A Javanese silver pedang
A very fine example of a Javanese sword, a pedang, likely from Central Java. The Javanese are well known for their craftmanship on silver. The handle is made of good quality silver and is depicting a ”Makara” . These kind of swords are influenced by the European sailors such as the Dutch V.O.C. in the 18th century. This example dates from the late 18th to early 19th century and was likely given present to a dignitary or higher military rank.
These rarely seen swords do not come often on the market, most of them have so called traditionally blades. Made in Java mostly with a combination of steel and iron, which is often described as ‘pamor’, but ‘pattern laminated’ will be a more suitable term. When inspecting this blade, it is clearly visable that this blade is forged in the traditional way with a nice pattern.
The fittings of the sword are an interesting mixture between European and Indonesian styles. The most fascinating part is the sheat silver hilt. Finely decorated with details such as tusks, eyes and hair. The guard is put inwards and has no defensive function, but is actually more a style element to give the hilt a fancy look. Note the engraved decoration on the knucklebow and thumbrest with floral motives. The scabbard is made of two large silver sheets and a fine twisted copper and silver centerpiece. On the side is a suspension hook to attach the sword to a belt.
The Makara is an ancient Hindu seadragon from the ancient Hindu zodiac. The front of the creature is a mamal with tusks and a trunk, the back a fish tail. Makara was the carriage of the Godess of the sea ‘Varuna’ and is often depicted on stone-carvings seen in temples and weaponry all over Asia. Even in Tibet and China the Makara is known, but called ”Chu-Srin”.
One of the better Javanese swords of its kind. A typical result of a cross cultural period. The quality resembles that of a high ranked owner. Little of this type of quality comes on the market these days which makes this a very nice addition to the experienced collector of Indonesian and far eastern arms.
Condition: The sword is in very good condition, especially seen its age. The silver work has some movement on the handle, this is likely because these type of swords were more meant as presentation swords then to be actual battle-ready.
Total length: 61cm
Copyright by Peter Andeweg – 2020
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