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Author Topic:   Towards a classification of kampilan
Ian
Senior Member
posted 04-27-2002 16:03     Click Here to See the Profile for Ian   Click Here to Email Ian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A recent post by Rick on Moro kampilan became one of the most graphically intensive posts on this site. It seemed to me that given all this material and the large number of examples posted, we should be able to make some sense of the different styles of kampilan hilts. For this exercise, I have used pictures already posted on this site, pictures of my own swords, and one picture from Robert Cato's book Moro Swords.

So...here is a tentative nosology of the hilts posted. My approach was to take all the pictures of kampilan hilts I could find, resize them and orient them the same way using Adobe Photoshop. Then I eyeballed them for key features. Based on four features that seemed to vary in a somewhat predictable manner, I arrived at three groups of hilts that show the usual "jaws." Here are the features that I considered in arriving at the classification (see Figures 1-3).

Feature 1. Orientation of the hilt relative to the long axis of the blade.

I defined the long axis of the blade as the line connecting the points along the blade midway between the back edge and the cutting edge. Because kampilan blades are straight along the back and cutting edges, this means that the long axis of the blade must also be a straight line. I then projected the long axis of the blade back along the hilt and found that many hilts were actually tilted up and away from the cutting edge. (There are some more interesting features about the long axis of the blade and its relation to other features which I will discuss further below ? for now, I am concentrating on the classification of hilts.) Those swords with hilts turning up relative to the long axis of the blade I considered more closely.

Feature 2. The presence of a disk.

When I examined the upward tilted hilts it was apparent that many had other features in common. Almost all of them had a disk between the grip and the jaws, that lay above the projected long axis of the blade (wholly above in nearly all cases, sometimes mostly above).

Feature 3. Presence of a "saddle" to support the heel of the hand.

In most upward tilted hilts there was a small saddle on the back of the handle that supports the "heel" of the hand (known in medical parlance as the hypothenar eminence).

Feature 4. Presence or absence of radiating lines around the disk.

In many a series of four well defined lines radiated from the disk: one down each jaw of the pommel and two in the opposite direction towards the gripping portion of the hilt. Sometimes the two radiating back to the grip were obscured somewhat by floral motifs and okir designs.

Those upward tilted hilts that had a disk, a saddle, and at least two radiating lines, were classified as Type I hilts. Figure 1 shows a characteristic Type I hilt.

Figure 1. Type I hilt and features

Hilts that were not upturned relative to the long axis of the blade, but nevertheless had a disk and at least two radiating lines have been termed Type II hilts. Type II hilts may also have the saddle feature. Figure 2 shows the usual features of a Type II hilt.

Figure 2. Type II hilt and features

In the remaining cases the disk and radiating lines were absent and these were termed Type III hilts. The Type III hilts shown here both lack a saddle and one has an upward tilted hilt while the other does not. Figure 3 shows the features of a Type III hilt.

Figure 3. Type III hilt and features

Finally, there needs to be a fourth category, Type IV hilts, to account for atypical hilts that do not have the traditional jaws. Rick posted one example recently. While some of the features used above cannot be applied to atypical forms, the first feature (long axis test) can be examined. I think this may be the single most important distinguishing feature (for reasons cited below).

Here are the hilts that I could find from recent posts on EEWRS. The majority are Type I hilts (Figure 4), while the relatively few examples of Type II (Figure 5) and Type III (Figure 6) are shown below.

Figure 4. Collection of Type I hilts

Figure 5. Collection of Type II hilts (above)
Figure 6. Collection of Type III hilts (below)


What, if anything, do these hilt types mean?

While it is all very well coming up with some pictorial groupings, the critical issue is whether they mean anything. To try to determine whether this classification has any rationale in terms of origin of the swords, I sought out pictures that ascribed a provenance or site of collection to particular kampilan. I found four examples.

Two are located here on EEWRS in the plates of Krieger's 1926 Smithsonian article (see Plate 7, numbers 1 and 4) which have Type I hilts and are designated as coming from the Lanao area (Maranao). A third is in Cato's book (figure 32, p. 51) which is a beautiful specimen belonging to a nobleman from Lanao (and therefore a Maranao weapon) -- I have posted the picture from Mr. Cato's book (Figure 7 below) to illustrate this sword with a clear provenance and an example of a Type I hilt.

