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Old 22nd January 2022, 05:09 PM   #1
Peter Andeweg
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Default Luzon or Bandung?

Dear members, a while ago I acquired an unusual sword which was attributed to the Philippines, but it had me puzzled until today. The general outlines are often seen on the West Javanese 'Gobang Bandung' from the Preanger region, yet the aesthetic details like the silver decoration on the scabbard and typical silver sheets on the hilt points me to the Luzon area.

I wonder what your opinions are on this matter.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 22nd January 2022, 06:09 PM   #2
Ian
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Hello Peter,

I think the style is much more likely Javanese than Filipino. The blade appears to have a pattern that could benefit from etching. Very nice engraving on the scabbard.
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Old 22nd January 2022, 06:32 PM   #3
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I agree with Ian. The motifs on this sheath look Javanese to me, not Luzon or any other culture from the Philippines and the form of this clearly looks like a West Javanese Gobang Bandung to me.
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Old 22nd January 2022, 07:06 PM   #4
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I agree with both of the above. I would call it a Javanese gobang Bandung, from top to bottom, and a VERY nice one. Did you etch the blade, Peter?
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Old 22nd January 2022, 07:56 PM   #5
Peter Andeweg
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Thank you for your comments gentlemen, I was leaning towards Gobang Bandung, but this piece is not really a textbook example.
I did a light etch on the blade to reveal the pamoresque pattern.
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Old 22nd January 2022, 08:17 PM   #6
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Peter, I can certainly see why this one would give you pause to rethink it, but I believe we can look at it safely as a gobang variant.
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Old 22nd January 2022, 08:23 PM   #7
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I agree that this sword is from western Java; not a traditional highland design though. For example, the chains and the belt hook are a colonial affectation and the silverwork seems to be from the coast.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 22nd January 2022, 09:47 PM   #8
Battara
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Yes definitely NOT Filipino. However it is very nice!
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Old 23rd January 2022, 12:11 AM   #9
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Whaaaa!

Very nice west javanese Gobang !!
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Old 23rd January 2022, 11:32 AM   #10
Peter Andeweg
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Thank you all for your input!
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Old 23rd January 2022, 12:33 PM   #11
Sajen
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Beautiful gobang!
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Old 26th January 2022, 06:33 AM   #12
A. G. Maisey
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I do not know what a "gobang Bandung is".

I know what a gobang is, its a Javanese general purpose knife with big blade.

Interestingly, in Bahasa Indonesia a "gobang" is a coin with a hole in the middle --- 19th century I think.

I know what a golok is, and this blade looks like a golok to me.

Hilts such as the one on this implement are not unusual on Colonial era weapons in Central Jawa.

The scabbard looks very much like Kota Gede or Ngayogyakarta work, the motif is very common in Central Jawa.

I would welcome being educated on exactly what a "gobang Bandung" is, and the reference. As I said, I have never heard this term in Jawa --- or outside Jawa either, but it appears to be used fairly freely in this Forum.

One additional thing, I doubt that the blade will display pamor, I think we're looking at sanak, but with a relatively high inclusion of steel rather than iron.

EDIT

I think I might have answered my own question.

The word "gobang" occurs in a number of Malayo-Polynesian languages. In Javanese it is a general purpose knife with a large blade, in Sundanese it is a type of sabre. The word appears to be generic, much as "pedang" is generic.

Rigg gives "golok" as the direct Malay equivalent of the Sundanese "gobang".

It appears that the addition of "Bandung" was probably a reference to the area where some early gobangs in European collections were acquired.

https://docplayer.net/123814397-Rese...ger-sword.html

so "Gobang Bandung" would seem to be a description, rather than a name.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 26th January 2022 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 26th January 2022, 02:56 PM   #13
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Thank you, I was going to send you the same link.
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Old 26th January 2022, 07:43 PM   #14
A. G. Maisey
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Perhaps my problem with this term "gobang bandung" was that the word "bandung" actually means "two things together" & also "a pair", & apparently can be understood as "a friend" or "a brother". In Javanese we have "bandhung", same word but a slightly different pronunciation, and that means the same as "bareng" = "together".

Those meanings cover B.I., Sundanese & Javanese, but the word occurs in other Malayo-Polynesian languages also.

So, if I'm looking at a single sharp pointy thing and it is being called by everybody, including old records and museums, by a name that seems to imply "two", where is the other one?

Then of course there is the city.

It would be nice to know what the people who used these gobangs actually called them back when they were popular.
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Old 5th February 2022, 10:28 AM   #15
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A very nice one Peter.
Looks Javanese to me!

- Maurice -
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Old 5th February 2022, 02:22 PM   #16
kai
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Hello Alan,

Quote:
Perhaps my problem with this term "gobang bandung" was that the word "bandung" actually means "two things together" & also "a pair", & apparently can be understood as "a friend" or "a brother". In Javanese we have "bandhung", same word but a slightly different pronunciation, and that means the same as "bareng" = "together".

Those meanings cover B.I., Sundanese & Javanese, but the word occurs in other Malayo-Polynesian languages also.

So, if I'm looking at a single sharp pointy thing and it is being called by everybody, including old records and museums, by a name that seems to imply "two", where is the other one?

Then of course there is the city.

It would be nice to know what the people who used these gobangs actually called them back when they were popular.
Gobang seems to be the only somewhat substantiated name for these highland blades with gobang Bandung certainly meant descriptively and referring to the town, one of its main production centers.

There are other types of blades/swords also referred to as gobang (as evidenced from old museum notes). Thus, this name is not really specific, at least not all over Sunda.

Most likely it just is/was a generic moniker for sword-like thingie as in golok, pedang, etc.

Regards,
Kai
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