Moluccan Pade from Ceram
Southern Moluccas – Ceram region – 19th century
Materials: Wood, Horn, Steel, Iron, Rattan, Rayskin
While most of these ‘Klewang‘ types are generally known as war-sword of the Toraja, many are ethnographically attributed to Ceram, a South Moluccan island.
A generally accepted term for these swords is ‘Pade‘ and is characteristic due to its blade profile emphasizing its pronounced cutting edge and gravity point towards the tip. Sword like these were used in battle among the tribes in both Celebes and the Moluccas. It proved to be excellent for headhunting and slashing enemy shields. Considering the guard, the rattan bounding and the rayskin grip, I will attribute this sword to the Moluccas.
A carved wooden handle with pronounced ends to hold the hand while experiencing impact from a powerful blow. The hilt is partially covered with a piece of unpolished rayskin to maintain a firm grip. The carved buffalohorn guard is attached with iron clams and rattan which protects the owners hand during battle.
Blades were often imported from Celebes and show a fascinating pattern, as can be seen on our example here. The forte is rather slim and long, ending in a wide blade with false edged tip. A very fine welding pattern shows throughout the entire blade. The weight of these blades was placed towards the tip, which makes the sword ideal for slashing and cleaving.
A very scarce kind of weapon which was ment for war, the combination of a high contrast blade, guard and rayskin-covered hilt makes it a very aesthetically pleasing ethnographic object.
Condition: Very good, a natural old patina and excellent condition, Pade swords don’t have scabbards. The pommel could have had an human hair tuft attached, which is most likely, but uncertain.
Blade spine thickness: 10mm
Blade length: 54.5cm
Total length: 77.5cm
Provenance: The Dutch art market
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