others are willing to try to sort this out but I'm also content to recognize the swords here as simply jimpul.
I really doubt that it's a jimpul.
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Old 17th December 2023, 04:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai View Post
More pics would be good - I hope it's arriving soon!
Hello Kai,

It arrived and here are some pictures taken this morning. In the meanwhile I doubt that it's an antique example from the 19th century, I guess that it's pre 1900 with a later scabbard, therefore it may be difficult to place it correctly.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 17th December 2023, 04:50 PM   #21
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Some more pictures.

Dimensions:

overall: 68,5 cm
blade: 53,5 cm
9 mm thick at the spine behind the handle
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Old 17th December 2023, 10:02 PM   #22
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Hi Detlef,

Whatever it may be called, it is a very nice sword and I agree with your dating that it appears to be a 19th C example, probably with an updated scabbard. The fuller and file work are well done, and a nice thick blade.
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Old 18th December 2023, 01:54 PM   #23
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Thank you Ian!
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Old 19th December 2023, 01:56 AM   #24
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Thanks for the pics, Detlef!

Yes, the scabbard is modern - my guesstimate would be after WWII. Later scabbards seem even harder to place than antique examples.

The blade obviously ticks some boxes well. I have some uneasy feelings though: My main problem is how the krowit seems to be carved out of the base of the blade a bit like an afterthought and resulting in this narrowing width. I don't think this blade is from the 19th century.

The hilt seems to have some age. The carving is on the rougher side of things which fits the region; the grip braiding also seems genuinely old. To me that the copper "coin" is more recent (or horribly butchered from anything but TLC). Thus, this sword possibly being a composite also needs to be considered.

All in all, I guess it might be fair to classify it as a jimpul. IMHO it might be more of a revival piece rather than an original from the transition period in the late 19th century.

Let's see what others comment on this piece. Possibly the scabbard may help to narrow down the ethnic (sub)group it last got utilized by?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 19th December 2023, 11:55 AM   #25
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Hello Kai,

Thank you for your comment! I agree with you that it isn't a 19th century sword like I stated already in post #20. But I doubt that the krowit is a later addition and the blade has definitely seen some action, there are several nicks at the edge.
But you are correct by the scabbard, it's for sure much later as the sword and I occur with your dating.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 21st December 2023, 08:48 PM   #26
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On the subject of jimpul vs gayang, vs tilang kemarau, I'm mostly ignorant, but I have been told (by someone way more knowledgable than I) that this Borneo sword of mine is a tilang kemarau.

Have fun,
Leif
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Old 21st December 2023, 10:51 PM   #27
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Hello Leif,

An interestingly sword! Sadly many Borneo experts post only sometimes, for me it would be interesting to distinguish between the three curved swords from Borneo.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 21st December 2023, 11:17 PM   #28
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Just to add to the discussion. I chatted with Charles Saunders on this topic some time ago while discussing the gayang below, and this was his reply (posted with his permission).
Quote:
[The gayang] Always a very heavy blade, most have a slight curvature, but the real difference is the chiseling on the last quarter of the blade towards the tip. You can see how very different they look from a mandau. They come from the region that we know today as Brunei this one has an extraordinary blade with a clear Muslim influence in the forum motifs running along the top of the blade.

The tilang kamarau is an Iban sword . It’s unique feature is that it is always a curved blade with a unique fuller and with a “stab-able” tip. A jimpul should always have a tip that turns down so abruptly that it is not “stab-able”
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Old 21st December 2023, 11:42 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
Just to add to the discussion. I chatted with Charles Saunders on this topic some time ago while discussing the gayang below, and this was his reply (posted with his permission).
Thank you Jeff (and Charles) for the very useful information! Considering this information I guess my sword is a tilang kemarau. But still not 100% sure!
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