Ethnographic Arms & Armour

Ethnographic Arms & Armour (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/index.php)
-   Ethnographic Weapons (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=2)
-   -   "Is it really a Cockatoo?" (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=19476)

Spunjer 31st December 2014 07:55 PM

"Is it really a Cockatoo?"
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian

The absence of clear data is a persistent problem, but I think we need to be careful to avoid making assertions that are not based on solid documentation or reliable sources. Otherwise we add to the existing confusion.

Cheers,

Ian.


spot on, Ian! for this same reason why i take Cato's book with a grain of salt...
let's take the most commonly used term from his book: Kakatua. supposedly, the pommel on krises and barungs are representation of the cockatoo bird, or kakatua, as Cato called it. but is it, really?
there's one specie of cockatoo bird in the Philippines, and it's only found in certain parts of the Philippines. there were probably big population in Mindanao and Sulu a long time ago, but not anymore in this day and age. another thing is, why aren't cockatoos mentioned in any legends or sagas? or represented anywhere else in the Moros' ukkil art? for that matter, the term kakatua is not even a filipino word. i believe the term kakatua was a carryover from the 1920's and 1930's when weapon catalogs would refer to these as cockatoo (like) pommels.

Ian 31st December 2014 10:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spunjer
spot on, Ian! for this same reason why i take Cato's book with a grain of salt...
let's take the most commonly used term from his book: Kakatua. supposedly, the pommel on krises and barungs are representation of the cockatoo bird, or kakatua, as Cato called it. but is it, really?
there's one specie of cockatoo bird in the Philippines, and it's only found in certain parts of the Philippines. there were probably big population in Mindanao and Sulu a long time ago, but not anymore in this day and age. another thing is, why aren't cockatoos mentioned in any legends or sagas? or represented anywhere else in the Moros' ukkil art? for that matter, the term kakatua is not even a filipino word. i believe the term kakatua was a carryover from the 1920's and 1930's when weapon catalogs would refer to these as cockatoo (like) pommels.
I believe the word kakatua is of Malay origin and refers to the bird that we call a cockatoo. It is possible that the word has been passed down from its Malay origins and is applied correctly to barung and kris hilts. Even though cockatoos are no longer widespread in the Philippines, and there may be no history of cockatoos among their legends, the vestigial Malay term may well have persisted as these swords made their transition to the Philippines. Or it is possible that Cato or some other authority simply took a term used in other Malay cultures and applied it inappropriately to the Moro examples.

We can see many examples of both processes in ethnographic arms and armor. There are many examples of foreign words being incorporated into the Philippine dialects (bolo, daga, keris/kris, kelewang/klewang, parang, pisau, sumpit/sumpitan, etc.). There are also plenty of examples where outsiders have used completely alien terms to describe native weapons.

In regard to the latter, we talk about native weapons having fullers, clipped points, pommels, hilts, chisel grinds, bolsters, ferrules, ricassos, features "at forte", etc. None of these are terms used in the original cultures, but we all apply them and we readily understand what we are talking about because the Western European meaning of these terms is our common knowledge.

Once again, we can get caught up in the "name game." Alan Maisey is absolutely correct in warning us against engaging in this exercise, unless we are willing to delve deeply into the culture and history of the weapons and the people who use them. Even then, this may be a futile exercise because the meaning of some things has become lost or obscured by time.

Ian.

Spunjer 1st January 2015 12:13 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
I believe the word kakatua is of Malay origin and refers to the bird that we call a cockatoo. It is possible that the word has been passed down from its Malay origins and is applied correctly to barung and kris hilts. Even though cockatoos are no longer widespread in the Philippines, and there may be no history of cockatoos among their legends, the vestigial Malay term may well have persisted as these swords made their transition to the Philippines. Or it is possible that Cato or some other authority simply took a term used in other Malay cultures and applied it inappropriately to the Moro examples.



Ian.

i'm still not sold on that, Ian. to blindly follow something that is totally irrelevant to the culture just doesn't make any sense. what would make more sense is if those pommels represent the fabled sarimanok, which has relevance to the culture. we see these on a lot of ukkils, or okirs. let me explain...
we always look at the pommel from this point of view

Spunjer 1st January 2015 12:14 AM

1 Attachment(s)
we could see how it resembles a bird's head. we could almost perceive the beak and the plume, but why is it that the middle part, the one we perceive as the eye, the shape stays the same, in that it has a somewhat triangular motif, regardless if it's a regular pommel, or the miniaturized version. the shape stays the same.
the Indonesians view their keris with the blade up. let's do that with the emphasis on the pommel...

