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Home » Banda Aceh » Rencong: The Formidable Weapon of Aceh

Rencong: The Formidable Weapon of Aceh

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  1. PLTD Banda Aceh

  2. Banda Aceh

  3. Kopi Aceh

    Photo courtesy by Intika Fonda firnanda
  4. Kopi Aceh

    Photo courtesy by Intika Fonda firnanda
  5. Kopi Aceh

    Photo courtesy by Intika Fonda firnanda
  6. Banda Aceh

  7. Banda Aceh

  8. Banda Aceh

  9. Budaya Aceh / Aceh Culture

  10. Kuliner Aceh dan Sabang / Aceh and Sabang Culinary

  11. Mesjid Raya Baitturahman / Baitturahman Mosque

  12. Museum Aceh / Aceh Museum

  13. Sabang

  14. Pantai Iboih - Sabang / Iboih - Sabang Beach

  15. Tari Saman / Saman Dance

  16. Tari Saman / Saman Dance

  17. kepulauan banyak



Tanah Rencong or the land of the Rencong is a title widely attributed to Aceh, the most north-western province of Indonesia. The name derives from the traditional weapon that is not only legendary but is also considered a heritage that has passed down the generations from their ancestors.

The Rencong (or sometimes known as  Reuncong or Rincong) for the Acehnese is more than just a combat weapon since for centuries it has been considered as a symbol of a person’s courage, dauntiness, and heroism. During the time of the kingdom of Aceh Darussalam, this unique shaped dagger unfailingly accompanied all men and women of Aceh at every level of society. During the Portuguese and Dutch colonial era, the Rencong became the symbol of resistance worn by Aceh’s heroes, both male and female, among whom: Teuku Umar, Cut Nyak Dhien, Teungku Chik Ditiro, Cut Meutia, and many others.

Rencong looks slightly similar to a Keris, the other authentic Indonesian dagger from that has been listed as a masterpiece of the intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO, but the rencong can be distinguished by its unique shape where its hilt resembles the letter “L”.

Its blade varies in length between  10 to 50 cm and is slightly curved with a pointed tip section. Its unique shape is a representation of a calligraphy of the Arabic words Bismillah (In the name of God) which is commonly pronounced in Islamic prayers. The Recong’s bent hilt which is thick at the elbow represents the Arabic letter Ba, while the hilt tip that is closest to the blade represents the letter Sin, the edge of the blade that points down represents the letter Mim,  whereas, the steel blade from the hilt’s edge to almost the tip of the blade represents the letter Lam.   The pointed tip with a flat upper part and slight ascending lower part represents the letter Ha.

The Rencong is generally divided into four parts: the Rencong’s eyes (bar/blade), punting Rencong, Ulee Rencong (handle) and Sarong Rencong (sheath or scabbard). The entire front side is sharp, while at the back it is sharpened only about three-quarters closest to the bud. There is an inverted bean-flower carved in the front side near the base of the upper blade which usually depicts the image of an Eagle or Garuda. This is called the Bengkuang Rencong.

The Sarong Rencong or scabbards are mostly made of plain wood, ivory or buffalo horn and is usually tied with a metal ring to strengthen and decorate the weapon. This is called the Klah. Klah is made of brass, silver, or gold, while the Ulee Rencong is sometimes also decorated with silver or gold engravings.

In general there are four types of Rencong’s, which are: the Rencong Meucugek, Rencong Meupucok, Rencong Pudoi, and Rencong Meukure.

The Rencong Meucugeuk is distinguished by the handle that has a sharply curved hilt (resembling an arrow) which in the Acehnese language is known as cugek/meucugek, while Rencong Meupucok receives its name from the fact that the tip of its hilt is decorated with ivory or gold carvings and various other sparkling decorations. The term Pudoi means imperfection, thus the Rencong Pudoi is a type of Rencong which has only a short and straight handle and is considered rather unfinished. The Rencong Meukere, on the other hand, is distinguished by engraved images on its eyes or blade such as snakes or flowers.

It is said that before the Rencong was known, people of Aceh used a weapon called Siwah. These weapons do not have a hilt, so it's quite difficult to use this in  combat, especially when the weapon is already covered with blood. The Siwah becomes slippery and slides easily from the hand when soaked in blood or sweat. Therefore, by order of Sultan Alaiddin Riayat Syah Al-Kahhar who ruled over Aceh at the time, blacksmiths were called to alter the Siwah into new models that would be easier to use and more effective in war. The blacksmiths then also added the L-shaped hilts in the Arabic letter of Ba, and since then the weapon came to be known to this day as “Rencong”.

Although no longer carried at the waist by the Acehnese as a weapon of self-defense, this formidable dagger still holds great value in Aceh society. Today the Rencong forms an inseparable part of many traditional ceremonies and in the elaborate, traditional costumes of Aceh. One can also find it today in many souvenir shops and handicraft centers across Aceh.

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Rencong: The Formidable Weapon of Aceh

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