Language: South Nias
Source: Engelbertus Schröder, 1917


Gari matuwà is the South Nias term for a specific type of sword. 


Edge on Nias gari matuwa

A typical gari matuwà. I added a red line showing where the edge is.
Mandarin Mansion inventory 2022.


In period sources

Schröder, who lived on the island for years described it as:

"The edge is considerably shorter than the spine. There is first a sharp bend and then a gradual transition to the point. There are two subtypes, one with a straight spine and another with a curved spine. The latter is also called sò bawa wötō, with a point like the beak of a woodpecker."1

Fischer, writing in 1909, presented a typology of both hilts and blade shapes. He uses letters for each type and does not provide native names for each. The gari matuwà appears to be Fischer type A.

Belatu blade types

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


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.

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