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This article is about the traditional bladed weapon. For the missile boat, see Klewang (trimaran).
COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Slagzwaard met ijzeren lemmet TMnr A-1236.jpg
South Sumatran klewang, pre-1889.
Type Cutlass
Place of origin Indonesian archipelago
Service history
Wars Aceh War
Length 40-70cm

Blade type Single edge, slight convex grind
Hilt type Water buffalo horn, wood
Scabbard/sheath Wood

The klewang or kelewang is a type of single-edge longsword from Indonesia with a protruding notch near its tip.[1] In size, weight and shape it is halfway between the golok and the kampilan. The style of the klewang differs between the various cultures of Indonesia. Blades range from 15 to 30 inches in length and may be straight or slightly curved.[2] It is carried for show by followers of chiefs, or taken on expeditions to market or nightly walks in the villages. It is worn without a sheath[3] although there are sheathed varieties.

During the Aceh War the Acehnese klewang proved very effective in close quarters combat against the cutlass-wielding Dutch troops and the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army. Mobile troops armed with carbines and klewang succeeded in suppressing Aceh resistance where traditional infantry with rifle and bayonet had failed. From that time on until the 1950s the Royal Dutch East Indies Army, Royal Dutch Army, Royal Dutch Navy and Dutch police used these cutlasses called klewang.

An Acehnese collection of Kris (hung vertically) and Klewang (hung diagonally) during the Dutch colonial period, circa 1893–1895.

Ceremonial Use[edit]

Colour Guard Regiment "van Heutsz".

In the Royal Netherlands Army the klewang is still used as a ceremonial weapon by the colour guard of the Regiment van Heutsz, because the regiment took over the traditions of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, where the klewang was historically used as a side arm.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Weapons and fighting arts of Indonesia, Donn F. Draeger, Tuttle Publishing, Apr 15, 1992 p.33
  2. ^ Albert G Van Zonneveld (2002). Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago. Koninklyk Instituut Voor Taal Land. ISBN 90-5450-004-2. 
  3. ^ Christian Snouck Hurgronje (1901). The Acehnese, Volume 1. Book On Demand. ASIN B005G1O9SM. 

External links[edit]