Carved with typically Dayak aso "dog dragon" motifs.
Base 7.8 mm
At widest 3.5 mm
Base 7.8 mm
At widest 38 mm
11.5 cm from hilt
Iron, steel, deer antler, goat hair, gutta percha
Dutch antique art market
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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.
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.
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.
In a remarkable state of preservation for an item usually carried around in the dense jungle. No repairs, losses or damage.
For more information, see my glossary article:Mandau.
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A curious slashing weapon from northern Borneo.
Of typical South Borneo workmanship, but formed like a mandau from Kutai.
With vintage silver mounted scabbard.
This unassuming dagger has one of the finest wootz blades with a tight ladder pattern.
An archaic form of dagger that survived in Afghanistan.