Figure 7. Maranao hilt from Cato's book

The final example is one of my own swords that I posted recently and called Maguindanao. The hilt is almost a copy of the Lanao kampilan in Cato. I went back to my records and found that indeed this sword is MARANAO, not Maguindanao as I had recalled incorrectly (the previous post has been corrected). Here is a better picture of the hilt of that sword (Figure 8).

Figure 8. Maranao hilt (personal collection)

Based on the discussion above, I tentatively propose that kampilan with Type I hilts be attributed to the Lanao region of the Maranao people. Type II and III hilts, and atypical variants, cannot be attributed at this time without specimens that have a reliable provenance. Indeed, it would be unwise to take the nosology above and apply it without much more information based on specimens with a clear provenance. Here is perhaps one area that members on this Forum might contribute their knowledge. We should first agree on what a "reliable provenance" means, then we might move forward. Some time ago, we talked about getting together a team of interested amateurs who would approach museums to examine their collections. Here is one hypothesis that might benefit from that form of data collection.

Other Interesting Features of the Long Axis of the Blade

While playing around with the symmetry of kampilan, and in particular the long axis of the blade in relation to other features, a couple of interesting observations emerged.

I was surprised to find the hilts tilted upwards relative to the long axis of the blade. Hilts that were not uptilted tended to follow the same line as the blade. In no case did I find a downward tilted hilt. Compared with the Moro kris and barung, where the hilts are actually tilted downwards, in the opposite direction to the kampilan, it was surprising to see a different orientation in the kampilan. The upward directed hilt is common for dha from Indochina, the katana, shamshir and other ?slicing? blades. The straight edge of a kampilan has always seemed to me a better chopping blade than one for slicing, and a downward tilted hilt might be expected to do a better job of chopping. The observed orientation of kampilan hilts is clearly intentional and carefully designed. Perhaps some of our martial arts experts can comment.

The second interesting feature was that the long axis of the blade almost always passed precisely through the base of the terminal spike. In fact, there is a notch formed at the bottom of the spike which aligns perfectly on my swords with the long axis of the blade. At the other end, for most Type I hilts, the long axis of the blade projects through the tip of the longer lower jaw. This symmetry and alignment is, in my view, an intentional feature of these highly crafted swords. The precision of the carving of the hilt and the quality of forging of the straight blade speak to excellent craftsmanship, so the consistent symmetry seen in many Type I hilts is, in my opinion, a deliberate design feature that should help us define the origin of such swords more precisely.

Finally, I am posting two more of my old kampilan that are not complete but serve to illustrate the classification outlined above. The blades are almost identical in length and width and the tips are very similar. The bottom one is missing its guard and the top one is clearly missing the jaws of its hilt (Figure 9). The main distinguishing features are in the hilts. The one missing part of the hilt is clearly a Type I hilt, with an upward tilted hilt and disk. The other is Type III, lacking the disk and radiating lines.

Figure 9. More kampilan hilts (personal collection)

The foregoing is purely my opinion and I welcome comments and criticisms. What I have laid out may be the beginning of something more definitive. Maybe not.

Ian.


[This message has been edited by Lee Jones (edited 04-28-2002).]

[This message has been edited by Ian (edited 04-30-2002).]