Spunjer 1st January 2015 12:15 AM

1 Attachment(s)
...now it takes a whole new image. we can see the vestigial tail and head, and what we perceived as the eye becomes the wing. pretty neat, huh? i took the liberty in encircling the obvious parts

Spunjer 1st January 2015 12:23 AM

2 Attachment(s)
in the later part of the nineteenth century, when these pommels became even more spectacular, one could clearly see the sarimanok image; the head is more pronounced, and one could see the ruffled feathers on the tail.

Spunjer 1st January 2015 12:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian

Once again, we can get caught up in the "name game." Alan Maisey is absolutely correct in warning us against engaging in this exercise, unless we are willing to delve deeply into the culture and history of the weapons and the people who use them. Even then, this may be a futile exercise because the meaning of some things has become lost or obscured by time.

Ian.

that is true. but if the intention is way off, then it needs to be researched and corrected. as Moro weapons is concerned, a lot of collectors are pretty hang up on Cato's book. i understand that since his book is looked up as the final authority in this subject (moro weapons), a lot has been refuted since it came out, and ironically, it is with the advent of internet via e-books, emails and conversations with the people from the same region where these swords came from, museum who are more accommodating with their collections, etc... is it peer-reviewed? no. but then again, who are these so-called peers?

Spunjer 2nd January 2015 03:19 PM

i would think this would be an interesting topic to discuss, but i guess it's too early in the year??? :D :D
just to reinterate, you said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
...Or it is possible that Cato or some other authority simply took a term used in other Malay cultures and applied it inappropriately to the Moro examples.
...
In regard to the latter, we talk about native weapons having fullers, clipped points, pommels, hilts, chisel grinds, bolsters, ferrules, ricassos, features "at forte", etc. None of these are terms used in the original cultures, but we all apply them and we readily understand what we are talking about because the Western European meaning of these terms is our common knowledge.


Ian.


in his book, cato wrote this (Moro Swords, p. 25):

All barung pommels, and many kris pommels, are modeled after the head of the cockatoo (known to the Malays as the "kakatua" or "kinadangag"). This magnificent crested parrot is native to the Southern Philippines and Indonesia. Its elaborately-feathered crest, curving beaks and stately regal bearing have captured the imagination of Moro artists for many centuries. The cockatoo motif became widely accepted throughout the South in a relatively short period of time.

Some Indonesian swords were fitted with pommels that are somewhat akin to the Moro kakatua. It is possible that early hilt makers in the Southern Philippines came into contact with the motif in the course of their trading and combative encounters with the Indonesians. Upon their return to the Morolands, artisans probably redesigned the motif, imbuing it with their own unique style and flavor.

To the Muslim Filipinos, the kakatua motif symbolizes lightness, and the ability to fly up into the heavens, leaving danger and death far behind.


as i've mentioned before, the cockatoo as a pommel motif has been used since the days of Bannerman et al. cato probably just went by this and elaborated with his own imagination.
granted, what i theorized is my imagination as well, reason i thought it would make an interesting topic for discussion...

Rick 2nd January 2015 07:35 PM

Speaking for myself only .
I expect that this form of pommel is uniquely Philippine in origin .
I cannot recall encountering this form in Indonesian hilts I have seen; have others here ? :shrug:

Ian 2nd January 2015 08:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Speaking for myself only .
I expect that this form of pommel is uniquely Philippine in origin .
I cannot recall encountering this form in Indonesian hilts I have seen; have others here ? :shrug:
Rick:

I think this is a most difficult question to answer because the origins of the so-called kakatua hilt are probably lost in time and we may never know for sure. Certainly, the same form of hilt exists beyond the Philippines in other Malay cultures--it is often seen in N. Borneo, Sarawak, the Sultanate of Brunei, and even on some pieces from what is now mainland Malaysia. I don't believe we can say with any degree of confidence where this form of hilt originated.

It is conceivable that in the northward migration and transformation of the Indonesian keris to the Moro kris that it underwent changes along the way. It would not surprise me if, for example, the kakatua style hilt actually arose in the Sultanate of Brunei which held sway over the Muslims of the Philippines for a century or two, before and after the arrival of the Spanish.

Ian.

