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Inscribed, Fine Sewar Dagger with Horn & Silver Mounts
Sumatra, Indonesia
19th century

length: 32cm, length of blade: 20cm, weight: 186g

This sewar  dagger is a particularly fine and elegant example. It has a slightly curved damascened blade; a long, thin wood hilt variously encased in silver
bands and engraved sheet silver; a hand guard of carved fibrous horn; and a hilt collar of silver applique and filigree.

The hilt and hand guard have been carved with leafy flourishes in high relief.

The hilt collar is of silver covered with fine filigree and small applied spheres. The spheres are known as
telur ikan (fish egg) work.

The silver cladding on the scabbard is finely engraved with scrolling foliage and panels of fish scale (
skala ikan) motif.

The upper silver panel on the scabbard is engraved with in inscription in
jawi (the Malay version of Arabic) which reads 'Mahasun (?) bin Haji Alwi (or Ali)'  and
is almost certainly the name of the owner.

Sewars were intended as stabbing weapons.

This example is in excellent condition. There are no losses or repairs. It has a superb patina.

References:
Gardner, G.B.,
Keris and other Malay Weapons, Orchid Press, 2009 (reprint of 1936 original).

Provenance: UK art market

Inventory no.: 2085

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