google79f3d4a96bd13f7b.html The Value Of Ancestral Wisdom And Power Embedded In The Legend - Nature and Culture

The Value Of Ancestral Wisdom And Power Embedded In The Legend

Mandau is an heirloom of the Dayak Ethnic


Mandau is a traditional weapon of the indigenous tribes who inhabit the island of Kalimantan (Borneo), one of the large islands in Indonesia. As an ethnic weapon, the Mandau is easily recognizable because it has a distinctive appearance.

His physical appearance reflects a thick ethnic pattern, starting from the detailed carvings on the handles, the carvings of the sheaths, to the main part of the Mandau itself. The main part of the Dayak Mandau is an iron blade with a length of 65 – 70 cm, with one side sharpened and the other side filled with carvings typical of the Dayak ethnicity. The carving on the Mandau is made on a third to half of the iron blade at the end.

side section and cross section of the Mandau blade

Carved ornaments are also made on the handles, and on the sarongs of Mandau sleeves. As reinforcement, a bond is added in the form of woven rattan wrapped around the handle and the sheath is also given a woven rattan reinforcement.

The placement of the Mandau on the owner's waist is by tying a rope which is also made with woven rattan, a locking system at the end of the rope like buttoning a shirt.

The carvings that appear on the Mandau part at first glance look the same from one Mandau to another but in reality this is not so because the carvings on the Mandau show the identity and track record of the owner.

As a result of Mandau's past culture, which was made as a personal weapon, it was ordered specifically for individuals, so it was not mass-produced.

The material used for the process of making a Mandau reflects the social status of the customer. the higher the social status, the rarer the basic materials used, the longer and more complicated the manufacturing process, the higher the prestige of the Mandau.

That's why it's currently very difficult to find a Mandau with such a fabulous prestige, even if it exists, it is only owned by relatives of tribal officers or descendants of tribal leaders as family heirlooms.

From various sources, it is stated that the basic material to produce high quality Mandau is a stone. The elders of the Dayak tribe named the stone as Mantikei, but have not found further information about what Mantikei stone is.

Sources of literature about ancient weapons held by royal nobles in Indonesia in the past stated that the basic material used was meteorite. The reason is because meteorites have a complex structure and metal content plus the belief in the existence of a supernatural element "heavenly power".


The shapes, models, and details of the carvings can be imitated, but can not match the Mandau heritage of the Dayak tribe, which has prestige and magical powers. This magical power has been widely recognized in Kalimantan, especially in the Dayak community.

So most likely what is meant by mantikei stone is a meteorite. The authentic form of Mandau left by the ancient Dayak kings can be seen at the Mulawarman Museum Kutai Kartanegara in Tenggarong, East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Currently, there are many replicas of Mandau Dayak traded in several areas in Kalimantan with various carvings. With its beautiful appearance, the fans are mostly collectors and art lovers.

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