Balatoe Tologoe

IN50 Balatoe Tologoe

Code IN50

Nias Warrior

This is a rare Balatoe Tologoe sword from the southern portion of Nias, an island off the west coast of North Sumatra, Indonesia. (The balato is also known as Baltoe, Balatu, Balatu Sebua, Ballatu, Foda, Gari Telegu, Klewang Buchok Berkait, Roso Sebua or Telagoe.)  This is an older example, c. early 1900's, and is very rare to find especially in this excellent condition. The balato is the traditional sword of the Nias warrior.

This sword is 27 ½ inches long overall, with a blade 20 inches long, 1 ⅞ inches wide, and ¼ inch thick at the forte tapering distally to the tip.  Both the back and the edge of the blade are slightly concave in shape and asymmetrical. Thus, the blade broadens in width towards the tip. The back of the blade curves up to a small spike and then down nearly straight to an acute tip. The blade is solid and well balanced, firm in the hilt.

The hilt features a brass ferrule that helps secure the blade to the dark wooden hilt.  The hilt is elaborately carved in the traditional motif for these swords:  the head of a Lasara monster (a mythical creature) with a Bekhu (bechu, an evil spirit that looks like a monkey) grabbing on to the head. The lasara is said to have the teeth of a wild board, the mouth of a crocodile (or snake), and it is crowned with a calao helmet and the antlers of a deer.

The wooden scabbard pieces are bound together with braided rattan.  The scabbard features a woven rattan basket in the shape of a ball.  Typically, a Nias warrior/hunter would use this basket to hold various amulets (talismans) to help assure good luck and victory. Often, wild boar tusks are bound into the braided rattan to represent successful hunts and lend further power to the sword.