Traditional Weapon

Alamang, a Typical Weapon of South Sulawesi

Indonesia has a variety of cultures spread throughout the country. One of the most interesting area with a rich culture is Sulawesi, including the South Sulawesi. The province, with its capital in Makassar, holds many interesting cultures such as traditional houses, traditional dances, traditional clothes and traditional weapons. One of the traditional weapons from South Sulawesi is Alamang.

Alamang is a traditional type of sword from Sulawesi. From the place where it comes, this sword is also called Sonri or Salapu. This weapon is one of many sacred weapons in Makassar.

The Shape of Alamang

This weapon bar is straight and sharp at the bottom. The edges are pointed down. In Bugis terms it is also known as Sudang in Makassar terms, and Labbo Penai in Toraja terms.

Alamang (Salapu) has a straight edged blade. This sword is generally made of ordinary metal, but some are made of prestige metal composite (Pamor) like damascus steel. The handle part of this weapon is usually made of wood or horn. The cover is made of wood or rattan. The length of this sword along with the handle is usually around 74 cm with a metal side length of 58 cm.

The Philosophy of Alamang

The form itself is a combination of 3 types of weapons, which are Tappi, Badik and Tombak. His philosophy of this weapon is a symbol of sovereignty, prosperity, and authority in a Kingdom. According to some literature in the past, the King would not leave his kingdom without his Alamang (Salapu).

The Use of Alamang

In the past this weapon was used for war. On the other hand there is also a function as a symbol of high position or Kingdom. As a device of royal greatness, of course this pattern is very exclusive and cannot be duplicated. To keep it exclusive, even the masters were sworn not to make this Salapu, even if it was only a duplicate.

The Exclusivity of Weapons

Of course this weapon is exclusive because there are laws that apply where nobles and ordinary people cannot imitate the weapons of the King or kingdom. One example in the history of the kingdom of Bone. Once, there was a Panre or master killed when he finished making a weapon. This was an example of an extreme way to maintain the exclusivity of Alamang.




  • Dyah

    Isn’t Damascus steel a long lost technology? Nowadays people can only make a replica of it, of which quality is said anywhere but near the real ones. What is the method of forging the steel used for alamang?

    • Asyraaf Ahmadi

      In Indonesia, Damascus steel also called Pamor or Balik Mipih. Of course the technique and materials that has been used are different, even though having almost same result (in visual). In South Sulawesi, blacksmiths that called panre collect different kind of metal from around Sulawesi. There’s something special about Sulawesi, metal that has been mined here having high Manganese composition. This material also material that we’re using in these present days to make HSS or High Speed Steel or Tool Steel. This type of metals comportment making metal even more though

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