Ian 2nd January 2015 09:19 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Ron:

Thanks for opening a new thread on this subject. I was thinking of doing the same, but I'm pleased you beat me to it.

The sarimanok story and the evidence you present is definitely thought provoking, and I can see where you are coming from in trying to identify a more Moro origin for this feature.

There seem to be a number of problems with this theory, however.

First, the bird you describe by inverting the hilt is anatomically incorrect with respect to the wing structure. And it is not just on this example, it is on every example I could find in my files and online. The rounded part of a bird's wing (represented by the small circle or spiral) is actually the "wrist" of the forelimb. When a bird's wing is folded up, it is extended backwards from the "shoulder," flexed at the "elbow," and flexed again at the "wrist," with the "fingers" pointing towards the rear of the bird. This can be seen in the X-ray picture attached below where the wing has been partly unfolded. I don't think Moro artists would have perpetuated such an inaccuracy for centuries without someone noticing the mistake and correcting it. I have attached an artist's depiction of the sarimanok and you can see the correct position of the spiral/circle.

Second, the sarimanok story is a legend mainly related to the Maranao people of Mindanao. It seems a stretch to think that this relatively minor group of sultanates in the 17th and 18th centuries would have such a profound effect on the style of weapons throughout Muslims in the Philippines, N. Borneo, Brunei and mainland Malaysia. The usual pattern of influence is from top down, not bottom up.

While it's a great idea and interesting story, I don't think it is the source of the hilt style that Cato called kakatua.

Ian.

Ian 2nd January 2015 11:25 PM

What about the word "barong" or "barung" itself?
 
2 Attachment(s)
While on the subject of kakatua hilts, it occurred to me to think about the word barong (or barung as it is pronounced in the Tausug dialect) and what it might derive from. I have found no discussion of this subject written in English.

Apart from the familiar leaf-shaped chopper favored by the peoples of the Sulu Archipelago, there is also the barong Tagalog (a man's shirt), and barong-barong, a Tagalog word meaning a temporary shelter or hut. The latter is interesting because it may be a transliteration of the Indonesian word burung-burung, which also means a shelter or hut.

So, we have an interesting similarity between the word barong (pronounced barung by the Tausug) and burung in Indonesian. One could posit a slight transformation of the word burung --> barung --> barong. And what does burung mean in Indonesian? It means "bird."

Is it possible that the whole sword is named "bird" because it resembles a bird, with the blade being the main part of the body, the handle being the neck, and the pommel the crest and beak?

In Indonesian the term for cockatoo is barung kakatua. Are we looking at a sword that depicts the cockatoo? Perhaps the pictures below help. Or maybe I'm just full of too much Christmas and New Year good cheer. ;)

Ian.

Timo Nieminen 3rd January 2015 12:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
While on the subject of kakatua hilts, it occurred to me to think about the word barong (or barung as it is pronounced in the Tausug dialect) and what it might derive from. I have found no discussion of this subject written in English.


I naively assumed it probably derives from "parang". I haven't seen an etymology, though.

There has been some, but rather brief, discussion of this: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1817

(And while on the topic, "keris" -> "kalis"?)

A. G. Maisey 3rd January 2015 12:42 AM

Ian, just a little clarification on language.

In Indonesian "burung-burung" means "birds". Doubling the noun gives a multiple, thus "burung" is "bird".

The word for "hut" in Indonesian is "gubuk". (can also be "pondok").

The word "barung-barung" (not burung-burung) refers specifically to the hut that is raised on stilts in the middle of a rice field to watch the crop; it can also be used to refer to a really, really degraded shelter, what we might call a hovel in English. I think it can also mean a stand, like a roadside stand, but I'm not sure of this, the more usual word for a stand or a stall or a booth would be "warung".

The word "barong" does occur in both Indonesian and Javanese where it has a number of meanings depending upon context.

The word for "cockatoo" in Indonesian is simply "kakatua", but the generic "burung" can be used with the specific noun "kakatua" in speech or in writing.

There is a children's traditional song:-

Burung kakatua hinggap di jendela
Burung kakatua hinggap di jendela
repeat
repeat

Nenek sudah tua, tinggal gigi dua
repeat

Burung kakatua -- etc, etc, etc

it goes on forever, with improvised verses.

