AGE: – 20th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Steel, Wood, Bark, Plaited Rattan
DESCRIPTION: – Mandau Dayak Headhunters Sword Borneo
LENGTH: – 64cm
BLADE LENGTH:– 47.5cm
GRIP: – 12.5cm
SKINNING/UTILITY ATTACHMENT/KNIFE: 33cm
Mandau Dayak Headhunters Sword from Borneo with a small utility knife attached, (the blade on the end of this piece is missing). The grip would appear to be carved from an antlers horn and the carved piece on top of the utility knife carved from bone.
On the front side of the sheath there is some nice ornate wood carvings which would have held special significance to the original owner of the sword. On the back side a layer of bark runs down the length of the sheath which holds a plaited twine rope for carrying the sword. Bands of rattan hold the sheath together and a plaited rattan band circles the base of the antler horn grip. The blade has several brass rivets embedded into the steel.
There is a number on the blade which may indicate that the steel has been reconstructed from another sword.
In ancient times the Dayak/Iban men were reputed to be fearsome headhunters, the taking of heads were often retaliatory attacks on each other, often from different tribes, it is reputed that up until the mid 20th century this practice of taking heads still existed. Swords similar to this were used in tribal warfare.
In more recent times the practice of headhunting has been abandoned and swords such us this would be now used in the forest for utilitarian purposes as many Dayak and Iban people today have converted to Islam or Christianity.