Sumara or Penai

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IN76 Sumara

Photo Courtesy of Oriental Arms


Code IN76

This is a rare Sumara sword from Sulawesi, Indonesia circa late 19th C. The sumara (simala, soemara) form is similar to the penai sword also originating from Sulawesi. The sumara is typical of the Bolaang Mongondow ethnic sub-group of the Mongondow people native to the north-eastern region of island of Sulawesi.

The sumara is distinguished by the large 90 degree downturned hilt with wide “open mouth” shape. The hilt of this sumar is horn and engraved in geometric motif similar to those seen in other predominantly Muslim cultures. 

The blades of both the sumara and penai have a straight edge that widens towards the tip. The blade of this sumara is 19 inches. 

The scabbard (guma) is straight with a slightly asymmetric foot. The scabbard is made of wood with a horn mouth and a thin layer of metal decorating the top portion. 

The total length in scabbard is 32 inches, making this a massive sword relative to others found in the region.

For another Sumara sword, see “Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelego”, A. G. Zonneveld, page 131, figure 544.