Makara Gobang Bandung sword
Preanger region, Bandung – 1845
Materials: Horn (Babulus Arnee), Steel, Silver, Iron, Brass, Wood, Rattan
The Preanger area, or as the Javanese call it themselves the ‘Tanah Prijangan’, is a large area in Mid-West Java. This indigenous sword from this region can be placed in the early to late 19th century and is locally called ‘Gobang Bandung’.
They come in different varieties. Mostly with a simple, yet elegant hilt and scabbard, and a wide mouth leaping into a narrow mid section ending in a wide foot. Scabbards are often made of two sheets of wood, covered with rattan and cloth.
The ‘Gobang Bandung‘ is a traditional sword used in West-Java during the 19th century. In fact the ‘Gobang Bandung‘ dates, according to studied examples, from between roughly 1820 to 1870. After 1870 the ‘Gobang‘ disappeared and the more mass-produced ‘Golok‘ from Cikeruh seemed to dominate the arms-manufacture up till the early 20th century. A very few photos from this period are preserved in museum collections where people are supposingly wearing a ‘Gobang‘.
A high class example which probably belonged to someone of significant importance. Dated 1261 in the Islamic calendar which correspondents with 1845 A.D.
Exquisitly carved out of karbouw horn, depicting a ‘Makara‘, a commonly seen mythical creature in East-Asia which is based on ancient Hinduism, the belief which was widely adopted in Java for centuries. The hilt is stylistically build up in fine carved floral motifs ending in a silver ferrule, which is embossed with a diamond-shaped pattern.
Of typical form, often encountered on the ‘Gobang‘, slightly curved, single edged and ending with a false edge towards the tip. The blade is traditionally forged which can be slightly seen in the pattern. The spine has a medial ridge running down the entire blade.
Of traditional form, made of two sheets of wood ending in a wide scabbard mouth and foot. Both end-pieces are clad in fine silver, decorated with fine motifs. The mid section of the scabbard was bound in fine rattan varying in light and dark tones. A fine silver-wire embroidered piece of fabric is placed on top to attach the sword to one’s waist. One fitting in the center is dated ‘1261’ which represents 1845 A.D.
Condition: Excellent, some minor ware on the blade and hilt. The rattan bound scabbard and silk suffered some loss.
Blade spine thickness: 6mm
Blade length: 39.5cm
Scabbard length: 45cm
Total length: 55cm
Provenance: the French Art market
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