Small but with a considerable heft, the axe head 'sings' when flicked. The file slides like skates on ice, indicating a really hard edge. Mounted on a 12 inch hard wood handle, secured by a wrought iron ferule. With a little embellishment put on by the former owner.
The axe of the Bontoc people of the Mountain Province, is an everyday carry tool in the olden days (most old pictures i see of bontoc men, they carry an axe and a pinahig bolo). It's most distinctive feature is the squared axe bit (versus the Kalinga axe that has a convex shaped edge) and the protruding spike at the other end.
Stories have been told about the supposed use of the spike, but i believe that it has a utilitarian agricultural purpose also, maybe to punch the ground to make the axe stand on its side, so that the sharp side is facing upwards. Thus freeing the hand to hold on to whatever it is they are cutting. Just a theory, though. I have yet to talk to a Bontoc historian.
The age on this piece, i would approximate to be made in the 80s or 90s, basing from the smoothness and uniformity of the rounded hardwood handle. Looks like it was taken from a piece of furniture and repurposed to be an axe handle. I could be wrong though.
additional insights are welcome.
I agree - Bontoc axe.
The handle might not be repurposed furniture but authentic.
My understanding is like yours - the spike on the back is for placing into the ground so that the edge is up for cutting.
Are you saying the 1880s/90s or 1980s/90s?
PBH and Jose,
I agree with the Bontoc attribution and have also read of the spike being used to hold the axe in the ground with its edge facing upwards so that items could be drawn across the edge to cut them.
Nice solid example of a Bontoc axe that appears to have some age. I would say second half of 20th C.
sorry for the confusion, i meant 1980s/1990s. :)
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