Global Art & Artifacts

Parang Ilang or Mandau Dayak Sword Weapon, Borneo

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Detail: The Parang Ilang (or Mandau, meaning double blades) is the traditional weapon for the Dayak people of Borneo. These swords are believed to have supernatural powers and are passed from generation to generation. Associated with the headhunting ceremony, these swords are both a work of art in itself and a formidable weapon.
The blade is mostly made of tempered metals. The hilt is made from animal (deer) horns, although some variations with human bones and fragrant wood also have been found. Both the hilt and scabbard are elaborately carved and plumed (with animal or human hair). This piece has the texture of human hair. Details of carvings vary from tribe to tribe, but mostly depict creatures or, if human bones were used, anthropomorphic deities. In this case, geckos were carved on the hilt and on the sheath. A small knife is fitted on the back of the sheath. Stand not included. Museum quality and in very good condition. Most likely mid-1900s or earlier. For the Serious Collector.

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