Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1907 Toraja to kapua
Subjectto kapua 'big man' warrior
Setting: tribal warfare, anti-colonial resistance, Sulawesi highlands late 19th - mid-20thc
Objectdua lalan, làbó to dolo, penai swords

Dua Lalan

* van Zonneveld 2001 p43
"DUA LALAN  SULAWESI, TORAJA  A sword used both in time of war and for the ceremonial slaughtering of buffaloes.  Hence its name dua lalan (meaning: 'dual purpose').  The blade has an, almost [sic] parallel, straight back and edge.  At the tip the back curves towards the edge.  The short hilt is made of horn, around which brass wire or small strips of rattan are fixed.  Its extension is flat and decorated with spiral carving sometimes inlaid with pieces of bone or with mother-of-pearl.  The hilt, when looking at its side, may resemble a hornbill's head whereby the beak, the eye and the excrescence on the beak are clearly visible.  It can also be more stylised so that only the spiral decorations remain.  the straight scabbard has at its lower part a small foot from which it is covered up to 2/3 with rattan, sometimes even completely."  [references omitted]

* Draeger 1972 p215
"The so-called buffalo knife used in killing that animal for ceremonies reveals its battlefield nature by its very name, dua lalan, or 'dual use'; it serves well against animal or man."

Là'bó To Dolo

* Volkman 1985 p96 (describing funeral ceremony)
"Until the late nineteenth century buffalo were repeatedly stabbed with spears, dying slowly.  This method was decried by Islamic occupiers in the 1890s and later by the Dutch.  The present technique is a swift, clean cut to the jugular vein, using a long-bladed sword, or la'bo.  When done properly, death is almost instantaneous ...."

* Power and gold 1988 p65 f59
"Toraja woman in deep trance.  The man behind her is pulling a la'bo to dolo, (sword of the ancestors) against her abdomen."


* van Zonneveld 2001 p104
"PENAI  SULAWESI, TORAJA A machete of the Baree-speaking Toraja. Its blade broadens somewhat at the point. The edge is longer than the back, which turns in a slight curve towards the edge. The hilt is carved from buffalo horn and has a striking ornamentation. Most hilts are flattened and turn at a right angle half way up. Just past this turn we see a protruding ring around the hilt. At its end we normally see a V-shaped indentation and a number of cross ribs. At the blade the hilt has a broader part which fits precisely with the broader mouth of the scabbard. At the end of the scabbard we see a small foot with, resembling the hilt, a protruding ring. The scabbard is often decorated with beautiful carvings. Popular was a decoration with tin foil only meant for renowned head-hunters. The penai is carried with a belt around the waist. Therefore the scabbard has on the outer side a thickened protrusion in which two holes are made to run the belt through." [references omitted]