Language: South Nias
Source: Engelbertus Schröder, 1917


Balatu salà is the South Nias term for a specific type of sword blade. Schröder described it as having an edge that is shorter than the spine, and there is a bend in the transition.1

Fischer, writing in 1909, presented a typology of both hilts and blade shapes. He uses numbers for each type and does not provide native names for each. The balatu salà appears to be Fischer type B.

Belatu blade types

After the illustrations by Fischer.
The edge is emphasized for clarity.


Nias Balatu salà

A South Nias balatu salà.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2022.


Further reading

Glossary article: Belatu


1. Engelbertus Eliza Willem Gerards Schröder; Nias. Ethnographische, geographische en historische aanteekeningen en studiën. Brill, Leiden. 1917. Page 235.
2. Fischer, H.W.; Catalogus van 's Rijks Ethnographisch Museum, Deel IV, de Eilanden om Sumatra. E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1909. Page 39.

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me

This peculiar sword was used by the Garo people of Assam for fighting, clearing the jungle, and animal…


Description A rather unusual Vi


With broad silver-clad scabbard, worked entirely in repousse.


An understated, elegant khukuri of substantial proportions with fine layered blade.


With markings attributing it to the Tongzhou incident and a Japanese surrender tag.


With iron, silver overlaid hilt. Its associated scabbard features fine quillwork.