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VANDOO
Senior Member
posted 04-28-2002 02:02     Click Here to See the Profile for VANDOO   Click Here to Email VANDOO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
GOOD POINTS AND THOUGHTS ! UNFORTUNATELY I CAN'T SUPPLY PROVENANCE WITH ANY OF MY EXAMPLES. I DON'T THINK THERE ARE ANY EXAMPLES IN THE MUSEUMS HERE IN MY AREA BUT I WILL CHECK. I DIDN'T SEE ANY IN THE HOUSTON NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM WHEN I CLEANED THEIR WEAPONS. ONE PROBLEM WITH MANY MUSEUMS IS THAT THERE IS A LOT OF RED TAPE TO BE ABLE TO GET ACCESS TO STUDY THEIR COLLECTIONS AND THE PROTOCALL CAN VARY. IF YOU HAVE ASSOCIATION WITH A KNOWN MUSEUM OR ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS AND KNOW THE ROPES IT SHOULD BE POSSIBLE BUT IF NOT IT CAN BE VERY FRUSTRATEING AND UNPRODUCTIVE. THE MUSEUM PERSONEL ARE USUALLY VERY HELPFUL BUT THE RULES AND CONDITIONS FOR STUDY ARE OFTEN DIFFICULT TO MEET. I AM SURE THERE ARE SOME GOOD EXAMPLES IN MUSEUMS IN THE PHILIPPINES BUT UNLESS YOU CAN GET A MUSEUM OR COLLEGE TO SEND A LETTER VOUCHING FOR YOU TO MUSEUMS OUT OF THE COUNTRY AND GET PERMISSION BEFORE YOU GO OR KNOW A CURATOR PERSONALLY THEN YOU WILL PROBABLY NOT BE ALLOWED ACCESS TO THE COLLECTIONS AND INFORMATION.IT IS WORTH THE TROUBLE IF YOU SUCEED AS IT IS VERY INTERESTING AND FUN, IT IS A SHAME THAT SO MANY WONDERFUL THINGS REMAIN BURRIED, UNSEEN AND UNAPPRECIATED IN MUSEUMS AROUND THE WORLD, BUT AT LEAST THEY ARE BEING PRESERVED.

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DAHenkel
Senior Member
posted 04-28-2002 08:04     Click Here to See the Profile for DAHenkel   Click Here to Email DAHenkel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ian, neat classification system and very observant. Just a quick thought about the presence of what you term the "saddle" though. In my own example, which is nearly identical to the bottom-right piece in Fig. 7 the grip is double wrapped with a fine layer of hemp weave overlayed by a wrap of rattan. As such the grip area is completely filled by this material leaving very little if any differentiation between the grip area and the rearward portions of the hilt. As such I would like to suggest that the saddle had more to do with supporting and keeping in place the grip material rather than in supporting the hand.

By the by, you have to appreciate these absolutely magnificent weapons. They're massive and quite unlike anything else in the arsenal of the archipelago. You'd have to be immensely strong to wield one of these, even two handed.

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Ian
Senior Member
posted 04-28-2002 12:38     Click Here to See the Profile for Ian   Click Here to Email Ian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dave:

Congratulations on your new position (mentioned in another post on EEWRS). I'm sure it's well deserved. Hopefully your new duties won't keep you from continuing to post excellent examples of kris and other weapons from the Malay peninsula.

You are right. The "saddle" feature could be for a variety of reasons. Its presence and form is quite variable, perhaps suggesting its function is variable or not very important. Based on your suggestion, the move to metal and other covering materials for the grip, for example, may mean that the original purpose of the "saddle" has been lost. I'm speculating of course, but it could be a vestigial remnant from past practices. For my rather large Western hand, however, the "saddle" certainly facilitates my grip of the sword and helps prevent the hilt from sliding forward during a vigorous chopping stroke.

One other thing I forgot to mention above in regard to "uptilted" Moro hilts was the pira. The handle and long extension on the pira is perhaps one of the most extreme examples of an uptilted hilt. The purposes for the long carabao horn extension on this weapon have been postulated as (i) to protect the forearm, and (ii) to balance the blade. [I think it would also add to the slicing action of the blade, in much the same way as upturned hilts of other swords may.]

Perhaps the upturned hilts on some kampilan have a balancing function also.

Ian.

As our friend Mark says, "Living and learning."

[This message has been edited by Ian (edited 04-28-2002).]

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Rick
EEWRS Staff
posted 04-28-2002 14:22     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great stuff Ian !
My heartiest congratulations to you Dave on your new position.
I have a couple of thoughts to throw in the pot.
First, regarding hilt types; we have seen from the pictures that some Kampilan hilts are actually bound to the crossguard as is my type 3 sword pictured in Ian's post (fig. 6 lower right) I would suggest that this feature may also be a clue to tribal origin.
Second, Dave mentioned weight; this got me thinking as I had discussed this with Baderrick several days ago; he suggested that there may be a relationship between weight and age of Kampilan examples.
This morning I took my two Kampilan(s) to my local market and weighed them both on a certified digital scale. To my surprise my type 3 weighed in at 1.56 pounds. the type 4 weighed in at 2.15 pounds. Compared to European Longswords the Kampilan (at least my two examples) seem to be fairly light in weight. Can anyone else provide information as to the weight of their examples?
I too would like to hear the thoughts of our martial arts experts on this sword and its style of use.


