An old Beladah Belabang
The Beladah Belabang, or in Western collector terms better known as the Parang Nabur, is one of the most iconic weapons of Kalimantan, South Borneo and were all made in the 19th century.
These swords were influenced by Islamic and European swords, such as the navy cutlass from the Dutch and the Islamic scimitar.
South Kalimantan, Borneo – 19th century
Materials: Steel, Iron, Brass, Rattan, Wood, Buffalo horn (Bubalus arnee bubalis)
The Sultanate of Banjarmasin was an important center of weapon production in the first half of the 19th century. A description is found in A. Hendrik’s “Iets over de wapenfabricatie op Borneo” in 1842, where the smith’s techniques were described that these blades were polished upon completion with stones, oil and a fragment of shark skin. This blade is in excellent condition with only some slight discolouration of the forging, but further rock hard and solid with a nice Kalimantan style floral tip.
The hilt resembles, as mentioned before, European characteristics. The knuckle bow is very elegant as well as the thumbrest. The handle is made from carved buffaloo horn and nicely carved for a good grip with a decorated edge pattern. The pommel is attached to the handle with a brass nut. The scabbard is decorated with Berlin silver fittings and rings, rattan bindings and a brass chain to hang the sword to the waist.
Curved with double edged tip. Extremely sharp, it seems the edge was sharpened before. The flat spine ends up in a small protrusion towards the curved edge ending up in a typical floral design often seen on these type of swords. The blade has three fullers, two running down the entire blade and one ending at the protrusion on top of the blade.
The forte is decorated with a gold inlayed ‘Baduh’ magic square, just like this Beladah Belabang from my private collection.
Condition: Very good, some movement on the knucklebow, but not disturbing. The blade was sharpened at some point long ago, signs of scatches in the blade. The blade has is slightly bend on the upper area. In very good condition with nice patina.
Blade spine thickness: 8mm
Total length: 73cm
– A. Hendrik’s “Iets over de wapenfabricatie op Borneo” in 1842
– A. van Zonneveld – Traditional weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago page.99
Copyright by Peter Andeweg – 2020
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