Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1859 Banjar warrior
Subject: warrior
Culture: Banjar
Setting: civil war, Banjarmasin war, Kalimantan 19thc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Tagliacozzo 2005 p163-164
"In southeastern Borneo, a war had been fought in 1860 to depose the sultan of Banjarmasin from his throne; the Dutch were able to claim control over the city and its coastal lowlands as a result, and the sultan and his party fled upriver into the interior.  What happened next in this arena, however, as it did in many other places in the archipelago, showed the hazy nature of Dutch conquests and what they implied.  The war continued in the periphery for the next several decades, pitting the original and rightful ruling dynasty against the forces of Dutch expansion and control.  This can be seen in the reports of the local resident in the early 1870s: lands outside of immediate Dutch occupation were deemed completely unsafe, with resistance cropping up even in areas very close to Banjarmasin.  Most of the danger, according to the resident, was attributable to bands of armed men who wanted to restore the sultan.  The sultan himself was far away upriver converting various Dayak peoples, often with a great deal of success, the resident noted, to his cause of rebellion.  Worst of all, from the perspective of the Dutch, was that the sultan was unreachable by law for all interests and purposes: the intersecting river systems in the interior meant he could appear at any moment, depending on which river he happened to traverse to get down to the lowlands.  Conquest in South Borneo, therefore, was contextual and ambivalent.  The sultan's palace in Banjarmasin flew the Dutch flag, but meanwhile his followers traveled the length of the residency using rivers as their guides.  Even into the early twentieth century, expeditions were being sent into the interior near the border to attempt to quell disturbances caused by remnants of the sultan's party."


* Tagliacozzo 2005 p292
"The resident of Sumatra's East Coast complained to the Dutch governor-general that Enfields and other modern firearms could be had at 'spot-prices' in Singapore by local peoples, which certainly seems to have been true, as these rifles were turning up all over Southeast Asia at the time, even in interior Borneo."


* Steel and magic 2020 p117
"The beladah belabang is a saber popular among the coastal Banjar Muslims of Negara in South Borneo.  According to Schmeltz, its name is derived from the local dialect of labang (nail) and beladau (a curved dagger).  Another local name is parang lais.  
    "[...]  The beladah belabang is quite common because of its popularity during the Banjarmasin War (1859-63).  It was produced in significant volumes by the industrialised arms factories founded in Negara by the Sultan of Banjarmasin in the mid-nineteenth century.
    "Some of the oldest examples are rather short and have a more upturned end close to the point, resembling an Ottoman kilij.  The kilij might even be the inspiration for the blade of this sword; it was common for the rich Banjarese to visit Mecca on hajj, as well as Turkey and Egypt.  Later, more standardised versions of this sword have less curvature.  Some of them also have a cut-off, vertical point.  All of them, however, feature the knuckle-guard, usually a fuller, and often the protrusion at the base.  It is also quite common to find esoteric Islamic squares, or rectangles, combined with pierced or inlaid leaf motifs at the base.
    "Among Western collectors, this sword is mostly (and falsely) known as parang nabur.  The reason for this error is twofold.  The first mistake was made by Stone, who, in his highly distributed reference work on swords, misunderstood the non-illustrated description by Roth on the Northwestern Borneo parang nabur (also known as parang nyabor or parang naibor) of the Iban people as a sword resembling a Western saber.  In his book, he illustrates the parang nabur with two swords: a minasbad from Bicol in the Philippines, and a parrot-hilted saber that might originate from Peninsular Malaysia.  The next mistake occurred when Western collectors wanted to categorise this South Borneo sword of the Banjarese and thought it resembled the swords depicted in Stone."

* van Zonneveld 2001 p

* Stone 1934 p



Daggers (Jambiah, Keris, Sadop)

* Steel and magic 2020 p120
"The jambiah is originally an Arabic curved dagger, the form of which was imported and then usually manufactured locally in Negara (South Borneo), Sumatra, and Peninsular Malaysia.  Characteristic for the Negara version is the black and crimson colour (the crimson being dyed with locally produced dragon blood resin), and the floral or bird-shaped hilt.  This dagger probably became popular because a large share of the wealthy Banjarese from Negara could afford, and made, the hajj to Mecca.
  "[...]  The jambiah was mostly used in combat with the blade protruding from the side of the little finger of the wielder's hand (an ice-pick grip), and delivered either upward gut-ripping slashes, or downward strikes with a hooking and piercing motion.  In this respect, it belongs to a groups of small sickle-shaped daggers."

​* Steel and magic 2020 p123
​"The sadop is found in Southeast Borneo, and the Dayak term translates as 'small dagger.'  According to Juynboll, it is regarded among the Dayak people as suitable for women.  In the collection of the Ethnographic Museum in Leiden, however, it is also attributed to the neighboring Banjar Malays.  A notable element of the Dayak sadop is its triangular blade, often designed with a central ridge.  The sadop of the Banjarese, however has a longer and less triangular blade that sometimes shows pamor."