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zelbone
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posted 04-28-2002 20:06     Click Here to See the Profile for zelbone   Click Here to Email zelbone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ian, I must commend you on your efforts here! This is probably the most rational theory on kampilan identification I've ever heard. Even Cato didn't tackle this one! Realistically, though, ID'ing origin of Moro kampilan will be extremely difficult without proper provenance. But you've made a good start with acute observation. This thread and the other kampilan thread has really piqued my interest again on the kampilan. Personally, I favor the smaller blades of the kris and the barong, and have far more of those examples than the kampilan (I think Vandoo takes that title!) So the input here that I give would be general. First of all, I've noticed that Maranao examples of any sword (kampilan,panabas,kris,etc...) tend to be more elaborate than Maguindanao examples. This is just an observance of mine when comparing the detail work on the hilts, pommels, fittings, and blades of various swords between the two tribes. Elaborate Maguindanao examples do exist, but they are rarer then Maranao examples. Maranao carvings tend to be very elaborate on kampilans, much like the extension beams of their Torrogan homes. Also the use of fine rattan plaited/braided/woven over the hilt (or as Dave mentions over a wrap of hemp or jute) points towards a Maranao origin. In fact I have a Maranao kris with a hilt described like Dave's kampilan. Not too long ago, a fine kampilan was on auction on eBay with a similarly appointed hilt. It looked like the same craftsman that made the hilt for that kampilan also made the hilt for my kris. Rick mentions weight which brings up my next observation: Maguindanao swords tend to be larger and heavier than their Maranao counterparts. This I've seen comparing krises. Whether this holds true with kampilans, I would have to see more kampilans that are provenanced as Maguindanao. I have handled a few panabas that were provenanced as Maguindanao, that were heavier and larger than their Maranao counterparts. So it wouldn't surprise me that Maguindanao kampilans would be longer,larger, and heavier. Like I said these were just general observation to consider. So far it looks like we're heading in the right direction.

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Ian
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posted 04-30-2002 08:41     Click Here to See the Profile for Ian   Click Here to Email Ian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rick:

Good suggestions about the weight and the wrapping of the grip.

My experience, admittedly with not a lot of kampilan, suggests that the metal pieces attached to the guard are missing (wholly or on one side) quite often, and I think that would certainly affect the overall weight. Not sure how to take missing metal into account when comparing weight among swords.

And the hilt wrapping can change too over time. A couple of mine and several of VANDOO's have plain wooden grips, although originally they may have had a rattan or twine wrapping.

With respect to original rattan bindings, I notice that some hilts have a hole immediately behind the "saddle" feature. I think that such a hole might point to a prior rattan wrapping (your hilt above has such a hole although that area is not shown very clearly).

here is a better view of Rick's hilt, and it shows the rattan binding passing through the hole and around the wood adjacent to it.

This feature is shown quite well also in Figure 4 of my initial post above (third sword down on the right), where the sword has a sparse rattan wrap that clearly passes through a hole behind the saddle.

There is another kampilan on eBay at present (# 863304518) which has a Type III, bare wooden hilt and has a hole behind the saddle that shows some wear. I suspect the grip may have been wrapped in its earlier life.

Ian.

[This message has been edited by Ian (edited 04-30-2002).]

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tom hyle
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posted 04-30-2002 13:25     Click Here to See the Profile for tom hyle   Click Here to Email tom hyle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have noted a resemblance in the "backward" lean of these longswords to the Japanese longsword. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

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Mark Bowditch
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posted 04-30-2002 14:10     Click Here to See the Profile for Mark Bowditch   Click Here to Email Mark Bowditch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very impressive analysis, indeed. I need to take a closer look at my one kampilan to see where it fits in.

About the upward tilt and chopping vs slicing issue, I believe that the upward tilt might acutally enhance the chopping power of the kampilan, because the blade is so long. One normally thinks of the downward tilt as increasing the translation of power from the arm to the sweet spot on the blade (say, with a kukri or a yatagan), as the blade sort of arrives at the target area sooner than your body expects. I liken this to a boxing tip that says: "aim for the back of his head, and let his face get in the way."

