Chinese influenced Sumatran pedang
Indonesia, Sumatra – 19th century
Materials: Horn (Bubalus Bubalis), Silver, Steel, Wood
A fine Sumatran ‘Pedang’ which is the literal translation for ‘sword’. Often found all over Sumatra with their typical carved horn hilts depicting floral motifs. The Sumatran swords are known for their fine detail in silver decoration, as is seen here on our example. The pedang can be distinguished by its slightly curved blade, mostly locally forged with complex pamor designs, or sometimes with imported European blades. However this example does not have a typical Palembang blade, considering its quality I would believe it has its origin in this region.
One of the finer examples with typical shape, no guard and decorated with three silver fittings which are engraved and chased with a variety of floral and scaled wedge section to maintain a better grip. The pommel is deeply carved out of buffalo horn in relief with floral motifs and foliage.
As mentioned above, the blades profile seems of Chinese influence. Similarities can be seen in the pronouncing faux ‘tunkou’ near the hilt. The general curved shape with pointed tip and long fuller running down almost the entire blade can be compared with the Southern Chinese and Vietnamese swords from the late Qing and Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century.
Consisting of two wooden slabs of hardwood with a softer inner sheet. The scabbard mouth and chape are made of ‘karbouw’ horn.
A fine example with slightly worn, yet interesting blade. The blade has traces of ware and rust, but show an interesting forging pattern with a hardened cutting edge. The silver hilt is of high quality with finely decorated silver fittings in combination with a large, exquisitely carved horn pommel.
Very good, some old rust and pitting on the blade, but further excellent.
Blade length: 57.5cm
Blade spine thickness: 1 cm
Total length: 76cm
Point of balance: circa 15cm from the hilt.
– A. van Zonneveld’s ‘Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago’
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