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Title

Sword with scabbard and amulet basket (belato sebua)

late 19th century-early 20th century

Artists

Unknown Artist

Alternate image of Sword with scabbard and amulet basket (belato sebua) by
Alternate image of Sword with scabbard and amulet basket (belato sebua) by
Alternate image of Sword with scabbard and amulet basket (belato sebua) by
Alternate image of Sword with scabbard and amulet basket (belato sebua) by
Alternate image of Sword with scabbard and amulet basket (belato sebua) by
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Bawomataluo village Teluk Dalam South Nias Indonesia
    Date
    late 19th century-early 20th century
    Media categories
    Ceremonial object , Arms & armour
    Materials used
    wood, iron brass, rattan, crocodile teeth and pigs’ tusks
    Dimensions
    72.0 x 18.0 x 15.0 cm :

    a - sword, 65 x 8.5 x 5.8 cm

    b - scabbard, 56 x 18 x 15 cm

    Credit
    Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    526.2010.a-b
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

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  • About

    The sword and scabbard (‘belato’) were among the most important items belonging to a warrior on Nias, serving as a physical weapon and a protective device against enemies and malevolent spiritual forces. Found throughout the island, ‘belato’ swords are distinguished by ornate hilts in the form of mythical creatures and their scabbards which incorporate a range of talismanic devices, including carved ‘adu’ figures.

    The hilt depicts the head of a ‘lasara’, a composite protective beast reserved for royalty which combines the features of a hornbill, deer and crocodile. A small monkey astride the ‘lasara’s’ neck was believed to predict and warn of potential threats. These motifs, along with the rattan amulet basket (‘rago’) fashioned by the warrior and caged with animal teeth and tusks, would have offered powerful protection
    to the user.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–06 Jan 2019

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

  • Provenance

    Christopher Wilson, pre Nov 1986-1996, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, purchased in Bawomataluo village, Nias, Indonesia. This object appears in 'Southeast Asian tribal art', an unpublished text by Christopher Wilson, College of Fine Arts, Sydney, November 1986.

    Mariann Ford, 1996-Dec 2010, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, inherited from the estate of Christopher Wilson. Gift to the Art Gallery of New South Wales as part of the Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010.