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Old 10th November 2021, 08:58 PM   #1
Sajen
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Default Long Glat (?) mandau with questions

I received this mandau yesterday, I guess that it is a Long Glat mandau.
Most of the hair at the nose is lost, the handle binding is glued at the wrong position, the resin "ferrule" is missing as well the ring at the scabbard mouth. And the blade is varnished with some sort of clear finish.
The concave/convex simple blade is marked at two places, is it a sign of more recent manufaktur? I ask because handle and scabbard shows nice patination.
Is my attribution correct? Age? Any other comments?
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Old 13th November 2021, 01:45 PM   #2
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Nobody??
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Old 13th November 2021, 07:54 PM   #3
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On the hilt I see leeches and stylized asos.

Everything looks to be from the mid-19c. I find it fascinating that the European blade has an Arabic stamping on it. A maker's mark?
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Old 13th November 2021, 07:56 PM   #4
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On the hilt I see leeches and stylized asos.

Everything looks to be from the mid-19c. I find it fascinating that the European blade has an Arabic stamping on it. A maker's mark?

Could the missing ring be woven rattan or even silver instead resin?
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Old 14th November 2021, 02:49 AM   #5
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As you've indicated you desire comment, I'm pleased to oblige.

I like everything about the mandau very much, except the blade, which is of course the absolute heart of the thing.

While the blade is happily curious, with its cross-cultural markings, none of which arise from its native culture, it is otherwise jarring, set as it is in the midst of its fine furniture. I could provide a few similes to demonstrate verbally the inherent incongruity, but they would seem insulting, and I do not wish to insult either the weapon or its owner. Actually, the curiosity factor serves in large extent to override the feeling of its being somehow out of place. Anomalies are often fascinating, and sometimes instructive.
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Old 14th November 2021, 12:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara View Post
On the hilt I see leeches and stylized asos.

Everything looks to be from the mid-19c. I find it fascinating that the European blade has an Arabic stamping on it. A maker's mark?

Could the missing ring be woven rattan or even silver instead resin?
Hi Jose,

First, thank you for the start! Agree with you about the age of this piece. I don't think that it's a European blade but European steel which get used.
The Arabic mark is a mystery to me, maybe an Arabic blacksmith?
Possible that there is moore missing from the weaving or a silver ring, who knows?

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 14th November 2021, 01:02 PM   #7
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I really like the hilt carving. I am mystified by the marks. Have you tried asking the "Borneo boys" on the Borneo FaceBook page?
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Old 14th November 2021, 01:45 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bob A View Post
As you've indicated you desire comment, I'm pleased to oblige.

I like everything about the mandau very much, except the blade, which is of course the absolute heart of the thing.

While the blade is happily curious, with its cross-cultural markings, none of which arise from its native culture, it is otherwise jarring, set as it is in the midst of its fine furniture. I could provide a few similes to demonstrate verbally the inherent incongruity, but they would seem insulting, and I do not wish to insult either the weapon or its owner. Actually, the curiosity factor serves in large extent to override the feeling of its being somehow out of place. Anomalies are often fascinating, and sometimes instructive.
Hello Bob,

Yes, the blade is a mystery to me as well but there will be an explanation for it. I guess that the European stamp is from the used steel whatever was used. And the Arabic stamp will be from the blacksmith, just my guess.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 14th November 2021, 02:02 PM   #9
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I was able to remove the varnish with nail varnish remover from my wife!
And I have removed the surface rust underneath. The blade shows scratches either from the original finish or from an unprofessional cleaning from a former owner.
Here are some new pictures by daylight. Is someone able to translate the Arabic stamp?
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Old 14th November 2021, 02:04 PM   #10
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And a few pictures from the scabbard.
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Old 15th November 2021, 02:43 PM   #11
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love the hilt and the scabbard has lovely tempusar too!
the arabic script pic is upside down. It is pronounced " Boos - re" (Busri)

Probaby a person's name although a more common one is BASRI.
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Old 16th November 2021, 12:14 AM   #12
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Thanks, Nik!

The double mark is weird. In the coastal communities, there certainly may have been some Islamic bladesmiths venturing into forging such blades - however, marking the blades in this fashion seems like quite a western and/or late influence...

The western mark seems most like a remnant already present from the raw material. Once "modern" western steel became available/affordable, it quickly became the preferred material for tools due to its reliability. The relatively plain look of this mandau blade may support such a utilitarian notion for a real user blade rather than something focusing on ceremonial use.

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Old 16th November 2021, 12:51 AM   #13
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Hello Detlef,

Thanks for posting - that's an interesting riddle!


Quote:
I guess that it is a Long Glat mandau.
I assume you base this attribution on the hilt only? Nice carving and age!


The Long Glat were one of the last groups to perform traditional high-quality bladesmithing into the 20th century. Even if we assume this blade to be a functional user made from precious foreign steel without bells and whistles, I don't see any of the typical Long Glat features here. High quality Long Glat blades got traded pretty much over all of Borneo - maybe this is a trade from a coastal area though?


How well does the blade fit the scabbard? Nice, old scabbard with worn knots - a large bone plate of exuberant form missing at the damaged foot. Belt also looks genuinely old (and broken); less sure about the pouch.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 26th December 2021, 01:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green View Post
love the hilt and the scabbard has lovely tempusar too!
the arabic script pic is upside down. It is pronounced " Boos - re" (Busri)

Probaby a person's name although a more common one is BASRI.
Thank you Nik,

Sorry for my very late reply, I was very busy by work the last weeks.

Here the inscription in correct view. And yes, I like the hilt and scabbard also.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 26th December 2021, 02:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai View Post
Thanks for posting - that's an interesting riddle!
Hello Kai,

My pleasure! And yes, it's a riddle to me as well!



Quote:
Originally Posted by kai View Post
I assume you base this attribution on the hilt only? Nice carving and age!
Yes, you are correct, I think that it's a Long Glat hilt!


Quote:
Originally Posted by kai View Post
The Long Glat were one of the last groups to perform traditional high-quality bladesmithing into the 20th century. Even if we assume this blade to be a functional user made from precious foreign steel without bells and whistles, I don't see any of the typical Long Glat features here. High quality Long Glat blades got traded pretty much over all of Borneo - maybe this is a trade from a coastal area though?
I guess that the blade could be worked everywhere on Borneo.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kai View Post
How well does the blade fit the scabbard? Nice, old scabbard with worn knots - a large bone plate of exuberant form missing at the damaged foot. Belt also looks genuinely old (and broken); less sure about the pouch.
The scabbard is made for this blade IMVHO. And yes, there seems to be something missing at the foot of the scabbard.

Regards,
Detlef

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Old 26th December 2021, 02:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
I really like the hilt carving. I am mystified by the marks. Have you tried asking the "Borneo boys" on the Borneo FaceBook page?
Hello Charles,

Thank you! I don't have a facebook account so I haven't.

Regards,
Detlef
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