Holes

The blades of many cultures are decorated with holes. In some cases, quite a bit is known about the purpose of the holes. In other cases, there are informed theories or speculation. For example, the idea that holes represent “kills” is widely regarded by ethnographers today to be a myth.

INDONESIA

The Indonesian Kudi / Kujang has a feature called “Mata” (“eyes”) or “Waruga". These are small holes found on the blade. Initiallty, Waruga were covered/plugged with metal or precisious stones.  The shape of the Kujang envisioned by Kudo Lalean around the year 1170 was intended to conform to the shape of the island of “Djawa Dwipa”, as Java was called in those days. The other major feature of this kujang was the presence of three holes to represent the Trimurti, the three aspects of the godhead of the Hindu religion (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva).

Later, the kujang shape evolved, especially with the infuence of Islam. Initially, five holes (or round notches) in the kujang replaced the three of the Trimurti. They represented the five pillars of Islam. Subsequently additional holes were added as  a symbol of the status / stage of the wearer.  At least one waruga and at most nine are typical.  A blade without waruga is called "blind")

  • Kujan Ciung mata-9: only used specifically the King
  • Kujang Ciung mata-7: Used by Mantri Anom Dangka and the King
  • Kujang Ciung mata-5: Girang used by Seurat, Pamingkis Regents and the Regents Pakuan

BORNEO

The Mandau of the Dayak tribes of Borneo are decorated with holes filled with brass is called Lantak Paku. Empty holes may also be present along the top edge of a blade.

THE PHILIPPINES

One of the five types of Kampilan described by Robert Cato (see Kampilan Blade Terminus Variants) typically has five holes, often plugged with brass, along the spine near the tip. Although theories vary, they are likely to represent the five pillars of Islam.

AFGHANISTAN

Holes are sometimes found on the Khyber Salawar, the sword favored by the Pathan tribe in the region of the Khyber Pass. The holes may be through the blade or only partial. The meaning of both types, if any, is unknown.

ASSAM

The dao of the Kabui Naga is pierced with two holes, one near the tip and one in the middle. These are designed to allow brightly colored tassels to be hung on the sword during traditional dance.