There is another way to increase the power, though, and that is to increase the acceleration of the part of the blade making contact. With a blade as long, and forward-weighted, as the kampilan, the upward tilt would give this increased acceleration to the tip of the blade, increasing its chopping power. This is because the tip would lag behind the arm, so to speak, during the swing, thus gathering still more speed.

What about the presence/absense of hair and the staple hilt? Is there any sort of pattern to these?

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Ian
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posted 05-01-2002 08:35     Click Here to See the Profile for Ian   Click Here to Email Ian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark:

Thanks for the helpful comments. I can see how accelerating through the strike area would increase cutting power.

As far as hair and iron staples are concerned, both these features tend to get lost over time but we can certainly see where they used to be. The dowel holes in the lower "jaw" usually indicate the presence of hair at some time, and of course the holes in the guard show where the metal staples once were attached.

The old issue of metal rubbing on wood seems to be a problem for the metal staples. The holes tend to enlarge from rubbing of the metal and on some examples you can see an old set of holes and what appears to be a newer metal guard in place.

The sword of mine above, which seems to 19th Century and has lost the "jaws" of its hilt, has an old set of holes and a newer metal guard that now is quite loose.

The pictures above don't really enable me to see which ones may have had hair and which did not. The guards that had or have metal parts to them don't seem to have a clear pattern that would enable us to separate out the different types of hilts.

Certainly these are two more features to keep in mind as we develop any classification of kampilan.

Thanks again for the helpful suggestions.

Ian.

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VANDOO
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posted 05-01-2002 10:27     Click Here to See the Profile for VANDOO   Click Here to Email VANDOO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ANOTHER THING TO CONSIDER IS THE DIFFERENT TIPS ON KAMPILIANS AND THE POSSIBLE FUNCTIONAL DIFFERENCES. SOME HAVE A THICK, WIDE CHOPPING TIP THAT WOULD INDICATE SLASHING AND CHOPPING STROKES AND NO BACK SLASHING. OTHERS HAVE A EDGE ON BOTH SIDES AT THE TIP WHICH COULD BE USED IN A BACK SLASH OR THRUST. THE STRIKEING SURFACE ON ALL I HAVE HANDLED WOULD INDICATE IT IS TOWARD THE TIP SAY THE LAST 1/4 OF THE BLADE BUT THE ENTIRE EDGE IS SHARP.

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Mark Bowditch
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posted 05-01-2002 11:05     Click Here to See the Profile for Mark Bowditch   Click Here to Email Mark Bowditch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I took a closer look at my kampilan last night, and it is a Type I. There is evidence of staples (or a staple) that is not lost, but there are no holes along the bottom where hair might have been, so mine is a "hairless" kampilan.

One interesting feature on mine is a brass disk that looks like the head of a large tack (about 1/2" diameter) about miday along the underside of the grip. It is not set into the wood, so there must be a stem of some sort holding it on. My guess is that this is a pin holding the handle to the blade, though I suppose it could be a single hair hole that was capped. Typical? Atypical? I only have a sample size of one.

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Rick
EEWRS Staff
posted 05-01-2002 18:02     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the book Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago there are pictured four examples of the sword. Two of the illustrations are firmly provenanced, one is from Timor, the other one is from Kalimantan, and two other examples are attributed to Kalimantan with question marks following.
The provenanced sword from Kalimantan is attributed to the Lanun. Both these swords seem to have the saddle feature and the splayed hilt present, they both share a larger disk than other examples we have seen. The Lanun sword is a little reminiscent of Vandoo's hand or leaf shaped example.

I would scan the unfortunately small pictures but copyright concerns have me hesitant.
I'm including a link to a small article about the Iban.

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/3409/IBAN.HTM
I have yet to see a provenanced Iban Kampilan.

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DAHenkel
Senior Member
posted 05-02-2002 06:05     Click Here to See the Profile for DAHenkel   Click Here to Email DAHenkel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found the examples shown in Van Zonneveld and especially the provenance most interesting. Van Zonneveld says he worked strictly from existing sources and museum records. That said I think we need to be very careful in attributing these examples to "Kalimantan".

