West-Javanese Gobang Bandung
Region: West-Java, Pranger area, Indonesia
Period: 19th century
Materials: Steel, Iron, Wood, Rattan, Fabric
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‘.
In original shape as seen most on these swords, made of a fine ‘Kayu Pelet’ wood which is considered sacred in Javanese culture. It shows a slight curve with a steep end. The blade:
The curved blade is traditionally forged with a fine laminated forging pattern on which nickel was included to make a fine contrast pattern through the entire blade. A fuller was applied just underneath the spine and starts from the forte ending near towards the tip. The fine forge folding pattern is an utter aesthetically pleasing feature and shows great craftsmanship from the blacksmith. The cutting edge is hardened and sharpened and shows a different type of construction compared to the center of the blade.
Condition: Excellent, both wooden hilt, scabbard and the blade are in good condition with some minor ware due to age. Well preserved.
Hilt length: 12.6cm
Blade length: 50.2cm
Blade spine thickness: 8mm
Total length: 65.5cm
Provenance: Dutch private collection
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