| Sword and scabbard [belato]

Nias people
Nias, Indonesia

Sword and scabbard [belato] early-mid 19th century
wood, cotton, steel, copper
64.0 (h) x 14.5 (w) x 15.5 (d) cm
KIT Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam


On Nias, images of the lasara, a mythical horned serpent, were emblazoned on objects to proclaim power and high status. Carved in the form of a lasara with open mouth and menacing fangs, the hilt of this sword indicates that the weapon belonged to a chief who had taken a human head. Attached to the scabbard is a bundle of talismans including small wooden ancestor figures, hornbills and reptiles, along with powerful and strange objects from the natural world.

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