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-   -   Old knife with military markings -- ideas? (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=577)

Ian 10th April 2005 06:33 AM

Old knife with military markings -- ideas?
 
I posted this one over on the SFI military swords site, only to be told that what I thought was an inscription in English was most likely Spanish.

http://forums.swordforum.com/showth...&threadid=49980

Moreover, the knife is not a standard military pattern and it was suggested that I consider Latin America or another Spanish colonial area of influence, including the Philippines. So what do you guys think?

Description

This is an old knife that I purchased recently from a dealer in the US. He found it in an estate.

The blade is heavy and has been used in the remote past, with evidence of sharpening and loss of metal in places along the edge. The blade is sharpened on one side only, with the back being flat and the edge on the face being rounded rather than beveled (not exactly a chisel grind). Definitely a hand forged blade and not an armory production -- no stamps or maker's marks.

The handle is wood with an iron ferrule either end. The hilt is full tang, and the tang is peened over a small butt plate. The handle has an ovoid cross section, with quite a prominent ridge running along the underside.

OAL 19.5 in. Blade 14.25 in.

A faint, hand-engraved inscription on the blade is difficult to make out (see picture) but I believe it indicates:
Regiment 73.1

2nd Battalion
Company 47

The style of hand writing strikes me as 19th C. or earlier.

Pictures

Juan Perez over on SFI made this comment: "
In case it helps, I'd say that the inscription is written in Spanish. Therefore you can find Regto (=Regimiento), Bón (=Batallón), 2ª (=segunda) and Compª (=Compañía), which has of course the same meaning you have pointed out before."

The Spanish version has been added at the bottom of the pictures, along with my original English interpretation.

Any ideas when and where this knife may have originated?

Ian.





Jeff D 10th April 2005 06:38 AM

Hi Ian,

I saw this on the SFI site. It screams Phillipines to me. Since I know you know way more about these weapons, what is it that makes you think it is from elsewhere?

Jeff

Ian 10th April 2005 06:49 AM

Hi Jeff:

I am trying not to jump to any conclusions about this one, and keep an open mind. The full tang hilt does not seem "right" for a Luzon knife, with a ferrule at either end and an ovoid cross section to the wooden handle, and the blade is flat on one side with an edge grind on the other (but not like a Visayan chisel grind). It could be from the Philippines -- perhaps Span-Am War period or earlier -- but I'm being cautious.

Ian.

Jeff D 10th April 2005 06:59 AM

Thanks Ian, I knew there had to be something specific. HeHe... when i saw the SFI post I almost automatically posted a referal here with the idea that you or the other PI collectors would nail it down, then I noticed who posted. Whew, yet another brush with looking stupid :D .

Jeff

tom hyle 10th April 2005 09:45 AM

Definitely another "cut point" matulis/balisiong; one with a different handle style. I can't recall; it seems this handle is associated with a certain smaller Visayan or semiVisayan island and parts of Luzon near/related to it? This handle style, with the two ferules, often spiralled, often spiral-wrapped with a wire, often with the odd-looking lopsidedness seen here, is quite distinctly a tradition of its own, more Euro- than the various hoof modified shapes, IMHO, and usually thought of as circa 1900, with a leaning toward the earlier, rather than later part of circa 1900............almost more up to 1900 than circa 1900, I guess, though not too far back into the 19th, either, AFAIK.

Ian 10th April 2005 04:34 PM

Thanks Tom.

In a previous post about a similar cut point knife, I think you indicated that the cut point was used to indicate a non-military or "non-aggressive" use. Here we seem to have a military knife with this "non-aggressive" feature. That seems odd.

I am also going to suggest that this style is not a traditional Philippine trait in weapons making, but more likely a Spanish influence and thus could be found elsewhere in other regions under Spanish control. To give it a local Filipino name such as a cut point matulis/balasiong does not mean that it would necessarily be unique to the Philippines -- perhaps we just recognize it better there because we have more familiarity with the Filipino weapons than, say, those of Mexico, Cuba, Central or South America. I think that is what Juan Perez was implying in his reply on the other forum.

As a person with a good eye for how edged weapons are made, what do you think of the forging of this blade with a flat back (reverse side) and a curved front (obverse side) ground to the edge. It's not like a Visayan blade at all, which has a typical chisel grind.

Also, the handle is ovoid (egg-shaped) in cross-section, with the "thin" section running along the underside of the handle were there is quite a "ridge" for the fingers to wrap around. This is unlike the usual Flipino hilt configurations that are based on a round cross section, sometimes carved to hexagonal or octagonal shapes but still essentially of cylindrical design.

tom hyle 10th April 2005 05:45 PM

I'll try to address each thing; the quote below is to help me.

