Fine Kenyah mandao
Overall length

65.5 cm

Blade length

49.2 cm

Blade thickness

Base 7.8 mm

At widest 3.5 mm

Blade width

Base 7.8 mm

At widest 38 mm

Weight

546 grams

Point of balance

11.5 cm from hilt

Materials

Iron, steel, deer antler, goat hair, gutta percha

Origin

Northern Borneo

Dating

Circa 1900-1925

Provenance

Dutch antique art market

Price €1600, -

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Description

What this mandau lacks in age, it makes up for in condition and craftsmanship.

The blade is of typical form with a gently upturned spine, with the for Dayak swords typical cross-section with a concave left side and convex right side.

Fine Kenyah mandau blade

The blade has a blackened incised panel on the right side with curling motifs and aso, a mythical dog-dragon of Dayak culture. The blackening was done by cutting the fresh stem of a certain species of Kapok tree.

It has a large and very finely carved antler hilt depicting many leaches emerging from a dense foliage mesh. It still retains almost all of its original tufts of hair, something that most mandau lost over time.

Attribution

The gently upturned spine, along with the hilt style helps attribute it to the Kenyah people of the Apo Kayan group.

Probably circa 1900-1925.

 

Condition

In a remarkable state of preservation for an item usually carried around in the dense jungle. No repairs, losses or damage.

No scabbard.

 

Notes
For more information, see my glossary article:Mandau.

Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau
Fine Kenyah mandau

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Carved with typically Dayak aso "dog dragon" motifs.

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