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19th C. Dayak Mandau Sword w/ Bone Handle

Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Borneo, Central Kalimantan, Dayak peoples, ca. mid to late 19th century CE. A lovely example of an Iban Dayak Parang Ihlang Mandau sword used primarily in headhunting ceremonies. The handle is composed of carved duyong bone in an abstract zoomorphic style, the details faintly resembling that of a boar, and is wrapped in tightly-braided reed strands with a conical resin hand guard. The sheath is hand-carved from lightweight wood and is bound with small sections of wrapped rattan strands. The exterior of the sheath displays foliate and scale-form motifs, and a secondary scabbard is secured to the verso. The iron blade has a curved spine and a sharpened edge, with inlaid brass circles along one side of the spine, and an integral filed floral decoration near the tip. A five-pointed star and the letters "ASE" are stamped on to one side of the neck, indicating this blade was repurposed from an older iron object. A fabulous example! Size: 31.25" L x 2.25" W (79.4 cm x 5.7 cm); length of blade: 21.625" L (54.9 cm).

Condition: Original secondary knife missing. Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, light oxidation and pitting across iron blade, darkening to bone handle, with some roughness to sheath and handle. Nice earthen deposits throughout, and great dark-brown patina to sheath.

Provenance: private Johnson collection, Los Angeles, California, USA

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