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Old 22nd March 2020, 05:45 PM   #1
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Default A Sulawesi spear

Spear from South-east Sulawesi, possibly made in Sarawako, probably from the To Mori. Large heavy blade, continuing from the base in a round section which widens into a cone (10 cm) which fits over the top of the shaft. There is a roughly made hole about 2 cm from the bottom of the cone, which may have been used for a pin or a peg to stop the blade twisting on the shaft. The blade is secured to the shaft by three strands of leather intricately woven and knotted ... Shaft of wood with dark brown and black vertical streaks (ebony?).

188.5 cm, spear head 43.75 cm, blade to base of lower circle of decoration 33.75, breadth at widest place 4.5 cm, shaft 2.1 cm in diameter.

An almost identical spear, with a more elaborate foot, is in Adolf Bernhard Meyer & O. Richter, Celebes I. Sammlung der Herren Dr. Paul und Dr. Fritz Sarasin aus den Jahren 1893-1896. (Dresden, 1903), pl. XXII, fig. 4 (item 533); described on p. 96 'Lanze (533) von Sarawako, ...' followed by a detailed description, with a drawing, pl. XXII, fig. 4 (item 533). The description includes 'Ähnlich dieser Lanze ist eine von Mori in Berliner Museum; ...' (A similar spear is one from Mori in Berlin Museum).
Paul & Fritz Sarasin, Reisen in Celebes ausgeführt in den Jahren 1893-1896 und 1902-1903, 2 vols. (Wiesbaden, 1905), have a passage on Sarawako, vol. I, in the section about the South-east area, p. 312, spear and sword blades of the Matanna Lake area were famous and in earlier times regarded as valuable exchange goods, exported from Tobunku, ... in the area around Sarawako, a large village on the shore of Matanna Lake [in the middle of the Mori language group in South-east Sulawesi], there were three smithies, none of them working when the Sarasins visited.
Bought from Mytribalart (thank you Arjan).

Does anyone have similar spears in their collection, or come across them any where? I have tried to find the Berlin Museum one (under Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) online, but had no luck – has anyone come across it?
I have written to the Berlin and Dresden Museums, but both are closed in the current crisis.
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Old 22nd March 2020, 09:03 PM   #2
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Hello Tim,

Very good example! I cannot offer any additional piece...

Please post a close-up of the wood, please!

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Old 23rd March 2020, 11:15 AM   #3
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Very nice spear Tim, it's my favourite!

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