Badek Dagger with Finely Engraved Silver Mounts
Bugis People, South Sulawesi, Indonesia
early 20th century
length: 38cm, length of blade: 31cm, weight: 492g
This Bugis badek has a single edged, damascened or watered iron blade.
The hilt is of light-coloured wood with a smooth, honeyed patina and a plain silver collar.
The wooden scabbard is carved to one side with a section of Islamic-Malay leafy scrollwork. The fine chape is beautifully engraved with typically Malay/Bugis scrolling clove motifs. The chape also has an unusual faceted edge that is ideal for catching the light.
The scabbard is embellished with four further bands of silver. Two are engraved with scrolling clove motifs. One is engraved with stylised orchid motifs. The band closest to the hilt is beautifully engraved with butterflies amid flowers and foliage. This particularly shows clear Chinese influence. This is not surprising. Southern Sulawesi was home to a significant
peranakan Chinese community which included silversmiths who specialised in making articles for the various local communities that included both Chinese and Malay motifs.
van Zonneveld, A., Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago, C. Zwartenkot Art Books, 2001.
US art market
Inventory no.: 1720