Laminated Sumatran Ladingan
Sumatra, Indonesia – 19th century
Materials: Steel, Iron, Silver, Wood (Kemuning).
A fine Sumatran ‘ladingan‘ knife with exquisitely carved hilt and traditional forged blade. The floral carved decoration seen on many Sumatran swords and knives is mostly associated with the 19th century and is stylistically depicting a ‘makara‘ or ‘naga‘ head. It is uncertain to claim a specific origin, since many carvers worked throughout the entire Indonesian Archipel. However, this example could well be from the coastal Sumatra, for example Palembang.
When it comes to the indigenous name of this type of weapon, some would prefer ‘badek‘ or ‘badik‘ due to its short size and straight blade. I personally would prefer the term ‘ladingan‘ due to its widening blade with its recess near the forte. See Volz, reference.
Carved of ‘kemuning’ wood, characteristic due to its contractual stripes. Decorated with very fined carved and patinated foliage, depicting a stylistic version of a ‘makara‘ or ‘naga‘, both widely presented on sword hilts, especially on Sumatra. The hilt was covered with a silver ferrule and was helt to the blade with a strong resin.
Traditionally forged, showing a fine pattern of layered steel. The profile shows a near straight spine ending in a false tip. The cutting edge starts with a recess on the forte and curves slightly forward towards the rounded tip. The blade sows a hardened cutting edge which was packed in folded steel. The forte of the blade shows an unclear stamped mark, which could probably be linked to the sword-smith.
Made of two slabs of wood, with the scabbard mouth elaborately carved in floral motifs and with a carved clip to attach the knife to ones cloths. The scabbard is held together with two, low grade silver bands which fits perfectly with the silver ferrule on the hilt.
Condition: Excellent condition, a respectfully treated blade and fine patinated wooden components.
Blade length: 26.4cm
Blade spine thickness: 7mm
Total length: 37.2cm
Albert van Zonneveld’s ‘Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago‘
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