Malaysian Blades Nomenclature

A Malaysian collector offered the following information on the traditional categories of blade families.  This information should be interpreted from the point of view of someone inside the culture, and it may not represent a consensus.  Collectors, ethnographers and people from different regions or ethnic groups may have different names for the same blade, and different ideas about categories.

  • Pisau family - pisau belati, pisau raut, pisau wali, badik, beladau, kerambit, lawi ayam, rencung (rencong), siwah, pisau jam, tumbuk lada etc.
  • Keris family - keris pendek, keris panjang, keris lurus, keris lok, pekaka, tajung, sundang etc.
  • Parang family - parang lading, parang candung, golok rembau, golok perak, golok kedah, parang tapik, duku, parang jenguk, parang ginah, parang belitung, sonak udang, parang bungkul, klewang etc.
  • Pedang family - pedang lengkung, pedang jenawi, pedang cenangkas etc.
  • Sabit family - sabit rumput, sabit kelapa, celurit etc.
  • Tombak family - tombak, lembing, tekpi, cucuk, serampang, tempuling, berjang etc.
  • Kapak family - kapak besi, kapak batu, kapak binjai, kapak beliung etc.
  • Panah family - panah, sumpit etc.

Is it a Parang or a Golok?

These terms are sometimes confused.  The information below, also from the Malaysian collector, may or may not make things more clear for you:

All golok are parang but not all parang are golok.

Only certain types of bladed tools in the parang family are called as golok.

Example 1: Golok Perak is a golok and it is also a parang.

Example 2: Golok Rembau is a golok and it is also a parang.

Example 3: Parang Lading is a parang but it IS NOT a golok.

Example 4: Parang Jenguk is a parang but it IS NOT a golok.

Parang is a generic name for the traditional South East Asian bladed tools with a single primary cutting edge larger (i.e. longer and wider) than pisau (i.e. knife).

A certain type of parang with a "straighter" blade profile is called a Golok.