Subject: panglima, datu chief
Culture: Peninsular Malay
Setting: Malay peninsula late 18-19thc
Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)
* Marks 1997 p2-3
"The years leading up to the Fifteenth Century witnessed regional supremacy exercised first by the Majapahit Empire of Java, which extended as far north as Pattani, and then by Malacca. By 1460 most people in the peninsula had converted to Islam due to Malacca's influence. It is of note, though, that when Alfonse de Albuquerque conquered Malacca in 1511, he sent a mission to Siam requesting permission to establish Portuguese rule. Although Siam could not have prevented a decision either way, she obviously was the acknowledged arbiter. "Shortly afterwards one of the smaller kingdoms in Pattani grew to embrace all of present-day Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala, and part of Songkhla provinces. A Muslim kingdom with flourishing commercial life based on foreign trade, Pattani recognized nominal Siamese suzerainty, refusing tribute whenever Siam was occupied elsewhere. In 1785 the Siamese occupied the Malay kingdom, replacing the ruler with another Siamese Muslim who had a Siamese Buddhist as an advisor. A revolt in 1808-09 led to further repression and a Siamese Buddhist being placed on the throne. Several years later Pattani was divided into lesser states .... Despite all the Siamese measures, a real measure of autonomy prevailed, with the Siamese exercising loose and indirect control only in such matters as foreign affairs. Another revolt, joined by Kedah, was crushed in 1831-32."
* Che Man 1990 p34-35
"After Patani was conquered [in 1786], a series of rebellions erupted between 1789 and 1791, after which the ruler of Patani, Tengku Lamidin, was captured. Dato Pengkalan, a respected Malay leader, was appointed by the Siamese authorities as Tengku Lamidin's successor, but in 1808 he also rebelled.
"Faced with recurring rebellions, Siam decided to reduce Patani's strength by applying a policy of divide and rule. In 1816 the Patani region was divided into seven provinces: Patani, Nhongchik, Raman, Ra-ngae, Saiburi, Yala, and Yaring. However, the policy of divide and rule did not promote political stability and failed to bring about effective control over revenue collection and taxation of the area. Most of the raja found themselves dissatisfied and distressed under the increasing control of Bangkok. Encouraged by disruptions in Kedah, then also a vassal state of Siam, the indigenous Patani rulers revolted against Siam in 1832. They were defeated; nevertheless, there was yet another abortive revolt in the region six years later."
* Wyatt 1984 p172-173
"While the Mahatthai ministry, the ministry of the northern provinces, had through the 1830s to be concerned with the northeast, the Kalahom as part of its responsibilities was concerned with the southern provinces of the Malay Peninsula, where warfare and military expeditions were fully as frequent as in the Lao country. Trouble with the southern dependencies was not new ....
"Trouble for Siam erupted in Kedah in 1831, when partisans of the exiled Sultan Ahmad launched a rebellion that managed to expel Siamese officials in Kedah. The governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chaophraya Nakhon (Noi), began to levy an army and asked Songkhla and Pattani to do the same. Songkhla resisted, and Pattani again rebelled. Pattani had been divided into seven petty states under Songkhla's control since 1817, but these states now joined forces in what they thought was an opportunity to end Siam's overlordship. When they attacked Songkhla, the latter called upon Bangkok for aid; and even the four armies Siam sent were insufficient to repulse the Pattani Malays, who were supported by Kelantan and Trengganu. [...] "Much the same scenario was played again less than a decade later. Again, the rebels supporting Sultan Ahmad took Kedah and were advancing on Songkhla and Pattani, and again they had some support from the seven states. A few months later, early in 1839, the Siamese counterattacked from Nakhon and Songkhla, and by late March they had reconquered Kedah."
* Stone 1934 p388
"The only kris peculiar to the Peninsula is the Patani weapon, its sheath of Javan type but longer than the blade, so that it can be kicked up by the heel from its place at the back of the thigh and drawn over the shoulder; its hilt is called 'the kingfisher's head,' but representing a long-nosed demon with teeth and tusks." [CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION: Is such an awkward method of drawing a dagger efficient, assuming it's even physically possible?]
* Frey 1988 p51
"A form of hilt of unusual artistry and cultural associations is a spectacular style from Patani (to the north of Peninsular Malaysia). Because of its exaggerated long nose, it is popularly nicknamed hulu pekaka -- kingfisher hilt. However its bulging eyes, grinning teeth and distinct resemblance to classic figures in Javanese drama justify the more appropriate term wayang style. The hilt is noteworthy for its conformity to old values in design detail and mythological connection, yet it is rendered in a style that is surprising and delightful to all who view it."