Some matulis/balisiong (please do not mistake my lack of knowledge of the names for a lack of familiarity with the swords) are "chisel ground' and I think they're the older ones, but maybe the more Southern ones. The blade style seems to fade into talisbesques and then talibons. This chisel grind though is of the type on old talibons; an overll wedge-section, maybe humped on one side flat on the other (didn't know if you'd get "humpy-flatty" :p ) and are only chisel sharpened/bevelled at the very edge. Anylyzing the orientation of the edge and the overall wedge shape within the hilt is a real fun and interesting thing to do with old swords; you might be surprised.

The cut point is Spainish/European, and is seen in former Spainish colonies, but on their local forms of blade; cut point machete, etc. The cut point is European, not the matulis, is what I was saying. Now watch me contradict myself, because the matulis, while a basically, especially the c-grind ones, native blade, similar to though straighter than a talibon blade, is in its tang and some might say (though I disagree) its crossguards (note yours lacks this, another missing weapon feature) openly Euro-influenced. The handle seen here seems Euroish, but also resembles Japanese styles; it is however, only seen as such out of PI, AFAIK.

Nothing odd about military work knives......maybe more;; gotta go....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Thanks Tom.

In a previous post about a similar cut point knife, I think you indicated that the cut point was used to indicate a non-military or "non-aggressive" use. Here we seem to have a military knife with this "non-aggressive" feature. That seems odd.

I am also going to suggest that this style is not a traditional Philippine trait in weapons making, but more likely a Spanish influence and thus could be found elsewhere in other regions under Spanish control. To give it a local Filipino name such as a cut point matulis/balasiong does not mean that it would necessarily be unique to the Philippines -- perhaps we just recognize it better there because we have more familiarity with the Filipino weapons than, say, those of Mexico, Cuba, Central or South America. I think that is what Juan Perez was implying in his reply on the other forum.

As a person with a good eye for how edged weapons are made, what do you think of the forging of this blade with a flat back (reverse side) and a curved front (obverse side) ground to the edge. It's not like a Visayan blade at all, which has a typical chisel grind.

Also, the handle is ovoid (egg-shaped) in cross-section, with the "thin" section running along the underside of the handle were there is quite a "ridge" for the fingers to wrap around. This is unlike the usual Flipino hilt configurations that are based on a round cross section, sometimes carved to hexagonal or octagonal shapes but still essentially of cylindrical design.

Ian 10th April 2005 06:36 PM

Thanks again Tom.

This is an interesting discussion. I need to press you on some of the statements below, because they imply certain progressions of weapons development that may or may not be true. There is a considerable lack of data about the knives of Luzon prior to the arrival of the Spanish.

I am going to propose that all weapons of the Philippines prior to the arrival of the Spanish were of blind tang construction, similar to styles seen in the southern and central Philippines up to today, and those still surviving in many tribal groups in Luzon particularly in the north.

The full tang constructions were introduced by the Spanish and only adopted to any significant degree in areas of Luzon heavily settled by the Spanish. Along with the full tang construction came several blade styles not commonly found among the natives of Luzon, notably pointy, stabbing knives and swords. These were modified and adapted, along with the introduction of metal guards, within the local context. Strong similarities between certain Luzon knives and knives from Mexico would suggest a common Spanish origin, and there was certainly trade between the various Spanish colonies so that an innovation or style in one colony could find its way to remote Spanish colonies elsewhere.

Given a single dominant force (Spain) plus communication and trade throughout the Empire, I do think we need to be cautious about where we attribute Spanish colonial knives. I am echoing the advice of Juan Perez.

With respect to transitional styles between the full tang, V-ground Tagalog knives and the blind tang, chisel-ground Visayan knives, I have not found an example in the 10+ years that I have been visiting the Philippines. This has been a point of curiousity for me. I have asked many people about such combinations of styles or transitional blades -- nobody I have spoken to has seen them. You mention having seen examples and a place where they are made -- I would really appreciate details and any pictures you may have.

I have not seen a full tang sword or knife with a chisel grind that was of native manufacture and intended for local use. Years ago I had a knife from the 1960s that was a custom "bowie" made in Angeles City for a US serviceman, but that's the extent of my experience.

I don't know what you mean by the blade style seems to fade into talibesques and then talibons. I have always been impressed by the abrupt difference between the knives of Luzon and those of the Visayas. Your statement implies a geographic transition or synthesis in knife styles that I don't think has occurred. Just as the different dialects between Luzon (Tagalog) and the Visayas (Cebuano, Warai, etc.) have been preserved, so too the distinct styles of knives and swords seems to have survived.

I'm also not sure what you mean by the C-grind knives referred to below.

More information would be much appreciated when you have time.

Thanks Tom.

Ian. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom hyle
I'll try to address each thing; the quote below is to help me.

