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Title

Hilt for a sword (kabeala) or dagger

19th century-20th century


Artists

Unknown Artist


About

On Sumba weapons symbolising the power and status of aristocrats and warriors were worn across the front of the body, tucked into the waist of a male’s ‘hinggi’ textile, with the hilt displayed prominently. Carved in the form of a stylised fowl, this hilt for a dagger or sword (‘kabeala’) served not only as a marker of status but had strong connotations with
the supernatural world. According to Sumbanese beliefs, chickens and roosters are associated with ancestral power and augury. They are ritually sacrificed by humans in order to communicate with the spiritual upper world and appear prominently in architectural features, textiles and other prestige items. Made from precious ivory, this hilt’s worth was further
increased by the belief that all objects are imbued with their own spiritual life force.


Details


Other Titles

Kris handle

Hilt for sword (kris)


Date

19th century-20th century


Media category

Arms & armour


Materials used

ivory


Dimensions

9.6 x 3.5 x 1.7 cm


Credit

Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010


Accession number

563.2010



Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history


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


Referenced in 1 publication

Bibliography


Ancestral art of the Indonesian archipelago, Sydney, 2017, 42 (colour illus.).