A Balinese ceremonial knife
These type of knifes were used for cremation ceremonies to cut the rope attached to the deceased person and to cut the fabric which surrounds the statue where the body was layed before it was cremated.
Singaraja, Bali – 19th century.
Materials: Horn, Brass, Gold, Steel
Often called ‘Wedung’ by collectors, but locally named ‘Tiuk Pengentas’ are mostly known from Java, except for this type which is typically from Singaraja, Bali.
The Balinese examples are commonly known for their decoration with brass or gold inlay and typical ‘Naga’ monster on top of the spine as can be seen on the Pinang cutter in our 2019 catalogue here. The swastika (‘Banji’) decoration known as a Hindu symbol represents a connection with the spiritual world. In Bali the main religion of it’s local inhabitants is Hinduism.
The ‘Wedung’ is a knife used for funerary ceremonies. When a deceased person is being cremated, it will be first transported in public with a large procession. The priest cuts the cord of the deceased from the body with the ‘Wedung’, it resembles cutting the person away from earthly life, both physically as mentally.
A fierce and heavy blade, it has comparisons with the Bowie hunting knife, but is of older origin. The blade has a curved cutting edge and flat spine running down to a small floral edge in relief, then slightly curved to the tip. The spine is decorated with a brass ‘Naga’ which is chiseled out of bronze. The hilt is rather simple and faceted into seven sides and made of karbou horn with a brass ferrule mounted over the tang of the blade. The spine has four brass inlayed squares and the fuller is filed and gilded. The right side of the blade has a fine brass inlay motif in relief of ‘Banji’ swastikas. The left side is plain and flat, while the right side has a convex cutting edge.
Condition: Excellent, some minor ware. Fine old patinated blade. Comes without scabbard.
Provenance: Brought to the Netherlands by a Dutch soldier in 1948.
Spine thickness: 9mm
Total length: 42cm
Sources: A.G van Zonneveld ‘Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago” pg.74 nr.287 and pg.153 nr.644
Copyright by Peter Andeweg – 2020
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