Weapons and mysticism in Banten, Indonesia
The golok is a traditional dagger from Banten Province in West Java, Indonesia. It is also fairly popular among Betawi people in Jakarta and the Sundanese people in West Java, and it can also be found in Southeast Asian countries like of Malaysia and the Philippines. Although the tradition of wearing golok is disappearing, it continues to have mystical value and politicians and leaders seek these powerful objects still produced by few masters in Banten. The photos document the ritual conducted each year in Ciomas, Banten to bath (mandi golok) and “fill” the golok with (eusi) power by passing a hammer on it.
French anthropologist Gabriel Facal conducted fieldwork in 2015 in West Java and was helped with the photographic documentation by Yohan Gruzon. His research focuses on martial arts, initiation, rituals and techniques and since 2009 also on Muslim practices and institutions, traditional authority structures and informal political networks.