Brunei Latok


Total Length: 66 cm.

Hilt: - Brass. 

          - 14cm long.

Blade: - 53 cm long.

            - 13 mm thick at the base.

            - Inlaid brass "V's" and stripes

              along the spine.

            - Floral decoration and (double "S)

              brass inlay at both sides.


A latok is a typical landdayak sword, but also the Malay and Melanaus used these kind of strange looking angulated swords.

The latok I am discussing here, is most interesting because of its strange features, which are not typical for one region, but found from West Borneo to former English North Borneo.



The brass inlay on top of the spine, the lines, are found more often on different kind of swords originative from the West part of Borneo. However the "V" shaped inlay at the shoulder of the blade (spine and cutting side) are most unusual.

The floral motifs at the sides of the blade (at the shoulder) is not found in West Borneo, but resembles the decoration used on Sabah parangs.

The oblong shaped inlay at the sides of the blade (at the shoulder) had been seen more often on blade originating from West Borneo.



The pommel shape is corresponding to ones found on Brunei klewangs.

The same motifs on the brass grip are found on Brunei pedangs.

So we can highly assume that the hilt had been casted in Brunei.

The art of casting brass is something the Brunei people had been familiar with (for instance Brunei lantaka's).



As people travelled, there are many features from different areas found back in this latok.

There is a big possibility that this latok is a Brunei version, with several features copied from their East-, as well from from their Western neighbours.

This makes this piece a highly interesting cross cultural piece, with a lovely appearance and therefore a great piece of art.

According R. Shelford, presented 12th November, 1901



The chief characteristic of this parang is the open angle which the shoulder of the blade and the handle  form with the rest of the blade.

The parang, which is used largely for agricultural  purposes, is grasped by the handle and shoulder of the blade in both hands, and is then a highly effective chopping implement.

Photos from M.C. Schadee, Landak, West-Borneo 1894

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Maurice Bloebaum (Monday, 30 May 2016 09:08)

    I have to thank Michael Marlow for his insights, and brainstorming with me on the latok.
    His insight was priceless to come to my final conclusion.