Spunjer 3rd January 2015 03:28 AM

2 Attachment(s)
thanks for everyone's participation so far...
Alan beat me to it. also, isn't it pronounced as "boo-roong" in Indonesian? OTOH, the weapon that we are all so familiar with is pronounced as "brr-oong" in Tausug.
anyway, back to the sarimanok

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Ron:

First, the bird you describe by inverting the hilt is anatomically incorrect with respect to the wing structure. And it is not just on this example, it is on every example I could find in my files and online. The rounded part of a bird's wing (represented by the small circle or spiral) is actually the "wrist" of the forelimb. When a bird's wing is folded up, it is extended backwards from the "shoulder," flexed at the "elbow," and flexed again at the "wrist," with the "fingers" pointing towards the rear of the bird. This can be seen in the X-ray picture attached below where the wing has been partly unfolded. I don't think Moro artists would have perpetuated such an inaccuracy for centuries without someone noticing the mistake and correcting it. I have attached an artist's depiction of the sarimanok and you can see the correct position of the spiral/circle.


if we go by that, you're right, in that it's not anatomically correct. couple things i need to point out.
first: the pommel, as with anything else, is in okir/ukkil fashion, hence it wasn't meant to look like the actual thing, in reverence to the tenets of Islam.
second: the sarimanok you've pointed out as an example is a modern rendition. when i went to the National Museum in Manila last year, i noticed something curious. the sarimanok carvings (non-contemporary) that were in display are in one particular pose: in that the wings are spread out, like they're gliding. furthermore, looking at old pictures of sarimanok carvings, it was represented in this particular pose. this further strengthened my theory. you mentioned that the carvings wasn't anatomically correct. you're right; that's if the bird is at rest. but i believe that not unlike the carvings, the sarimanok represented on the pommel is in the same position, as in wing spread apart, like it's soaring. looking at the pictures i've attached, please note that on the triangular part of the pommel, more often than not, it's thinner towards the front than it is in the back. that would make more sense on how it's represented in ukkil.

Spunjer 3rd January 2015 03:30 AM

2 Attachment(s)
here's something else. attached are images of a couple junggayan pommels. notice the open beak that is common on these types.
now the question would be, why would the craftsman go from (blade down) designed pommel, then turn it right side up to make it more spectacular.

Spunjer 3rd January 2015 03:31 AM

on your second point, you said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Ron:

Second, the sarimanok story is a legend mainly related to the Maranao people of Mindanao. It seems a stretch to think that this relatively minor group of sultanates in the 17th and 18th centuries would have such a profound effect on the style of weapons throughout Muslims in the Philippines, N. Borneo, Brunei and mainland Malaysia. The usual pattern of influence is from top down, not bottom up.

While it's a great idea and interesting story, I don't think it is the source of the hilt style that Cato called kakatua.

Ian.


yes, it is of Maranao origin, but why would that be a stretch? it would be safe to assume that the moro kris as we know it didn't evolve to its present size (or close to it) after tangling with the spaniards in the 17th century. Maranaos are next door neighbors to the Maguindanaos, Sultan Kudarat's realm. meanwhile, Ilanuns where in the service of the Tausugs. not to mention, we're not talking a style of weapon, rather just a part of a particular weapon.
looking at how different Indonesian cultures have somewhat a particular type of pommel on their keris, in a way giving them a cultural identity, why not the Moros?

Spunjer 3rd January 2015 03:50 AM

1 Attachment(s)
here's a plus. picked this kris up a couple of years ago. this particular piece explains an old belief that predate Islam. as you may well know, we don't adhere strictly to the mother religion, catholics and muslims, hence ours is referred to as, Folk Catholicism, and to our brothers and sisters in the south Folk Islam. that was covered in the thread by migueldiaz:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=design
i will explain the ukkil and what it represents, so i split it into three parts: A, B, and C
A represents the sarinaga, or naga
B represents the earth realm
C represents the sarimanok

another thing; i've never seen a representation of kakatua in ukkil, or okir, for that matter...

Ian 3rd January 2015 03:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Ian, just a little clarification on language.

In Indonesian "burung-burung" means "birds". Doubling the noun gives a multiple, thus "burung" is "bird".

The word for "hut" in Indonesian is "gubuk". (can also be "pondok").

The word "barung-barung" (not burung-burung) refers specifically to the hut that is raised on stilts in the middle of a rice field to watch the crop; it can also be used to refer to a really, really degraded shelter, what we might call a hovel in English. I think it can also mean a stand, like a roadside stand, but I'm not sure of this, the more usual word for a stand or a stall or a booth would be "warung".

