Dha Polearm

This is an unknown sword which previously identified as a parang beng kok from Bali, 19th C.

Code KR23

This sword is likely to have originated in northern Thailand or Laos. It is a relatively rare and oddly shaped dha with a complex recurved back. This style of blade is also found on pole arms from the region. It has been positively identified by an expert who has traveled to that area and seen this style in person.

The sword was previously identified as a parang beng kok from Bali, 19th C. The sword was in the collection of Anthony C. Terri and and published in his "Islamic Weapons" book as figure 300B on page 424. Earlier, Van Zonneveld (page 98) and Gardner (plate 58) also identified it as a parang beng kok. However, even with such an awesome pedigree, there are those in the community of collectors who doubt this identification, and they are not wrong to do so.  All published works on ethnographic edged weapons inevitably contain some errors.  In this instance, it is quite possible Gardner made the first mistake and the others merely repeated it, with or without citation. 

The hilt is a single piece of carved wood, finished with a red colored lacquer.  

The blade is very unusual in shape. It is well-forged, thick, and heavy.  Contrary to Gardner and Von Zonneveld's descriptions, and other parangs with similar shape, this one is sharpened on the straight edge (opposite the tip curl; at bottom of the picture above).

OAL is 33 ¾ inch.  The blade is 19 inches long and is 5/16 inches thick at the base of the back edge.

The parang beng kok is easy to confuse with the parang lading. This is neither.

If you have any thoughts about the origin of the sword, please email me (click on my name, below).


References

Gardner, Gerald B. (1936) Keris and other Malay Weapons. Bangkok, Thailand: Orchid Press. Plate 58. (more)

Van Zonneveld, Albert G. (2001) Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago. Leiden, The Netherlands: C. Zwartenkot Art Books. Page 98. (more)

Tirri, Anthony C. (2003) Islamic Weapons: Maghrib to Moghul. Indigo Publishing. Plate 300B. Page 424. (more)