Some matulis/balisiong (please do not mistake my lack of knowledge of the names for a lack of familiarity with the swords) are "chisel ground' and I think they're the older ones, but maybe the more Southern ones. The blade style seems to fade into talisbesques and then talibons. This chisel grind though is of the type on old talibons; an overll wedge-section, maybe humped on one side flat on the other (didn't know if you'd get "humpy-flatty" :p ) and are only chisel sharpened/bevelled at the very edge. Anylyzing the orientation of the edge and the overall wedge shape within the hilt is a real fun and interesting thing to do with old swords; you might be surprised.

The cut point is Spainish/European, and is seen in former Spainish colonies, but on their local forms of blade; cut point machete, etc. The cut point is European, not the matulis, is what I was saying. Now watch me contradict myself, because the matulis, while a basically, especially the c-grind ones, native blade, similar to though straighter than a talibon blade, is in its tang and some might say (though I disagree) its crossguards (note yours lacks this, another missing weapon feature) openly Euro-influenced. The handle seen here seems Euroish, but also resembles Japanese styles; it is however, only seen as such out of PI, AFAIK.

Nothing odd about military work knives......maybe more;; gotta go....

Rick 10th April 2005 08:11 PM

Example ?
 
2 Attachment(s)
Hi Ian,
This , I believe is a Luzon 'cut point' bolo . It has a through tang and looks similar to your example .
All of these are Span Am Philippine bolos .

Battara 10th April 2005 08:51 PM

Ian I have a similar Tagalog bolo that has the same type of hilt. It even has a sun on the butt, suggesting to me early Katipunan. It is similar to a bolo in Stone's that is attributed to Luzon. I think therefore what you have is a probable Tagalog, definitly Luzon piece.

tom hyle 10th April 2005 09:18 PM

I'm back, and happy to have a go at your questions, Ian.

Thanks for pressing me; sometimes it helps me think; let's see if now is one of those times :D
I agree that "the progressions of weapons development" I suggest "may or may not be true" they're just feelings based on examples I've seen; no real folklore, even, and I'd really love to know better what's going on geoculturally.

I agree on the thru tangs as European; the tube-handle/socket more likely from mainland SE Asia. But joined to those European thru tang are blades of various degrees, of course, of native influence. The matulis seems particularly native, and I'll tell you why; first, the chisel grind which I see only on ones that seem solidly old; weren't you saying yours is c ground? Or just bringing up the idea? Am I confused? It's less common on them than a wedge shape, but is one thing that may suggest a Visayan relation. Now, the blade is much the same shape overall as an old, "garab" talibon, the kind with a curved cutting blade (the tip of the matulis), anled forward from a triangular shaft/ricassoe (sharpish, very wide, even guard-like, somewhat vestigial, and somewhat transitioned into a smooth s-curve on the matulis, but present), and, sometimes, on old ones, though not all old ones, the same overall wedge-section chisel ground only at the edge/secondary bevel. Look at Rick's recurved pointy one; I think it was the bottom one in the pic (?)

I think the natives had pointy daggers, at least, if not swords, on their own, and contact with the mainland would be as influential as Europe in this regard, no?

The tear-drop shaped shaped guards seen on some of these seem related to minimal Moro guards and lumand integral to the ferule/handle flat quards, and the crossguards I've seen on some of 'em seem as Lumady as they do Europy.


I agree about the pan-imperial trade, and by the way, you should see these two matulis-like Mexican daggers (bowies) I just got, and you know what else reminded me of these daggers, is that picture of the guy with the cape for a shield on the navaja thread; the blade is very like my two little Mexican bolos.

I think you have seen transitional forms, and just haven't recognized them as such; I think indeed, matulis is such a form. There are also Visayan swords with a talibon blade or a very talisbesque blade with the same cutting blade and forward lean, but no ricassoe, often with guards, and occasionally wedge-sectioned. There are smoothly s-curved talibons, but especially talibesques with octagon ferules. There are binagons (or tenegres?) with triangular based forward leaned talibesque blades, many of full regular sword size, and with handguards that may relate in here somewhere......One sees so many different handles on talibons and talibesques, and so many blade varieties; slim tip or wide chisel ground or wedge overall wedge overall flat or overall thicker to the cutting edge (like my Mexican daggers, too!), curved or straight cutting blade, various angles of ricassoe and of tang and edge in relation to hilt; a wild profusion.

Very sorry, but pics are not my best capability at all;I've almost filled a roll & the rest are assigned and my books are minimal, etc.....



[QUOTE=
I have not seen a full tang sword or knife with a chisel grind that was of native manufacture and intended for local use.
I'm also not sure what you mean by the C-grind knives referred to below.


Ian. :)[/QUOTE]

I don't understand this part of the question, perhaps I've answered it anyway, by rambling? Or maybe you can reword it for me?

tom hyle 10th April 2005 09:27 PM

Know this, too, as a solid archaeological fact: Medieval and post-medieval Europeans often used knives and some daggers that were wedge-sectioned with a scarft-welded, chisel-bevelled edge. I've seen ones in books; dredged out of rivers in England and Russia.