The word "barong" does occur in both Indonesian and Javanese where it has a number of meanings depending upon context.

The word for "cockatoo" in Indonesian is simply "kakatua", but the generic "burung" can be used with the specific noun "kakatua" in speech or in writing.

There is a children's traditional song:-

Burung kakatua hinggap di jendela
Burung kakatua hinggap di jendela
repeat
repeat

Nenek sudah tua, tinggal gigi dua
repeat

Burung kakatua -- etc, etc, etc

it goes on forever, with improvised verses.
Alan, thank you so much for the clarification. I have little familiarity with Indonesian--perhaps enough for the marketplace. My Filipino is a little better. Relying on dictionaries and online sources is a poor substitute for fluency. :(

A. G. Maisey 3rd January 2015 04:35 AM

The way Indonesian is used varies a bit from place to place, but if we need to use a dictionary to access standard meanings, there is really only one that's any good:- Echols & Shadily, English-Indonesian, Indonesian-English, in the old editions both were in a single volume, in the newer editions there are two separate volumes.

But for keris related things, Javanese is in most cases more relevant.

Ian 3rd January 2015 05:11 AM

Quote:
...you mentioned that the carvings wasn't anatomically correct. you're right; that's if the bird is at rest. but i believe that not unlike the carvings, the sarimanok represented on the pommel is in the same position, as in wing spread apart, like it's soaring. looking at the pictures i've attached, please note that on the triangular part of the pommel, more often than not, it's thinner towards the front than it is in the back. that would make more sense on how it's represented in ukkil.
The carvings are not anatomically correct if the bird is in flight or at rest. I cannot see an anatomical equivalent to the well defined circle or spiral in the position shown, whether the bird is at rest or with the wings extended.

Furthermore, if you look at the soft tissues of the bird in the X-ray I showed, you will see that the shoulders and chest are the broadest part of the body and it tapers towards the tail. The folded wings are thinnest towards the tail end. I'm not sure what to make of your observation, which seems to suggest the opposite.

Quote:
yes, it is of Maranao origin, but why would that be a stretch? it would be safe to assume that the moro kris as we know it didn't evolve to its present size (or close to it) after tangling with the spaniards in the 17th century. Maranaos are next door neighbors to the Maguindanaos, Sultan Kudarat's realm. meanwhile, Ilanuns where in the service of the Tausugs. not to mention, we're not talking a style of weapon, rather just a part of a particular weapon.
looking at how different Indonesian cultures have somewhat a particular type of pommel on their keris, in a way giving them a cultural identity, why not the Moros?
The appearance of the so-called kakatua style has not been dated reliably to my knowledge, but I believe that it almost certainly predated the 19th century C.E. At this time the Maranao, Maguindanao and Ilanum were mostly poorly organized, in conflict among themselves, and subordinate to the more powerful Brunei and Sulu sultanates. Moreover, the weapon most associated with the so-called kakatua style hilt, the barong/barung, was not part of their culture. The wider use of this hilt style beyond the Moro homelands suggests to me that the source was likely to be more powerful and central to the Islamic peoples of SE Asia than a series of small and inferior sultanates on the periphery of the Asian Islamic world.

Ian.

David 3rd January 2015 02:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
The carvings are not anatomically correct if the bird is in flight or at rest. I cannot see an anatomical equivalent to the well defined circle or spiral in the position shown, whether the bird is at rest or with the wings extended.

Furthermore, if you look at the soft tissues of the bird in the X-ray I showed, you will see that the shoulders and chest are the broadest part of the body and it tapers towards the tail. The folded wings are thinnest towards the tail end. I'm not sure what to make of your observation, which seems to suggest the opposite.

Ian, i am not fully committed to any conclusion here, but you do seem to be continuing along this line without acknowledging Ron's point on this, that there is absolutely no reason why this depiction should be "anatomically correct" in the first place and that in fact it would be somewhat counter to Islamic law if it were. As a form of okir/ukkil any actual real-life forms would be highly stylized, wouldn't they? I don't think we can expect realism is such design and i can't see how we can use such false expectation as a debate point. What i believe Ron was attempting to point out about the thickness of the "wing" section being wider towards the tail is that it is a stylized form that implies the wings are outstretched in flight, not resting at the bird's sides, so in that scenario the wings must appear further out from the body of the bird nearer the tail.

