The Story of Authentic Weapons

Local Heritages
13 November 2016


Sipet or sumpit is local word for blowgun and used as long distance hunting instrument and also for battles. Equipped with a spear, for close range target, a very good sipet is usually made of bedaru wood. There are also damak and tambilahan. Both are arrowhead and arrowhead container. Dayak people often use poison on damaks to paralyze and even kill targets. They usually are skillful to use this two-meter length instrument and put some damaks altogether and blow one by one. Currently sipet is a past time for recreation and part of sport competition as in annual cultural event as Marunting Batu Aji (Pangkalan Bun) and Hulu Arai (Nanga Bulik).


Mandau is authentic machete of Dayak people. This very sharp blade, sometimes elaborated with ethnic patterns, has unique shape and different from other machetes of other tribes in Indonesia. The hilt of mandau is usually made from animal horns, such as deer’s horns. Mandau is used in battles or ceremonial occasions. The one similar to Mandau is Ambang which is mostly used for daily work. Ambang has no detail patterns and the metal quality is less than Mandau.


Talawang, telawang, or talabang are how Dayak people call for shield. With its distinct shape and carving patterns, talabang has become a cultural identity of Dayak people and was used with Mandau in battles. Talabang is usually made of Ulin wood due to its durability. The carving patterns and color of the outer side vary from tribe to tribe and believed to hold magical power to protect and give power to owner. As souvenir, talabang is made simply as interior decoration with colorful patterns or plain color.

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