Nice and complete example with talisman basket. Probably 20th century.
Sheathed 68.4 cm
Sword 61.5 cm
Base 5 mm
At widening 3 mm
Base 30 mm
Start edge 24 mm
8.4 cm from hilt
Iron, wood, horn, brass, rattan
19th to early 20th century
Anything similar for sale?
It has my favourite Nias blade type, referred to as Fischer type C or gari matuwà.1 It looks like the classic "pirate sword" from popular culture, only in this case, the opposite side of the piece is the edge. This peculiar design was, as per my knowledge, only produced on the tiny island of Nias.
The hilt is made of buffalo horn, which was imported from nearby Sumatra.2 The ferrule is brass. The pommel is carved like a stylized boar, much like other hilts from South Nias, but the designs are in this case more abstract and humble than normally seen. Another peculiar feature is the presence of a mouth with teeth in silver on the pommel, something I have not seen before.
The scabbard consists of two halves of wood, held together by braided rattan bands, and a piece of metal wire. The scabbard is carved with a circular motif and a band that mimics a braid.
There is no attachment for the amulet basket that South Nias swords often have. One sometimes sees a sword like that worn as a second sword next to the one with the amulet basket.
1. Fischer, H.W.; Catalogus van 's Rijks Ethnographisch Museum, Deel IV, de Eilanden om Sumatra. E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1909. Page 39. For gari matuwà, see: Engelbertus Eliza Willem Gerards Schröder; Nias. Ethnographische, geographische en historische aanteekeningen en studiën. Brill, Leiden. 1917. Page 235.
2. Th. C. Rappart; Het Eiland Nias en Zijne Bewoners. Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde. s' Gravenhage. 1909. Page 529.
Also see my glossary article: belatu.
Do you have anything for sale?
I might be interested in buying it.Contact me
Description A rather unusual Vi
With broad silver-clad scabbard, worked entirely in repousse.
With markings attributing it to the Tongzhou incident and a Japanese surrender tag.
Collected by a Russian prince from the hill peoples of central Vietnam in 1892.
Found in excavated condition, published with results of c-14 and XRF analysis.