Klewang Tjicatjing

IN32 Tjicatjing Kelewang - Version 2

Code: IN32b

This is a heavy klewang (Kelewang, Kalewang, Kelevang) with a European-style grip and a clamshell langet on the front of the cross guard.  It was likely made special order for a foreigner, probably a Dutch worker or soldier, who was living in Java at the time a Dutch colony.  A number of variations of these hybrid-style weapons were made in the years 1890 through 1920, generally goloks.  A klewang blade is somewhat unusual. The quality of these swords is among the best in Indonesia, and this one is excellent.  It's European owner likely thought of this sword as a "hanger", also known as a "backsword".  The hilt, guard design, and distinctive broad fuller with okir-style engraved designs is characteristic of the style of this group of weapons, probably based on Dutch models.  It is very similar to European hunting swords of the era, such as the Imperial German "Forestry Service Hanger".

The hilt is made of antler with brass pommel and finishings and is 6 inches in length (excluding clamshell). The s-shaped guard, also brass, is 4 ¾ inches wide with rounded "acorn" finials.  The blade measures 21 ¼ inches in length along the bottom, 19 ½ inches along the top. Typical of klewangs, the blade broadens from 1 ⅜ inches wide at the base to 2 inches at the tip. The thickness has a slight distal taper from ¼ inch at the base to ⅜ inch at tip, measured along the top of the blade.  A large fuller with okir-style engraving is found on both sides of the blade, each measuring 13 inches.

The name of the hamlet where this sword was created is enscribed on one side of the blade, "Tjicatjing" along with the year, 1910. Manufacturing in this era was a cooperative process, with each household specializing in one part of the process.  Tjicatjing is one of a cluster of hamlets, including Tjikeroeh (Cikeruh), Tjipatjing (Cipacing), Tjisoerat, and Tjibatoe (Cnibatu) that are known to have produced these European-style hunting swords.  Note: These names are the Dutch spellings, as found engraved on the swords. The modern spellings, when known, are those in parentheses.)  These villiages are all located in a region called Sumedang, about 20 to 40km east of Bandung in West Java.  The area has rolling hills, steep peaks and scenic valleys. Those areas not in cultivation (primarily tea plantations) are covered in thick jungle forests. The Sundanese people are the ethnic group native to this area of western Java.  The are predominately Muslim. In their own language, they are referred to as "Urang Sunda", and in Indonesian, "Suku Sunda" or "Orang Sunda". Sundanese culture is similar to Javanese, although it is more overly Islamic.

Sumedang county in West Java province

Sumedang County in West Java Province