Recently I came across an early 19th C. Map of S.E. Asia that shows the sultanate of Brunei as including all of what is now Sabah and Sarawak, a good chunk of the northeastern part of modern Indonesian Kalimantan, the Sulu Archipelago; as well as the southern halves of both Palawan and Mindanao. I am not terribly familiar with the political history of this region but I would suspect that this geographic area was typical of pre-modern Malay states; that is, a collection of micro-states with some level of allegiance to a power center - in this case Brunei. This "mandala" form of polity was more or less the standard in Southeast Asia prior to the introduction of European conceptions of organization.

Now, it’s no great leap to say that weapons are a very mobile form of material culture. Effective, quality weapons are highly valued and the kampilan certainly qualifies. As such we can certainly expect to find kampilan fairly widely distributed and used. What we cannot say for sure is whether these were produced either in the area where they were collected or by someone other than Moro craftsmen. Indeed in the case of the above mentioned pieces - which for all intents and purposes are identical to Moro examples - its just as likely if not more so that these were produced in a center of Moro culture either in Borneo or subsequently exported there. In the case of the latter probably right along with the Moro Malays that to this day continue to migrate into modern-day Sarawak and North Kalimantan.

What weakens this argument somewhat – and this is perhaps even more interesting – is the prevalence of weapons of fairly similar configuration throughout the eastern half of the archipelago. Certain weapons from Kalimantan, Timor, Flores, the Moluccas, the lesser Sundas, and Sulawesi as well as other places all share this same fairly general configuration. It is this perhaps that causes us to sense some sort of genealogical category. Clearly its a configuration that was relatively popular and widespread – and thus probably fairly old. A point that may bear this out is the more widespread prevalence of these weapons – though certainly not exclusively as in the case of the Moro – among the non-Muslim inhabitants of the region. These were people that apparently resisted the incursion of outside influence from Java thus retaining a material culture that is perhaps more “original” to the region.

If this then is the case we can safely say that the Moro kampilan is a part of a larger category of “klewang-like” weapon with a long history spreading back into at least pre-Islamic history. That said however we have to be very careful when attributing the provenance of a weapon to a certain place. In the case of the Zonneveld examples I think its fair to say that these are Moro made weapons that somehow appeared in Borneo. Whether these were exports, captures, or if they came along with or were manufactured by Moros is a matter of speculation. I do prefer the third option in this case especially as they do not seem to have been modified by a different cultural group to suit their own tastes. Certainly, there’s an interesting case study to be done here. Perhaps as part of my future curatorial duties

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Mark Bowditch
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posted 05-02-2002 08:47     Click Here to See the Profile for Mark Bowditch   Click Here to Email Mark Bowditch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scan away, Rick. It would fall into the "fair use" exception in the copyright laws -- you can copy something for purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholorship or research. The rule of thumb is basically its OK if you don't make money off of it.

I think we fall into a few of those categories of exceptions, so no worries.

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Rick
EEWRS Staff
posted 05-02-2002 11:58     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well my scanner and computer are refusing to work together for some reason.
I had to resort to digital photos which aren't very good. I have sent them to Lee for posting. If anyone else here has a working scanner and the book please feel free to scan the pictures and send them along.

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Ian
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posted 05-03-2002 07:43     Click Here to See the Profile for Ian   Click Here to Email Ian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In looking more at the hole behind the "saddle" feature, I am posting a picture of one of mine that shows this hole and an adjacent groove. There appears to be some wear on both, suggesting that this hilt was once wrapped with something.



Actually, as I look at the picture posted above, I believe that I can see the outline of the rattan wrapping on the grip in the shot taken of the back of the hilt -- these lines show up better in the picture than live.

The following is another wrapped hilt posted by Rsword in Rick's earlier thread. It shows the rattan wrap passing through the hole behind the saddle.


Ian.


[This message has been edited by Lee Jones (edited 05-03-2002).]

[This message has been edited by Ian (edited 05-03-2002).]