* Steel and magic 2020 p298-299
"The long-nosed anthropomorphic shape of the figure seems, at first glance, to differ pronouncedly from other forms originating in the Malay cultural region, but there is a striking parallel to the motif in the demonic figures of Hindu mythology. They are based on Tantric ideas of the late thirteenth century that became formative for the Javanese aristocracy first in the late Singgasari period and then the whole of the subsequent Majapahit period. The hilt figure cranes its neck and has a characteristically aggressive expression that emphasises its demonic nature whilst the long nose and staring eyes are characteristic traits of demons from Shiva's entourage. ...
"Tajong hilts are sometimes interpreted as depicting Shiva himself, but this seems unlikely. It was unusual for a hilt figure to be modelled on a main god. Rather, the basic shape can be clearly identified as a demon hilt, some examples of which assumedly predate 1600 and are kept in the oldest European collections ...). The hilt figure's richness in details changed over time. While the coteng type, considered to be an early form of tajong, can feature even more evident Shaivaistic attributes -- liek a handa drum (damaru) or a skull-cap -- the requirements of the Islamic context led to an increasing stylisation Arms and legs of the figure dissolved into abstract langkasukan motifs. The tajong is sometimes also referred to as pekaka ('kingfisher'), but the symbolism has nothing to do with a bird: the nose is not a bill, since it is obviously situated above a mouth with canines."
* Sheppard 1972 p127-128
"[T]here is one type of Malay kris-hilt which has preserved in great detail the appearance of a mystical bird's head, with fierce projecting eyes, and a beak which curved upwards to a sharp point, and which is sometimes 21/2 inches long. It was the most decorative of all Malay kris and is referred to in books as Kris Hulu Pekakak -- 'the Kingfisher Head Kris', [fn8: Kris Hulu Pekakak. The word Pekakak (kingfisher) may be a corruption of Chikakak,the name of an ogre-like Javanese shadow puppet to which this kris hilt bears some resemblance, or the word may be onomatopoeic from the cry of the kingfisher.] but it was known colloquially as Kris Tajang. [fn9: Kris Tajang means literally the kris which is kicked with the heel. ...] It was worn by men of rank or property in Patani, Kelantan and Trengganu until the beginning of the twentieth century. The hilt was fashioned out of gold, silver, ivory, bone or hard wood in all three states. If the hilt was made of wood, the upward curving tip of the beak was often covered with gold or silver. The sheath was usually longer than the blade for a reason which will become clear later. This type of kris was too big and too heavy to be worn, like other Malay kris, in front at the waist, and it was therefore worn at the back, the shaft held in position by a waist-cloth, with the long beak pointing outwards. Although it was a most ornamental weapon it was also potentially lethal. If a man wearing a 'King Fisher Kris' was suddenly attacked he kicked the base of the long shaft upwards with the back of his heel and seized the hilt as it came up level with his left shoulder. If the opponent was too close to stab, the sharp curving beak was thrust violently forward into the attacker's eye, blinding him instantly: the shaft crosspiece was also abnormally large and the upper side was usually given a pronounced upward curve. It was thus possible for the owner, after drawing his blade over his shoulder, to snatch the sheath from his waist-cloth and, holding the unusually long sheath near its base, press the curved crosspiece against his opponent's throat, just below the chin. If this surprise move was successful the enemy was forced backwards, leaving his body open for a deadly kris thrust." [CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION: Again, is such an awkward method of drawing a dagger efficient, assuming it's even physically possible?]
* Coe, Connolly, Harding, Harris, Larocca, Richardson, North, Spring, & Wilkinson p200 (Frederick Wilkinson, "India and Southeast Asia" 186-203)
"Perhaps the most striking of all kris grips is the type known as the 'Kingfisher', although in fact it represents Garuda, the eagle who bore the Hindu god Vishnu on his back. It is carved with a long, slightly curved, forward-projecting beak which makes it rather vulnerable -- on many examples, the beak is missing. As for the sheath, this was usually fashioned from several pieces of wood glued together and bound with rattan or covered with thin sheet brass or silver. The shape of the kris sheath is unmistakable, the wide section of the blade necessitating a correspondingly wide top section known as the sampir."
