Sewar dagger from Sumatra
Overall length

30.8 cm

Blade length

23 cm

Blade thickness

Base 10 mm

Middle 5 mm

Near tip 3 mm

Blade width

Base 18 mm

Middle 14 mm

Near tip 11 mm

Weight

135 grams

Origin

Sumatra, Indonesia

Materials

Iron / steel, black buffalo horn
(domesticated, non-CITES)

Dating

Probably 19th century

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A charming little sewar dagger from the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. It has a thick, inward curving blade that was forge folded and deeply etched to show the forging lines as a topography. 

The most striking aspect of it is the bird's head grip, meticulously carved out of a single piece of black water buffalo horn. The carving is lively and crisp, with no damage whatsoever. No scabbard.

The sewar is alternatively known as sewah (Alas), siwaih (Aceh), sewah (Gayo) and seiva (Minangkabau).1

An 1839 account:

"The Malays of Sumatra generally wear the same weapons as those of the Peninsula, with the addition of the rudus and pemandap, sorts of swords, and the suvar, a sort of small dagger, used for assassination."

Notes
1. Albert G. van Zonneveld; Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago, C. Zwartenkot Art Books, Leiden, 2001. Pages 120-121.
2. Thomas John Newbold; Political and statistical account of the British settlements in the Straits of Malacca, Vol II, J. Murray, 1839. Page 212.

Sewar dagger from Sumatra
Sewar dagger from Sumatra
Sewar dagger from Sumatra
Sewar dagger from Sumatra
Sewar dagger from Sumatra
Sewar dagger from Sumatra
Sewar dagger from Sumatra
Sewar dagger from Sumatra
Sewar dagger from Sumatra
Sewar dagger from Sumatra
Sewar dagger from Sumatra

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