Language: South Nias
Source: Engelbertus Schröder, 1917


Balatu salà is the South Nias term for a specific type of sword blade. Schröder described it as having an edge that is shorter than the spine, and there is a bend in the transition.1

Fischer, writing in 1909, presented a typology of both hilts and blade shapes. He uses numbers for each type and does not provide native names for each. The balatu salà appears to be Fischer type B.

Belatu blade types

After the illustrations by Fischer.
The edge is emphasized for clarity.


Nias Balatu salà

A South Nias balatu salà.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2022.


Further reading

Glossary article: Belatu


1. Engelbertus Eliza Willem Gerards Schröder; Nias. Ethnographische, geographische en historische aanteekeningen en studiën. Brill, Leiden. 1917. Page 235.
2. Fischer, H.W.; Catalogus van 's Rijks Ethnographisch Museum, Deel IV, de Eilanden om Sumatra. E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1909. Page 39.

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Nice and complete example with talisman basket. Probably 20th century.


Blade marked with VOC Amsterdam monogram, and the year 1769.


With Dutch VOC blade, marked with the Amsterdam monogram.


This peculiar sword was used by the Garo people of Assam for fighting, clearing the jungle, and animal…


The basket hilt is elaborately overlaid with silver in floral designs.

Price on request