Ian 3rd January 2015 05:07 PM

1 Attachment(s)
David:

Thank you. Ron, is indeed absolutely correct in his comment about ukil and okir work and the necessary abstractness of Islamic art in representing living objects. And Ron, I am sorry to have not acknowledged that earlier.

My comments about accuracy in depiction come from 50+ years as an avid birdwatcher, and there were several things about Ron's description of this bird that were not necessarily abstractions but just seemed wrong. It was as though the body and wings were represented backwards. Then it occurred to me that perhaps he has the head and tail at the wrong ends. So I took Ron's pics and reworked then as below. Flipping the hilt upright, and changing the head and tail orientation yields a "stylized bird" that I could recognize as a fancy chicken (manok), with the body proportions approximately correct.

I have a great respect for the quality of carving found on many Maranao pieces, especially the high end work such as appears on Ron's junggayang hilt. Therefore, I was surprised by the apparent inaccuracies, even allowing for the abstraction that was necessarily introduced.

Ron's original interpretation may well be correct. The answer probably lies with those who create these works, although the original intent may be lost in time.

Ian.

VANDOO 3rd January 2015 05:44 PM

8 Attachment(s)
IN EARLY TIMES PRE- ISLAM THERE WERE MANY ANIMIST BELIEFS AMONG MANY TRIBES WIDE SPREAD THRU-OUT THE REGION. MANY OF THE DESIGNS MAY HAVE STILL HELD POWER IN THE BELIEFS OF THE PEOPLE EVEN AFTER THEY HAD TO CHANGE THEIR OLD WAYS AND BELIEFS DUE TO THE NEW BELIEFS AND LAWS BROUGHT BY NEW RULERS AND RELIGIONS. OFTEN THESE OLD BELIEFS FIND A WAY TO LINGER ON AND ADAPT. HEADHUNTING ENDED BUT OFTEN CEREMONIES AND STORIES STILL PERSISTED AND OTHER HEADS SUBSTITUTED FOR THE REAL THING MONKEYS, WOODEN LIKENESS, ECT.
I KNOW OF NO STORIES OF THE COCKATOO BEING SACRED, GOOD LUCK OR POWERFUL IN ANY OF THE OLD TRIBAL BELIEFS IN MALAYSIA, BORNEO OR THE PHILIPPINES. THE HORNBILL BIRDS HAD POWER IN ALL OF THESE PLACES AND FIGURED IN LEGENDS, FOLKLORE, CEREMONIES, HEADHUNTING AND COSTUMES EVEN UP TO THE PRESENT. SO I WOULD THINK THE HORNBILL WOULD BE A MORE LIKELY CANDIDATE IF THE DESIGN REPRESENTS A BIRD AT ALL. THE FEATHERS AND SKULLS OF VARIOUS HORNBILL ARE IMPORTANT PARTS OF DAYAK WAR CLOAKS AND HATS AND CARVED EARRINGS. THE FEATHERS AND SKULLS ARE USED IN MALAYSIA AS WELL AS THE PHILIPPINES TOO. HERE ARE 4 PICTURES OF DAYAK CARVINGS REPRESENTING THE HORNBILL. AND 4 PICTURES FROM THE PHILIPPINES ILONGOT WEARING A PANGLAO HEADRESS. 2 PICTURES OF HEADRESS AND A PIRA SWORD I ALWAYS THOUGHT LOOKED LIKE A HORNBILL IN FLIGHT.

A. G. Maisey 3rd January 2015 09:23 PM

This comment is not intended to contribute to any understanding of what the pommel form under discussion may represent, I am making only a general comment that may assist a little in understanding the position of birds in S.E. Asian cultures.

In all of maritime S.E. Asia birds play a very important role in societal structure, belief systems, burial rites, and virtually all other aspects of culture and society. Probably a similar situation exists in mainland S.E.Asia, but I have not looked at these cultures and societies in any depth.

The bird in general, and sometimes in particular, such as is the case with the cockatoo and the hornbill, are seen as occupying a position between the material world and the spirit world.

However, birds in general are seen as only one half of a cultural pair, the other half is the serpent.

Understood as a pair the bird and the serpent can then be seen as symbolic of all the hierarchies upon which S.E. Asian cultures and societies are based. The dualism represented by the serpent and the bird penetrates all aspects of S.E. Asian belief systems and life. A moment's thought and a minimal knowledge of the S.E. Asian cultures ad societies will provide more than sufficient examples of this.

