Parang Salawaku


Indonesia is rich with various arts and culture. One of Indonesian products is traditional weapon. In the past, besides protecting from enemy attack, traditional weapon is also used for farming and hunting. With its additional functions, this traditional weapon becomes the identity of the nation which enriches the archipelago’s culture. One of Indonesian traditional weapons is from Maluku, namely Parang Salawaku.

Parang Salawaku is a pair of traditional weapon from Maluku which consists of Parang which long chopper and Salawaku which mean my shield. In the past, this weapon was used for battle. Parang Salawaku is also the symbol of regional government of Ambon city, the capital city of Maluku. This traditional weapon is made from iron which is forged as long as one meter. Its handle is made from iron or Gapusa wood. While, Salawaku is made from hard wood which is coated with black color and decorated with sea shells. There are certain motifs which symbolize courage in this decoration. Salawaku has slim shape. The top and bottom positions are thicker than the middle. At the front side, it is slightly curved and equipped with a handle at the back. The black color to coat Salawaku is made from root sap of plan.  

For Maluku people, Parang Salawaku is the symbol of people’s independence. When fighting against the Dutch Colonial, Kapitan Pattimura and his soldiers used those weapons. Today, Parang Salawaku becomes one of typical handicrafts of Maluku.

Besides as decoration, Parang Salawaku becomes attribute in Cakalele dance. Cakalele is Maluku’s traditional war dance which is used to welcome guest or traditional party. Parang is held by male dancer on right hand which symbolizes bravery. While Salawaku is held on left hand to symbolize struggle to reach justice.

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