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Rick
EEWRS Staff
posted 05-03-2002 10:37     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In addition to the wrap that is anchored through the hole above the saddle there are three braided rattan rings under this wrap.
Rsword's kampilan hilt seems to have this under-wrap also. The purpose, as far as I can see, for this overwrapping is to help secure the wood crossguard to the hilt. Having said that, I can see no looseness in the wood crossguard on my example.
I'd also like to mention that in Kris Cutlery's catalog description of their contemporary kampilan the statement is made that these swords were made famous by the Lanun. I think it would be a fair guess that Cecil himself wrote most of the catalog descriptions. Lanun=pirate correct ?

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Conogre
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posted 05-03-2002 15:49     Click Here to See the Profile for Conogre   Click Here to Email Conogre     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let me start by saying that I am tremendously impressed by the amount of work and the systematic logic that you've used to differentiate between kampilan hilt types...nothing but kudos to you Ian!!!
I've also ben extremely impressed by the collected photos, which are the single biggest accumulation of illustrations of what I've long considered a vastly under-rated weapon...kudos to all involved here.
Dave, first off, let me add my congratulations, and secondly I'm in fullagreement in believing that the kampilan had klewang roots, my own personal theory being that they were/are direct descendents of the mandau, which would also go a long ways in explaining at least SOME of the confusion that seems to have been generated by Mr. Stone.
To my eye, there seem to be more shared traits between madau and kampilan than with any of the other klewang group as a whole, such as a)very similar blade shape, 2)the regular occurance of both drilled mandau blades as well as many with projections on the rear of the blade, usually near the tip, 3) bifurcated hilts being the norm, and finally,4)the commonality of hair used in the hilts.
While the preponderance of evidence at this stage indicates the primary users being Philippine Moros, like many, I'm still greatly interested in true Indonesian versions, of which I've not seen a truly documented specimen to date, although I strongly suspect I'm in possession of a re-hilted Dayak blade.

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tom hyle
Senior Member
posted 04-04-2004 23:59     Click Here to See the Profile for tom hyle   Click Here to Email tom hyle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So I was over looking at Federico's Moro Swords, and was reading, and he said the staples on the hilt are for the attachment of a mail glove or protection of some like kind. Has anyone seen this?

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wilked
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posted 04-05-2004 05:43     Click Here to See the Profile for wilked   Click Here to Email wilked     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All concerned, On my last trip to East Timor I passed a pandi hearth in Bacau that I was told had been there for geneartions. Time constraints precluded me from a visit however I will be returning there over the Memorial Day weekend and again in Jul-Aug. While I am still too naive to know the correct questions to ask I would be more than willing to take your concerns/questions/photos, they have internet in Dili, in an interview format(I've already engaged an interpretor that speaks Tetin) to the smith there. I intend to have him build a new kampilan along traditional lines if he is willing.

Dan

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MABAGANI
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posted 04-05-2004 08:00     Click Here to See the Profile for MABAGANI     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are a couple of kampilan in this thread with examples that have four holes in the wood guard, I've noticed these holes could be used in different combinations of metal staple guard and/or rope, or rattan woven through to secure the guard and hilt together. Chainmail can be found attached on straight staples or rope.

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tom hyle
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posted 04-05-2004 12:21     Click Here to See the Profile for tom hyle   Click Here to Email tom hyle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I understand that part of the reason was to bind the hand to the sword, too; perhaps the holes in the pommels also figure in this?

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Rick
EEWRS Staff
posted 04-05-2004 13:39     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Two munsalas , both old , both attached to the hilt by a cord .

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leaf
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posted 04-05-2004 13:57     Click Here to See the Profile for leaf   Click Here to Email leaf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wilked, Timor may be the perfect place to have a Kampilan made. In Zonnevelds (Trad weapons of Indo), one of his examples is acq. 1883 from there, and quite traditional looking sword. You may want to have the interpeter arrange a meeting so they are expecting you. Several years ago I was in Negros while a lot of fighting was going on in Basilan. Several hundred refuges were in Negros to escape the fighting. There was a sword merchant (probably a smith), who had about 100 swords. Some were new, others were old used barongs and pira. The sword's sellers only spoke thier dialect from Basilan, the fellow I was with spoke several dialects but was very poor with theirs. They became quite aggitated and obvious they would not deal with us, most likely of being a white but it also may have been of being non Moro.

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