Modern Ilocano blades
Sharing some modern blades from the Ilocos area of Northern Luzon. From top to bottom:
Sinan-olimaw yusoyos 'open field' or 'gentle wind'
Sinan-Gabriela panggaw-at 'for reaching'
Sinan-ulo ti kabalyo bulong unas 'sugarcane leaf'
Sinan-kapitan basiwang bulong pagay 'for tearing riceleaf'
Panggaw-at (1970s, marked cP).
Sinan-ulo ti kabalyo ganado.
Sinan-kapitan bulong unas.
The sinan- prefix refers to the hilt figurals.
Olimaw refers to the mythological creature of the Ilocanos which is similar to the bakunawa.
Gabriela Silang is a Philippine revolutionary hero.
Ulo ti kabalyo is Ilocano for horse-head.
Kapitan refers to another Philippine revolutionary hero, Antonio Luna.
Except for the top blade, all blades were sourced from Santa, Ilocos Sur, the town in the whole of Ilocos which has the biggest smithing industry. Blades from Santa are distributed across Ilocos.
The top blade is from Ilocos Norte, made by a family of smiths. It is difficult to find traditional smiths in Norte as compared to Sur. 'Yusoyos' has been pegged as a Japanese-influenced term. According to oral tradition, this weapon was used by the Ilocanos during the Battle of Bessang in World War II. The blade measures 28 inches, while the hilt and guard measures 8 inches. If anyone has an antique with similar or near-similar blade profile and/or measurements, would appreciate if it can be shared. Thanks!
That is some nice looking work. Would you know what the steel is that is used?
i like the second to last hilt. is it a horse? is there a history of figural or zoomorphic hilts for ilocano blades like the tenegre?
To my knowledge, they use leaf spring (known locally as 'molye'), also known as 5160 carbon steel.
Apolaki: Hi, yes it's a horse-head. Unfortunately I don't have data for the history of the hilts yet. The earliest samples for the figural hilts of Ilocos Sur is dated sometime preww2.
Thank you for posting your excellent examples of recently made Ilokano knives, and for their nomenclature. Very useful information.
As far as 5160 steel and it being referred to as "moly," that term would imply the presence of molybdenum (Mo) in the alloy, but 5160 does not contain molybdenum. Here is a brief description of 5160 steel provided by the Continental Steel and Tube Company, which includes the specification for the components of that steel:
The amount of chromium (Cr) is too low for this to be considered stainless steel.
Yup I'm aware it does not contain Mo =) 'molye' is a term commonly used in PH which refers to a specific automotive part- if you do a quick Google search it'll point you to that part, which is rich in leaf spring steel.
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