Place of Origin: Sumatra (Batak)
Date: 19th Century
Overall : 940mm (37 inches)
The design of this sword’s brass hilt, being so redolent of the tulwar type, is widely believed to have been influenced by contact with Indian merchants met via the trade routes. The large bowl-shaped pommel is filled with a natural resin from which sprouts a red-brown tuft of hair—another quite unusual and attractive feature of this rare sword. The tri-lobed quillons are a locally adopted form, and both faces of the hilt are chased with simple line decorations. The blade appears to be of high quality and was also made locally.
Most swords of this type have utilitarian wooden scabbards but, while this example is also made of wood, it is mounted with several silver fittings—all beautifully chased with floral decorations and augmented with silver beadwork and twisted wire. Two large silver loops provide a means for belt suspension. This silver is believed to have been fabricated by Chinese immigrant silversmiths who, in the 19th century, worked in small towns in Malaya and Singapore and produced silver articles for the Straits Chinese community. The chape is stamped with Chinese assayers’ markings implying the fittings are pure silver.