Enquiry about object: 4651
Balinese Damascened Short Sword with Carved Hilt
Bali, Indonesia 18th century
length (in scabbard): 57.5cm
UK art market
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This fine sword is from Bali, in what is now Indonesia. It comprises a spear or lance head (tombak), a superbly carved marine tusk hilt, and a wooden scabbard with silver mounts.
The blade and the hilt date to at least the 18th century. The scabbard is probably later.
The hilt is the main attribute here – it is finely carved with floral scrolls that are typical of earlier Balinese carving, and it has the most wonderful wear and honeyed patina. It does have an old but stable shrinkage-related split.
The blade is likely to be from a spear or lance, probably from one of Bali’s many palaces. It is doubled edged and has a well-defined damascene orpamor. The grip of the blade is covered in chased and engraved silver sheet which has been finely decorated with bands of typically Balinese floral and geometric motifs.
Van Zonneveld, A., Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago, C. Zwartenkot Art Books, 2001.