Sword „pade“, „bada umogandi“

The long handle is made of medium hard wood. It is separated from the blade by a small horn plate, the short handle is irregularly wrapped with fine rattan bands. The widened pommel, tied up with red dyed rattan, is complemented by a gutta-percha ball, into which tufts of long human hair are inserted. The context with head hunting, which was widely known in eastern Indonesia, is unmistakable.

The bada reminds us, in terms of morphology of form and technology, probably of the later first millennium. The blade can almost certainly be described as a South Sulawesian work, while the handle represents a type from Maluku.  Swords of this type have been proven on the “Spice Islands” and North Sulawesi (Minahasa) as early as the 16th century (e.g. by representations in the Boxer Codex), but may well look back on a much longer history (see above). The powerful but well-balanced and relatively light blade is made in composite technique. The flanks are biconvex until they abruptly merge into the reinforced roof-shaped back. In this way, greater stiffness is achieved with less weight. Blade and back are made of structured refined steel, the central part of the blade is made of purpose-made laminate with a very pronounced grain. The tang is forged and forms a loop-shaped element in the “pamor“(forged pattern), which is typical for blades from South Sulawesi (Toraja, Bugis etc.). A combination of materials (possibly with nickel-containing pamor Luwu, which remains to be examined) was specifically chosen here to achieve a decorative effect. The “false sharpness”, i.e. the long thickened neck of the blade at the base before the cutting edge starts to cut, can be useful for gripping with the second hand for strong blows, but is primarily a carrying aid, because pade are / were (similar to an axe) carried freely in the hand or over the shoulder as a weapon, but also as a “sign of dignity” and did not require a sheath. They were used one-handed in combination with the typical long, narrow thick shield salawaku (of the Moluccas and Sulawesi). Improvised palm leaf sheaths are known on Mihahasa, but they do not constitute a tradition in their own right.

Object Sword, “pade”, “bada”, “bada umogandi”
Culture South East Sulawesi/ Moluccas
Time 18th / early 19th century
Dimensions Length 81 cm
Material Wood, steel, horn, rattan, human hair
Supplementing Literature Back to room view