17th century Javanese spearhead
Overall length

43.5 cm

Blade length

28.6 cm

Blade thickness

Base 15.6 mm

At widest 3.5 mm

5 cm from tip 3 mm

Blade width

Base 30.5 mm

At widest 27 mm

Weight

212 grams

Materials

Iron, gold

Origin

Mataram empire

Java, Indonesia

Dating

17th century

Provenance

Private UK collection

Michael Backman, London

Price €5500, -

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Description

A fine old Javanese spearhead (tombak).

The blade has an elegant leaf shape with a slightly narrowed waist and a widening base with two small notches at the very bottom. It is forge-folded with a wood grain pamor pattern.

The base is decorated on both sides with raised floral elements overlaid in gold. The overlay represents the "Tree of life" and the type of highly raised floral overlay in gold (lung kamarogan kinatah emas).

Such decoration was seen only on the weapons of nobility, and the type of work started during of rule of Sultan Agung (1613-1645) of the Sultanate of Mataram. By the turn of the 18th century the work got flatter, and so this spearhead is attributable to the 17th century.

It has a separate iron collar piece chiseled with lozenge-shaped flowers, also overlaid with gold.

 

Condition

Some losses to the gold overlay, and some small damages to the edge. Otherwise in very good condition for its age with no pitting. See photos.

 

Comparable examples

For similar raised floral gold work on a state keris of Mataram, see Karsten Sejr Jensen; Krisdisk Chapter 5 fig 32 d. It is dated to the reign of Amangkurat I (1646-1677) or Amangkurat II (1677-1703).

17th century Javanese spearhead
17th century Javanese spearhead
17th century Javanese spearhead
17th century Javanese spearhead
17th century Javanese spearhead
17th century Javanese spearhead
17th century Javanese spearhead

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