* Gimlette 1971 p4-5
"On the west coast of the Malay Peninsula it has been denied very generally that the blade of the kris is ever deliberately poisoned, but in Kelantan I have been told by the late Dato' Lela 'diraja and the Engku Said Husain of Kota Bharu that arsenic is sometimes smeared on the blades of Malay weapons with criminal intent. Reference to this practice is made in a quaint little book entitled 'Six Months Among the Malays,' published in London in 1855. The author, Dr. Yvan, who was physician to a scientific mission sent by France to China, writes as follows: 'I changed the subject by inquiring whether it were true that the Malays poisoned their arrows and other weapons. 'As true,' he replied, 'as that I am the son of my father.' On my inquiring further into the subject he said he would return on the morrow and show me something relative to it; so on the following day Abdala arrived carrying a number of small paper parcels, which he spread out on the table and allowed me to examine. There were several fragments of a whitish substance which I immediately recognized from its form to be a species of lime; another ingredient reduced to a white powder, some coco-nut oil, a citron, and an extract of some kind of a dark colour and virous smell. Abdala took up a long, thin kriss, touched the side of it with lime, then spread it over with the white powder and sqeezed a little of the citron juice upon it; this being done, he exposed it to the heat of the sun and when the blade was quite dry he took up the black extract and put a small quantity of it upon the part which had previously been covered with lime, touching it lastly with the coco-nut oil. He then proceeded to prepare the other side of the kriss in the same manner, and, to convince me that he perfectly understood the whole affair, he wounded a fowl which died a short time afterwards."
* Steel and magic 2020 p299
"The scabbard mouth is probably modelled on the typical shape of a Malay-Thai boat. The figure on the hilt appears to be standing in that boat just like a mythical ancestor. The keris tajong is widely considered to be a 'martial' martial weapon, even if its outward appearances seems [SIC] to suggest a lack of combative function. However, it is an effective thrusting weapon and its long scabbard is sturdy enough to be used for parrying."
* Ghiringhelli 2007 p34 (describing two stingray spine daggers)
"Ikan = fish; pari = rayfish. There are different types of 'stingray', Ikan Pari should be Trygonide or Taeniura lymma."
* van Zonneveld 2001 p56
"IKAN PARI A sting-ray. In early times fishermen used the poisonous tip of a sing-ray's tail as a weapon (spear-point or dagger), or to manufacture poison. Ikan pari tails have been found in caves, sometimes located at a distance of five to six days' journey from the coast. Apparently these poisonous, notched sting-ray tails proved to be a good weapon. Its hilt must have been covered with tree bark or some other material to protect the hand. Once the poison had lost its power, poison of a freshly caught ikan pari was applied. The short, straight form of the oldest known keris type, the keris majapahit, was perhaps derived from an ikan pari tail." [references omitted]
* Gimlette 1971 p126-127
"On the sea-coast of Kelantan the tail of a sting-ray is not infrequently carried as a switch. In January, 1921, a Malay constable was punished by the court for slashing a leading merchant at the sea-port of Tumpat across the face and neck with one of these switches. The injuries, which consisted of bruised abrasions on the face, neck and forearm, were not of a serious surgical nature.
"The far more serious wound caused by the spine has been described as follows: 'A Chinaman, aged twenty years, was attacked, the wound being in the thigh. When rescued he fainted, and on regaining consciousness had complete numbness and paralysis of the limb affected. The wound remaining unhealed, he was brought to hospital a fortnight later, and on admission he had a peculiar stiff look and unusual glassiness of the eyeball, extreme weakness bordering on collapse, pallor, feeble heart, but ravenous appetite. The injured leg was not swollen, but sensibility was lost. These was a jagged, irregular, sloughing wound 2 1/2 inches (6 cm.) deep with a copious, very sickening, foetid, thin, dark-grey discharge. With treatment the sloughs gradually came away, though small subcutaneous abscesses developed and large parts of the muscles came away, exposing the bone. Finally granulation occurred, though meanwhile the same foetid pus collected in the knee-joint."
* Sheppard 1972 p108
"In northern Malaya, princes and men of rank sometimes wore a loose-fitting open coat over a high-collared tunic. In Kedah this coat was called Baju Sikap, and followed an Achinese pattern. In Kelantan and Patani the outer coat was longer and had a high collar and was fastened at the neck by a single button."
* Gold jewelry and ornaments of Malaysia 1988
"The pending is an ornamental belt buckle which was worn by Malays as part of their full ceremonial dress. It was generally worn above the navel to secure a man's sarong or sampin. ...
"[...] Buckles of similar design were also made by Chinese craftsman [sic] for use by the Straits-born Chinese communities in Malacca, Penang and Singapore."