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A rare Indonesian flintlock gun or kemura panjang

Penang, Chinese/Peranakan manufacture for Sumatra/Aceh, circa 1870


L. 152.5 cm

These weapons were encountered by Dutch colonial forces during their campaigns in Sumatra. They started to appear in the early 1870s and are often equipped with flint or percussion locks, many of which are of British origin, proof marked 'Tower'. Dutch ethnographers noted that neither the Acehnese nor the Batak who carried them produced firearms. They tend to have southern Chinese style decoration on the stock and Chinese assembly marks on the underside of the barrel and the inside of the forestock. Hence, they were made by members of the overseas Chinese communities who had settled across Southeast Asia.

The gun is made of hardwood and decorated with vines and flowers, and the steel mounts are typically decorated in the Indonesian style, which can also be found on silver mounts of document boxes and other Batavia silverware.

Two types were distinguished: the short kemura panèk and the long kemura panjang. Jacobs and Kielstra wrote about the Acehnese and their weapons of choice:

"Op Atjeh worden alleen zoogenaamde blanke of scherpe wapenen door den wapensmid gemaakt; de vuurwapenen worden van elders ingevoerd. De zoogenaamde donderbussen, waarvan men twee soorten heeft, nl. de kemoera panjang en de kemoera panèk (PI. X B) d. i. de lange en de korte, zijn van Chineesch fabrikaat en worden of beter wer- den vroeger hier van uit Pinang ingevoerd, terwijl men geweren in alle mogelijke soorten kan aantreffen."

- E.B. Kielstra, 1894

(On Aceh, only the so-called white arms or sharp weapons are made by the weaponsmith; the firearms are imported from elsewhere. De so-called blunderbusses, of which they have two types, the kemoera panjang and the kemoera panèk (Pl. X B), the long and short one respectively, are of Chinese make and are, or better, were, imported to here from Pinang.

One can encounter guns of all types.)

"De wapens der Atjehers zijn in de eerste plaats klewangs, een soort van sabels waarmede zij uitstekend weten om te gaan; verder krissen en pie- ken, en vooral geweren en donderbussen, welke o.a. op Poeloe Penang in groote hoeveelheden worden vervaardigd."

- J.K. Jacobs, 1884

(The arms of the Acehnese are in the first place klewangs, a type of sabre which they use expertly; also, kerisses and spears and primarily guns and blunderbusses, which among others are produced in large quantities on Pulau Pinang.)

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