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Old 4th December 2005, 07:54 PM   #1
drdavid
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Default Identification please

Hi and thank you for running this forum. I have had this piece in my collection for 30 years but have never formally identified it. There is some damage to the ?resin attachment of handle to blade. It was brought back by a friend from a trip to the New Guinea region, he always called it a headhunter sword, I assumed it was a Dyak?. I would appreciate your expert thoughts
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Old 4th December 2005, 08:04 PM   #2
nechesh
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Looks like a Mandau to me.
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Old 4th December 2005, 08:12 PM   #3
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YOU ARE CORRECT IT IS A DAYAK SWORD CALLED A MANDAU OR PRANG ILANG DEPENDING ON WHO YOU ASK. THERE IS SOME INFORMATION ON THEM IN OLDER FORUM POSTS, YOU CAN SEARCH THERE FOR INFORMATION. THEY ARE MOSTLY ASSOCIATED WITH THE TRIBES OF BORNEO BUT AS THE DAYAKS TRAVELED FAR AND WIDE AND HAD GROUPS ELSEWHERE AT TIMES THEY DO POP UP IN OTHER AREAS. THE FERULE ON THESE IS SAID TO BE MADE FROM WAX OF THE WILD BEES IN THE AREA. I DON'T KNOW IF THAT IS TRUE OR NOT AS I HAVE NEVER HAD ANY TESTED TO SEE SO IT COULD ALSO BE SOME FORM OF PLANT RESIN? THE EXAMPLE YOU HAVE POSTED LOOKS LIKE A GOOD OLD EXAMPLE THAT HAS SEEN ACTUAL USE WHEATHER IT WAS USED IN THE HEADHUNTING DAYS IS ANYBODYS GUESS. IF THERE IS ACTIVE RUST (BROWN) ON THE BLADE YOU MIGHT WANT TO REMOVE IT WITH STEEL WOOL . IF THE RUST IS BLACK AND STABLE YOU CAN KEEP IT OILED TO PREVENT FURTHER RUSTING. A LIGHT COATING OF MINERAL OIL ON THE FIBER AND WOOD AND THEN WIPE OFF THE EXCESS WILL KEEP THEM FROM BECOMING BRITTLE. A NICE OLD SWORD
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Old 4th December 2005, 08:33 PM   #4
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Hey Barry, probably better to be a bit more specific with newbies. Use only the finest steel wool Dr. D if you do work on this blade to remove stubborn rust. They make a #0000 which is the one i would use.
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Old 4th December 2005, 09:51 PM   #5
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OOP'S !! RIGHT YOU ARE FINE STEEL WOOL IT IS , FROM WHAT I CAN TELL IN THE PICTURES IT LOOKS LIKE THE RUST IS BLACK AND STABLE. IF THERE ARE THICK RAISED SPOTS OF RUST ON THE BLADE IT MEANS THE RUST WENT DEEP AND THERE WILL BE PITS SO REMOVING THE OLD BLACK RUST AND PATINA WILL RESULT IN A SHINEY BLADE WITH BLACK PITS. TO REMOVE PITS REQUIRES MUCH MORE ELBOW GREASE THAN I WOULD LIKE TO USE SO I PREFER TO LEAVE SUCH A BLADE ALONE ,JUST STABELIZING IT WITH OIL. IT IS ALSO NEVER WISE TO ATTEMPT TO USE POWER TOOLS ON A OLD BLADE AS IT WILL DO MUCH MORE DAMMAGE THAN WHAT IS USUALLY THERE. I HAVE HAD TO USE POWER A FEW TIMES BUT THAT WAS BECAUSE SOMEONE HAD ALREADY MESSED UP THE BLADE BADLY WITH POWER TOOLS AND IT WAS THE BEST WAY TO GET BACK TO WHERE I COULD DO PROPER RESTORATION BY HAND. THIS COVERS OLD GROUND AND YOU CAN FIND LOTS OF GOOD INFORMATION ON WHAT TO DO AND NOT DO WHEN RESTORING VARIOUS MATERIALS IN OLD FORUM POSTS.
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Old 5th December 2005, 05:59 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, I appreciate the expertise. The rust is all stable with only a tiny bit of surface stuff that will come off with cloth and oil. What really impresses about this sword is the beautiful balance of the thing, it feels exactly right. I had not thought about beeswax as the ferule, I had not realised it could get so hard, although I have seen a variety of tree resins used for 'glue' on Australian aboriginal artifacts. Thanks again
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Old 5th December 2005, 09:33 PM   #7
zelbone
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#0000 steel wool and WD40 works great together...

I agree with the guys here that it's probably a mandau or parang ihlang from one of the Dyak tribes. However, there is a Moro sword called a gayang which is almost identical to the mandau. The gayang is found on the island of Sibutu which is technically part of the Philippines but much closer to Borneo than the main islands of the Philippines. Here you can see the influence of the Dyaks. It's almost impossible to tell the difference between the gayang and the mandau...basically they are the same sword.
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Old 1st December 2019, 10:46 AM   #8
Mickey the Finn
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I've searched for the words "necromancy" and "resurrection" in the Keris Warung Kopi and did not find the results I thought I might, so I feel no misgivings about posting a reply to this post, although in a different forum.
I have a Mandau very, very similar to this one. If I didn't know better, I might have even mistaken your photos to be of my Mandau in better days, before it came into my care and control. As you did not post photos of a "scabbard", I presume you acquired it without one. Mine came with an attached length of weathered yellow polypropylene rope instead of the usual suspension, telltale tack holes from where it was attached to someone's wall, and the concomitant buildup of dust on/in the upper side of the scabbard and it's rattan bindings. The blade and hilt had the appearance of having had an honest working life, and what I suspect may be beeswax applied, presumably as a corrosion prevention/blade preservation measure. After much "surfing" over not much more than four years, I've become convinced that someone, perhaps on the island of Borneo, was (and perhaps still is) a prolific maker of working Mandau, a great many of which are remarkably similar in appearance to the one shown in your original post.
I've read in the past of a specific term used to refer to a more-or-less dedicated working blade of Mandau form, but that term eludes me at the moment.
I would post a photo of my own example, but, in addition to being techno-challenged, I'm lazy and a slob. The last place where I think I remember seeing my semi-functional camera was under approximately four years buildup of unopened mail. It's not that I haven't opened my mail in four years, it's just that every three or four years I carry another heap down to the basement when it exceeds it's angle of repose. [If it's Bad News, it's impossible for it to come to pass as long as the envelope remains unopened].
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