A silver mounted court Badek from Celebes
The Badek or Badik is a short stabbing sword or knife which is mostly seen Sumatra, Sulawesi, Madura and Java. As the Sulawesi types have a S-shaped blade, the Javanese blade are more straight and have handles with a less degree angle then the examples from Sulawesi.
Java, 19th century.
Materials: Horn, Silver, Steel, Rattan
An exquisite Badek from Celebes of royal proportions with a very impressive traditional blade. The blade is double edged and well forged out of steel and meteorite nickle. The blade has a nice central ridge which gradually gets thinner near the edge. The beginning of the spine is flat and sharpens towards the point. The traditional folding due to the forging gives a very fine and interesting mixture of pamor; the ”Rambut Daradah” pamor is a so called chosen pamor and cannot be worn by everyone. This type of pamor was meant for a person with leadership quality’s and authority. Underneath the Rambut Daradah another different pamor is visable. The balance point of the blade is excellent, while the Badek is mainly designed for stabbing, it’s also very well balanced for cutting and slicing.
The handle is in typical lop-sided form and carved out of horn. The guard is entirely made out of silver with a fine engraved and hammered floral motif design. The scabbard is made of wooden sheets covered with silver fittings and a decoration of woven rattan and silver which is often seen in Lombok, Bali and Eastern Java. I’ts assumable that this sword has its origins in Celebes because of the type of blade. The foot of the scabbard is made of non-silver plated metal.
This example was made in the 19th century, but the blade can possibly be older.
Conclusion: An excellent example of a Celebes Badek, very likely made for a noble man with high distinction. The combination of the heavy blade with important pamor and quality of the silver craftmanship indicates that this was made for a higher, maybe even royal rank.
Provenance: Private Dutch collection.
Condition: Excellent, minor ware due to use and age.
Handle: 12.5 cm
Hilt: 17 cm
Blade length: 39.2 cm
Blade thickness: 1 cm to 3 mm
Scabbard: 43 cm
Total length: 59 cm
Copyright by Peter Andeweg – 2020
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