Tumbok Lada
A Tumbuk Lada Gading, a typical weapon of Aru Karo kingdom and east coast Sumatran Malays.
Typeknife / dagger
Place of originIndonesia (Sumatra), Malaysia (Malay Peninsula)
Service history
Used byBatak (Karo people), Malay people, Minangkabau people[1]
Lengthoverall length: approx. 22–29 cm (8.7–11.4 in)

Blade typeSheepsfoot point blade with a single convex edge
Hilt typeWood

Tumbok Lada or Tumbuk Lada is a traditional slightly curved dagger[2] that originates in the eastern coast of Sumatra, Indonesia but also found in the western coast of Malay Peninsula, Malaysia.

The name comes from tumbok meaning to grind or crush, and lada meaning pepper. Thus name is derived from the handle of the Tumbok Lada, which is shaped like a traditional mortar and pestle and is used to grind peppercorns.[3] It is thought that the Tumbok Lada may have first being introduced in a bronze prototype.[4]


Tombok Lada has a slightly curved, single-edged blade. The blade narrows slightly from the hilt to the tip. The cutting edge is on the concave side of the blade. The blades are often made from pattern welded steel and usually have one or more hollow grinds that run just below the spine of the blade. The blades are made almost exactly like the Sewar blades, but they are wider and thicker. The place is pointed or rounded. The hilt has no guard and is made of ivory. The scabbards are usually made of wood and decorated with carvings, or covered with silver sheet.[3] Some Tumbok Lada possesses hilt made of solid gold or silver.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "Tumbok Lada" (PDF). Muzium Kesenian Islam Malaysia. Retrieved 2023-09-19.
  2. ^ Sir Frank Athelstane Swettenham (1881). Vocabulary of the English and Malay Languages: With Notes · Volume 1. G.P.O, Singapore. OCLC 13976937.
  3. ^ a b Albert G Van Zonneveld (2002). Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago. Koninklyk Instituut Voor Taal Land. p. 149. ISBN 90-5450-004-2.
  4. ^ H. G. Quaritch Wales (2023). Ancient South-East Asian Warfare. HOW Academics. p. 13. ISBN 978-93-955-2216-8.
  5. ^ "Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Malaysian Branch". Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society: Volume 52, Part 1. The Branch. 1979. p. 33.