Consider:- seen world : unseen world; the underground : the heavens; senior status (in all its forms) : junior status ( in all its forms); masculinity : femininity; dry season : wet season; dark : light; ruler : servant.

All these things are mutually dependent, one upon the other:- dark cannot exist without light, man cannot exist without woman, thus the existence of each maintains cosmic balance.

The serpent and the bird are the foundation symbols of this dualism upon which the systems that hold S.E. Asian cultures and societies together are based. These symbols penetrate all thought, perhaps not as conscious thought, but most certainly as a constant part of the sub-conscious.

When we discuss keris, or weapons, or any other part of the physical culture of any S.E. Asian society, we cannot really come to terms with the things that may interest us unless we first come to terms with the basic fabric of the culture and of the society that has produced that thing.

Something to think about:-

have you ever wondered why the dominant hilt forms associated with the keris are either ancestor related or bird related?

the true keris is a cosmic symbol, thus just as the blade represents one part of a duality, the hilt represents the other part of the duality.

Spunjer 4th January 2015 02:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
This comment is not intended to contribute to any understanding of what the pommel form under discussion may represent, I am making only a general comment that may assist a little in understanding the position of birds in S.E. Asian cultures.

In all of maritime S.E. Asia birds play a very important role in societal structure, belief systems, burial rites, and virtually all other aspects of culture and society. Probably a similar situation exists in mainland S.E.Asia, but I have not looked at these cultures and societies in any depth.

The bird in general, and sometimes in particular, such as is the case with the cockatoo and the hornbill, are seen as occupying a position between the material world and the spirit world.

However, birds in general are seen as only one half of a cultural pair, the other half is the serpent.

Understood as a pair the bird and the serpent can then be seen as symbolic of all the hierarchies upon which S.E. Asian cultures and societies are based. The dualism represented by the serpent and the bird penetrates all aspects of S.E. Asian belief systems and life. A moment's thought and a minimal knowledge of the S.E. Asian cultures ad societies will provide more than sufficient examples of this.

Consider:- seen world : unseen world; the underground : the heavens; senior status (in all its forms) : junior status ( in all its forms); masculinity : femininity; dry season : wet season; dark : light; ruler : servant.

All these things are mutually dependent, one upon the other:- dark cannot exist without light, man cannot exist without woman, thus the existence of each maintains cosmic balance.

The serpent and the bird are the foundation symbols of this dualism upon which the systems that hold S.E. Asian cultures and societies together are based. These symbols penetrate all thought, perhaps not as conscious thought, but most certainly as a constant part of the sub-conscious.

When we discuss keris, or weapons, or any other part of the physical culture of any S.E. Asian society, we cannot really come to terms with the things that may interest us unless we first come to terms with the basic fabric of the culture and of the society that has produced that thing.

Something to think about:-

have you ever wondered why the dominant hilt forms associated with the keris are either ancestor related or bird related?

the true keris is a cosmic symbol, thus just as the blade represents one part of a duality, the hilt represents the other part of the duality.


^^^this
thanks for a very clear explanation, Alan. which would make even more sense on why the sarimanok (pommel) would be paired up with the sarinaga (blade).
the ukkil is very abstract, to the point where there's no logical similarity with what it is being represented. Ian, on your last post, i've never thought of it like that. thanks! if you think about it though, going by Alan's explanation on the belief on duality, the pommel could be something like an ambigram...
vandoo, regarding hornbills (called Kalaw), i do believe that they are sacred among the Mountain Province tribes, but not among the Moro tribes. i'm not sure about specific Lumad tribes.

Battara 4th January 2015 07:02 PM

As far as my research shows, the Lumad tribes do not give very special prominence to birds.

Ian 8th January 2015 01:12 AM

2 Attachment(s)
This moro kris just finished online and it presents another hilt version that might represent a cockatoo in a different manner. The silhouette of the hilt certainly looks like the outline of a cockatoo head and crest.

Ian

Spunjer 9th January 2015 12:41 AM

2 Attachment(s)
possibility, although the curves upfront resembling a silhouette of a cockatoo could be coincidental as well... i had a similar kris a couple years ago that has the same type of pommel. notice how the curve on mine is totally different. looks like the design is random. any other example of this style of pommel for comparison? :shrug:


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:02 PM.

Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.