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Golok Sword

Place of Origin: Western Java

Date: 19th Century

Reference: 097

Status: Available

Full Description:

The overall form of this sword maybe familiar to those who collect and study the weapons of  Indonesia, but the hilt form on this example is highly unusual.  Beautifully carved in the form of a deer, it bears the similarities of realism and grace seen in the carving of deer and other animals in Mughal Indian jade dagger hilts. 

 

The hilt (Perah), and the scabbard (Sarangka) are carved from wood, and the blade is steel.  The grip and a large section of the scabbard are deeply carved with decorative patterns, and the tip of the scabbard is carved in a European style.

 

The blade is very well made with two spine fullers and a nicely shaped clip point tip, an indication that the maker was thoughtful and highly-skilled in his work.  The most famous sword producing area in Java was a village by the name of Tjikeroeh (modern day spelling is Cikeruh), in the district of Jatinangor, Sumedang.  Many swords of this type are marked with the village name in the traditional spelling, and sometimes with a date from around 1880 into the 1900’s.  Although this example does not have a date it shares more in quality and workmanship with the earlier examples, so a date of around 1880 A.D. should be given.  The omission of a date may also indicate that this example was never made for export, as many of the later ones were.

An example of similar quality is in the Rijiksmiseum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden, No.1249-20 (1).

(1) Van Zonneveld, Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago, 2001, p.48, cat.no.115.