Gari (sword)

Gari is a sword that originates from Nias, an island off the west coast of North Sumatra, Indonesia.[1] It is a term used for a type of sword found only in North Nias.[2]

A Gari, pre-1918.
Place of origin Indonesia (Nias)
Service history
Used byNias people (Ono Niha)
Length58 cm approximately

Blade typeSingle edge, hollow grind
Hilt typeWood, horn


It is a sword with narrow blade, slightly curved at the end. The hilt has the shape of a lasara's head and a long curved iron protrusion ("tongue"), appearing from the centre of the opened mouth. The scabbard is, as is the blade, slightly curved at the end. It may be decorated with brass strips and wood-carvings. Magical objects may be attached to the scabbard's top.[3]


The Gari is used during wedding ceremonies in Northern Nias. The couple will stand with the priest beneath the ancestor figures, with all three grasping the Gari while the priest chants a prayer. The Gari is also used a part of the presentation of dowry to the bride's father.[4]


  1. Apolonius Lase (2011). Kamus Liniha Nias – Indonesia. Penerbit Buku Kompas. ISBN 978-979-709-541-3.
  2. Österreichische Leo-Gesellschaft, Görres-Gesellschaft (1985). Anthropos. Zaunrith'sche Buch-, Kunst- und Steindruckerei.
  3. Albert G Van Zonneveld (2002). Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago. Koninklyk Instituut Voor Taal Land. ISBN 90-5450-004-2.
  4. Andrew Beatty (1992). Society And Exchange In Nias. Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-827865-9.

Further reading

  • Volkenkundig Museum Nusantara (1990). Nias. Delft, Netherlands: Volkenkundig Museum Nusantara. ISBN 90-71423-05-0.

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