Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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ariel 19th April 2006 07:21 PM

Piso Podang?
Despite being called Persian, I maintain that it is a Piso Podang from Sumatra.The handle is very strange: it looks almost like Piso Padang but the eaglehead pommel and the absense of a cavity are intriguing.
Any thoughts?

Ian 19th April 2006 07:27 PM

Ummmm :confused: -- is that the correct link Ariel?

Rick 19th April 2006 07:30 PM

Wha ... ?
1 Attachment(s)
Ariel , did you pick the wrong link ? :confused:

That's no Piso podang .........

Here's an unusual variant .

ariel 19th April 2006 07:58 PM

Mea culpa.
Rick, your pic is correct.
Here is the correct link.

Rick 19th April 2006 09:25 PM

I thought that might have been the one that you meant ( I was unaware the auction had ended ) .
A Brother sword hilt in white brass ?
This makes the third example of this style of piso hilt that I have seen .
The blades always seem to vary and I can see this blade is quite pitted .

ariel 20th April 2006 01:28 AM

Well, we might have found a new pattern.
Any ideas about it's origin and the meaning for the difference?
The cavity is supposed to have ritual significance; why isn't it present here? What about the Eagle? Isn't it one of the avatars of Vishnu? Piso Podang came to Sumatra from India (see Elgood's book).

Ian 20th April 2006 01:51 AM


Might this not be a depiction of garuda?


Rick 20th April 2006 02:09 AM

Absolutely no idea about the hilt symbolism .
Could be Garuda ....... < shrugs >

One of our members once told me that it resembles an indo military sword ; but There is no consistency in the blades ; mine has a finely forged native blade with very good temper and a hardened edge .
I got mine from a Canadian Seller on Ebay years ago .

Until we know more I think this hilt form will remain a mystery .

Ian 20th April 2006 02:24 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Depiction of garuda on the Indonesian Coat of Arms.


Rick 20th April 2006 02:38 AM

One would think that if this is an Indo military sword there would be many examples around .
Also , why the Piso/Batak type quillons when they are Sumatran and many are Christian etc. ?
Mercenaries ?

A Batak regiment ? :confused:

CharlesS 21st April 2006 03:28 PM

Definitely a piso podang. I saw one at the Las Vegas show that was very similar.

I think Ian's point about the garuda is a very good one.

mmontoro 21st April 2006 03:54 PM

I think Garuda, too. Here's another pretty common example that I've seen referred to as a Garuda hilt.

Rick 21st April 2006 04:20 PM

What puzzles me about this piso hilt form (let's accept that it is garuda) is that there are no other figural types of piso hilts that I know of .

I wonder ; was this hilt form supplied to a certain group of Batak ; possibly Mercs for the government ?

If this was the case I would expect uniformity of blades and hilt materials . :confused:

ariel 21st April 2006 04:38 PM

And what about the absent "inverted cup" cavity?

Ian 21st April 2006 07:16 PM

Indonesian nationalism
Indonesian independence was proclaimed on August 17, 1945. Departure from the traditional cup hilt for a more nationalistic depiction of garuda would seem to imply a relatively recent change (perhaps early to mid-20th C.). Would that fit the age of these pieces?


Rick 21st April 2006 07:57 PM

I would think if that were the case we would be seeing more of these swords .
The newer ones should be more common IMO .

The example Ariel shows seems to be quite pitted and has a manufactured blade ; it would surprise me to see a tribe or portion thereof go ga ga over independence to the point of rehilting their traditional swords . :confused:

One wonders how thrilled the Sumatran populace as a whole is at being ruled from Jawa anyway .

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