Enquiry about object: 2085

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Inscribed, Fine Sumatran Sewar Dagger with Horn & Silver Mounts

Sumatra, Indonesia
19th century

length: 32cm, length of blade: 20cm, weight: 186g



UK art market

This sewar dagger is a particularly fine and elegant example. It has a slightly curved damascened blade; a long, thin wood hilt variously encased in silver bands and engraved sheet silver; a hand guard of carved fibrous horn; and a hilt collar of silver applique and filigree.

The hilt and hand guard have been carved with leafy flourishes in high relief.

The hilt collar is of silver covered with fine filigree and small applied spheres. The spheres are known as telur ikan (fish egg) work.

The silver cladding on the scabbard is finely engraved with scrolling foliage and panels of fish scale (skala ikan) motif.

The upper silver panel on the scabbard is engraved with in inscription in jawi (the Malay version of Arabic) which reads ‘Mahasun (?) bin Haji Alwi (or Ali)’ and is almost certainly the name of the owner. Sewars were intended as stabbing weapons.

This example is in excellent condition. There are no losses or repairs. It has a superb patina.


Gardner, G.B., Keris and other Malay Weapons, Orchid Press, 2009 (reprint of 1936 original).

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