Pedang lurus literally means "straight sword", even though they are not always perfectly straight. It probably refers to the fact they are straighter than a keris or saber.1 The term is specifically used for a group of Indonesian shortswords that come mounted entirely in silver.2 They typically bear some striking resemblances to European hunting swords, like the shape of handle and guard, the belt stopper on the scabbard, and the often ribbed scabbard end. They were probably inspired by such hunting swords that were worn by colonists. Good silverwork was done in Java and Sumatra, and I suspect this is where most of them were made.
A fair number of pedang lurus bear markings on blade or scabbard: Some are made with cut-down Solingen blades from the V.O.C., retaining their V.O.C. markings. Others have native blades with V.O.C. markings, I personally own one marked "V.O.C. 1763". Another one, with the date 1792 was sold by Michael Backman in London. I suspect most were made as gifts between Indonesian and Colonial officials. Considering the early dates on every single one that comes dated, I suspect that they tend to be quite early as a type.
Notes to introduction
1. The first mention of the name seems to be in G.B. Gardner; "Keris and other Malay weapons, Progressive Publishing Company, Singapore, 1936. Page 70.
2. Zonneveld, Albert van; Traditional weapons of the Indonesian archipelago. C. Zwartenkot Art Books, Leiden. Page 103.
Overall length: 50 cm / 19.7 inch
Blade length: 39.5 cm / 15.5 inch
Blade thickness: base 5 middle 4.5 mm, near tip 3 mm
Blade width: forte 41.5 mm, middle 29 mm, near tip 17 mm
Weight without scabbard: 333 grams
Origin: Java or Sumatra, Indonesia.
Materials: Iron, silver, wood.
Dating: Probably late 18th century
A pedang lurus with substantial, unmarked, native blade. The blade has a very bold pattern ("pamor") in black and silver lines that over many years were etched into a deep relief. The blade exhibits a pattern that connoisseurs of Tibetan and Bhutanese swords refer to as "hairpin forging". This is example exhibits a so-called "double hairpin" where the sharp bend in the layers occurs both at the tip and the base of the blade.1 The blade has a long, sharp backedge running over half the length of the blade.
The handle is elaborately chased and chiseled with a kirtimukha or "face of glory" on the pommel, and the handle is in its entirety covered with designs of its manes. It has a boat-shaped crossguard that fits perfectly to the scabbard mouth. The wooden scabbard is entirely covered with sheet silver with Javanese floral designs. The scabbard end is ribbed, the rib is partly lost.
Some losses on the silver on the flat edge of the scabbard and the bolster between handle and guard. The silver tarnishes with a blueish tint, a sign of very high purity silver.
A nice example of a pedang lurus, a type of Indonesian sword that was styled after European hunting hangers. Based on various marked examples that circulate, I believe they were often made to be presented as diplomatic gifts.
Notes to text
1. We sold a Tibetan sword with similar, albeit more subtle layering last year. See: rare and early Eastern Tibetan shortsword.