A Sumbawa Kabaela with silver scabbard
This sword is attributed to the Islamic Bima Sultanate which had strong alliances with the Buginese and Makkasar people, allthough there was a large presence of Javanese in Bima, the decoration on the silver scabbard shows typical Javanese characteristics.
Sumbawa, Bima – 19th century
Materials: Horn, Steel, Silver
A fine sword from Bima, Sumbawa which is an island north of Bali and South of Sulawesi.
Sumbawa was well known for its natural resources such as sandalwood, honey, horses, sappanwood and the ability to hunt for deer. Sumbawa was ruled by the Bima Sultanate from 1620 to 1956, due to lack of organization and ineffective management, the Dutch were unable to control the island until the early 20th century.
Bima or Kota Bima is the largest city at Sumbawa and was much integrated with traders from Java, Bali and Lombok.
This sword shows typical Javanese craftmanship on the silver scabbard.
The handle is made of horn, curved and decorated with a floral design which is similar to the Banjarmasin region of Southern Borneo. The scabbard is made of wood covered in a low grade Yogya silver and was made in Java. The hand driven floral motives and foliage on the scabbard surounded by waves is very typical for Java. This sword is a perfect example of the mixture of cultures throughout history at Sumbawa. Despite all characteristics from Java and Borneo, the overall outlines tell us this sword is from Sumbawa; the blade broadens towards the point and the scabbard foot and mouth both broaden towards the end whichs is a typical feature only seen on Sumbawa swords.
The blade was traditionally made of multi-folded steel, broadens to the tip and has a single cutting edge.
Condition: Good condition, the blade is a little pitted, but still very hard and had a recent polish. The handle has a crack which is filled up with resin a long time ago.
Hilt: 13 cm
Total length: 56 cm
Source: A. van Zonneveld’s Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago (page135).
Copyright by Peter Andeweg – 2020
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