Golok Tjipatjing

IN37 Dutch Colonial Tjipatjing Golok

Code IN37

This is a heavy golok from the West Java village of Tjipatjing.  It was likely made special order for a foreigner, probably a Dutch worker or soldier, who was living in what was 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 (see also Dutch Colonial Tjicatjing Klewang). The quality of these swords is among the best in Indonesia, and this one is excellent. The distinctive broad fuller with okir-style engraved designs is characteristic of the style of this group of weapons.  It's European owner likely thought of this sword as a "hanger", also known as a "backsword".  The shape of blade and guard is probably based on Dutch hunting sword models, with one probably shown to the Java swordsmith as an example. Nevertheless, it is not a copy of a European sword.  This one, like the others of the period, are artistic interpretations that are impressed with unique Javanese design attributes. 

The hilt is made of bone with flat steel disk-shaped pommel that is secured by the tang with typical flattened end. The hilt including guard is 5 ⅜ inches long. The s-shaped guard, also steel, is 3 ⅛ inches wide with opposite facing quillons.  The blade measures 17 inches in length along the center line. The blade is evenly 1 ¼ inch wide prior to the tip which is a drop point, having an equal convex curvature of the back and edge towards the point. There is an unsharpened false back edge. The style of this hilt is borrowed from Hirschfanger.

The thickness has a slight distal taper from ¼ inch at the base to ⅛ inch prior to the 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 14 ½ inches. A second, thin fuller is found between the large one and the back edge on both sides.

The name of the hamlet where this sword was created is enscribed on one side of the blade, "Tjipatjing" along with the year, 1904. 

Manufacturing in this era was a cooperative process, with each household specializing in one part of the process.  Tjipatjing (Cipacing) is one of a cluster of hamlets, including  Tjikeroeh (Cikeruh), Tjicatjing (Cikating), 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.

See also: Blades of the Sumedang Regency 1888 - 1912