An Iban Sea Dayak Jimpul
Indonesia, Borneo, Sarawak, Iban Dayak – 19th century
Materials: Antler, Rattan, Wood, Steel, Hair (Homo sapiens), Shell,Fabric, Resin, Glass
The Dayak people are the main inhabitants of Borneo, Indonesia. The Dayak is a gathering term for several tribes. This ‘Jimpul’ belongs to the ‘Iban’ (Sea Dayak) and is one of the traditional Dayak swords used for headhunting and as machetes in the forests of Kalimantan.
The people from Borneo use a variety of edged weapons. The most iconic are the ‘Parang Ilang’, also known as ‘Mandau’, the ‘Jimpul’ or ‘Parang Djimpu’ and the ‘Langgai Tinggang’.
The ‘Jimpul’ is an intermediary form between the ‘Parang Ilang’ and the ‘Langgai Tinggang’ dating from around 1870. The blade of this machete has flat sides and is distinctly curved. Widening towards the point, ending in a rounded tip. An interesting feature on this example is the presence of a ‘Piso Raut’, A small side knife for utilitarian use.
As mentioned above, flat on both sides in contrary to the Mandau blades, which are concave on one side. The blade has a curled motif on the beginning of the blade, known as ‘Krowit’ (Caterpillar). The curved blade ends in a rounded tip with a nice decoration of curved motifs. The forte is decorated with floral motifs and has a fuller running towards the false edge.
Carved of antler horn depicting a combination of leaches and scrolls. These leaches are called ‘Lemetak ‘ and represent the squishing of blood of which the infamous headhunting is seen synonymous. The hilt is decorated with a tuft of human hair and has a rattan binding to hold grip. The hilt end was covered in ‘Damar’ resin to hold the blade and hilt together. The human hair-tufts in the hilt proclaim succes in combat.
Made of two sheets of wood, finely carved and bound with complex rattan knots. A side scabbard made of treebark was attached on the back of the wooden scabbard. Ment for the ‘Piso Raut’. The scabbard has its original rattan lanyard to ware the sword around the waist. On the same rattan lanyard a fabric cord was attached with two tassels made of polychrome glass beads and a shell. The latter could be a later addition.
Condition: Excellent, one rattan knot is partly missing. Good old patinated piece with original glass beads attached.
Blade length: 49.5cm
Blade spine thickness: 9mm
Piso Raut: 32.2cm
Total length: 64cm
– Michael Heppel’s ‘Iban Art, Sexual Selection and Severed Heads’ p.125-129
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