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Two Traditional Malay Fighting Blades (Parang Jengok)

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Subject :Two Traditional Malay Fighting Blades (Parang Jengok)
Published By :
Location :
Estimated Year : 1900
Media Type : Artifact
Source : Guan Hoe Company, Ipoh
Remark :

These two Malay weapons, reminiscent of the Hornbill, were  popular in the late 19th century in North and East Malaya, The design probably started its life as a farming implement for, like the scythe in shape and form it would make a perfectly good harvesting tool. However, with minor refinement, in a similar way to many other simple agricultural implements, they could be turned into weapons when necessity called.

One worthy account of these as a weapon comes from the book “In Court and Kampong” written by Sir Hugh Clifford (former British resident of Pahang from the year 1896-1903) where he recorded:

“Their favourite weapon is an uncanny looking instrument called pârang jĕngok—or the 'peeping' knife—which is armed with a sharp peak at the tip, standing out almost at right angles to the rest of the blade. Armed with this, on a dark night, the robber walks down a street, and just as he passes a man, he strikes back over his left shoulder, so that the peak catches his victim in the back of the head, and knocks him endways. He can then be robbed with ease and comfort, and, whether he recovers from the blow or dies from its effects is his own affair, and concerns the thief not at all. It is not very long ago since two men were found lying senseless in the streets of Kôta Bharu, each having put the other hors de combat with a pârang jĕngok, striking at the same moment, in the same way, and with the same amiable intention. To save further trouble they each had their hands cut off, as soon as they came round, by the Sultân's order. This, when you come to think of it, was a sound course for the Sultân to pursue.”

Apart from being a particularly nasty tool for the everyday street theif, it is also said that, in Indonesia, this weapon provided its worth as a close combat ‘stab and slash’ aid during the Aceh wars against the Dutch.

The two in our collection were found in Sarawak and are slightly different sizes. They have minor differences in design, particularly relating to the extension at the peak, but the dark wooden handles with brass banding wit stupa (finial) are virtually identical in design. However the smaller weapon has a wooden stupa while the large one has brass. The handles are also slignificantly different in diameter to provide the correct balance for each weapon. The blade lengths are 12 and 14 inches respectively, while overall lengths measure 18 and 20 inches.

These weapons do not normally come with sheaths or scabbards.

Filename : 20171204-003