Language: Acenese
Source: Old accounts

Description

mura, also written as kěmoera in Dutch sources, is the Acehnese word for blunderbuss.1

Such weapons have been encountered by Dutch colonial forces during their campaigns on Sumatra. They started to appear in the early 1870s onwards and are often equipped with English flint or percussion locks, many of them of British origin, proof marked "Tower". Dutch ethnographers noted that neither the Acehnese nor the Batak who carried them produced firearms themselves.

They tend to have southern Chinese style decoration on the stock and Chinese assembly marks on the underside of the barrel and the inside of the forestock. They were made by members of the overseas Chinese communities who had settled across Southeast Asia.

 

Blunderbuss Aceh

kěmura. Many were originally flintlocks, this one is converted to percussion.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2020.

 

Kielstra, writing in 1883, mentions that they were made chiefly on Penang Island which had close ties to Aceh:

"De wapens der Atjehers zijn in de eerste plaats klewangs, een soort van sabels waarmede zij uitstekend weten om te gaan; verder krissen en pieken, en vooral geweren en donderbussen, welke o.a. op Poeloe Penang in groote  hoeveelheden worden vervaardigd." 2

My translation:

"The arms of the Acehnese are in the first place klewangs, a type of saber which they use expertly; also kerisses and spears and primarily guns and blunderbusses, which among others are produced in large quantities on Pulau Pinang."

 

Two types were distinguished, the short kěmura panèk and the long kěmura panjang. Jacobs writes in 1894:

"Op Atjeh worden alleen zoogenaamde blanke of scherpe wapenen door den wapensmid gemaakt; de vuurwapenen worden van elders ingevoerd. De zoogenaamde donderbussen, waarvan men twee soorten heeft, nl. de kěmoera panjang en de kěmoera panèk (PI. X B) d. i. de lange en de korte, zijn van Chineesch fabrikaat en worden of beter werden vroeger hier van uit Pinang ingevoerd, terwijl men geweren in alle mogelijke soorten kan aantreffen." 3

My translation:

On Aceh only the so-called white arms or sharp weapons are made by the weaponsmith; the firearms are imported from elsewhere. De so-called blunderbusses, of which they have two types, the kěmoera panjang and the kěmoera panèk (Pl. X B), the long and short one respectively, are of Chinese make and are, or better, were, imported to here from Pinang. One can encounter guns of all types.

 

Arms Aceh Jacobs plate X


 

 

Other names

An 1889 dictionary of Acehnese gives the following entries:

Těrkoel: Gun, a short blunderbuss.

Kěmoeras: Blunderbuss. A gun with a wide muzzle. Used primarily for attacks and robberies.

Pěmoeras: Synonymous to Kěmoeras.4

 

 

Notes
1. Dr. Julius Karel Jacobs; Het familie- en kampongleven op Groot-Atjeh, eene bijdrage tot de ethnographie van Noord-Sumatra. Deel II.  Leiden, E.J. Brill. 1894. Page 154.
2. Ibid.
3. E.B. Kielstra; Beschrijving van den Atjeh-oorlog met gebruikmaking der officieele bronnen, door het Departement van Koloniën daartoe afgestaan. Deel 1. Page 9.
4. Karel Frederik Hendrik Langen; Woordenboek der Atjehsche taal. Koninklijk Instituut voor de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indië. 1889.

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Of Chinese manufacture, traded widely and used gainst the Dutch during the Aceh Wars in 1873–1904.

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