Rick 10th April 2005 09:46 PM

Hi Guys , all three of those bolos came from the same source , a member of the Washington State Volunteers who served exclusively on Luzon . They came with a xerox of his discharge including a list of the battles and skirmishes he had been involved in .
The horsehead hilted one we can wonder about ; the other two have the same through tang construction and ferruling as your piece Ian .

I'd say you can be pretty safe in attributing this bolo to Luzon .

tom hyle 10th April 2005 10:06 PM

Note, too, that guardlessness is common (though not universal) on the pointed ones.

tom hyle 10th April 2005 10:09 PM

Ooh! Rick! Where on Luzon?

Rick 10th April 2005 11:29 PM

Kinda busy right now Tom , I'll pull the paperwork and post it soon . Or you could do a Swap forum search ; I have offered them for sale a couple of times with no takers . There is probably info there , may be on the old forum , not sure .

Ian 10th April 2005 11:52 PM

Guys:

I hear what you are saying, but you have not addressed the points that bother me about the attribution of this knife to the northern Philippines.

1. Do any of your examples have a flat side and an opposite side that has been ground to the edge (NOT chisel ground)?

2. Do any of your examples have a hilt with an ovoid (pear-shaped, tear drop) cross section?

3. Who among us has the experience to say this does or does not come from another Spanish colonial setting?

Our substantial familiarity with Philippines weapons outweighs our collective ignorance about other Spanish colonial weapons. When I posted this one on SFI, Juan Perez (who moderates the Spanish language part of that forum) suggested other Spanish colonial origins as possibilities. My concern is that we are comfortable with what we know about familiar topics, but we have little understanding of what we don't know about unfamiliar topics. That is a form of bias (or self-deception) for which Ruel would rightly chastise us -- it is one of the fallacies of inductive reasoning.

Tom, I will rephrase some of my questions and be more specific in the next few days. Not a lot of time right now to write at length. In the meanwhile, would you look through some of the dozens of pictures of Philippine weapons from the Visayas and Luzon on this site, and point out ones that illustrate the transitions you mention? I'm thinking we are talking at cross purposes on some of these issues.

I will also try to post some better pictures of the hilt and blade of the knife above in the next couple of days. I'm away from home at the moment.

Ian.

Rick 10th April 2005 11:59 PM

Hi Ian , respectfully ,

#1. Yes

#2. Yes

#3. Guaranteed my example is a Philippine bringback from the Span Am war era . I would have to be a time traveler to know more . :D

One more thing , this bolo has a carabao horn hilt , what other Spanish colony had Water Buffalo , Mexico , anywhere in S.A. ?
And to add even one more detail , consider the scabbard that is shown next to the bolo .

As Meatloaf's song title says : 2 out of 3 Ain't bad . :D :D

I'll be glad to ship you this example for personal examination if you wish , just PM me .

Rick

tom hyle 11th April 2005 01:04 AM

I completely do not understand what you mean by a blade that is flat on one side and an opposite side that is ground to the edge not being chisel ground; sounds like chisel ground to me; can you describe the cross section differently, or clarify the difference?

tom hyle 11th April 2005 01:16 AM

Ian, I've private messaged you some examples from a commercial website ;) I may or may not be able to find them on the forum; interest in these talibons and talibesques (a made up word, I hope you understand) is something that hardly existed in N American even say 2 years ago.....

zelbone 11th April 2005 02:59 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Ian, there's nothing unusual about Luzon origin sandata with ferrules on both ends of the hilt as well as having an ovoid (egg-shaped) hilt profile. I've seen several bolos with hilts with these features and most likely more Tagalog than Ilocano, Papangan, or Pangasinan. The more horse-hoof styles seem to come from these areas further away from Manila. As for the "pseudo-chiseled" edge blade profile you are refering to with the short bevel as opposed to the really wide bevel found in the Visayas, many swords in Luzon have blades with these especially around Batangas.

One more comment; as for the chopped-tip matulis blade, yes many blades had their tips chopped for a variety of reasons. However, many blades were actually forged into that specific shape for a good reason: at the end of the 19th C. there was a law prohibiting pointed bolos by the Spanish rule in the Philippines. Of course not everyone follows the rules especially those further away from the central government, but many bolos had their points chopped or were forged with a blunt tip. This doesn't mean a chopped-tip bolo is only a "working" bolo. Sure some resemble the Visayan espading, but many are actually fighting swords. Among the bolos in the pictures I've enclosed is a blunt tip sword with a bone hilt and double brass ferrules. The octagonal hilt is ovoid in profile with a nice bone hilt...too nice for a "working" bolo. The blade is 20 inches long and slender with a blunt (i.e. "legal" for that time period) tip. This is an arnisador's sword and handles like one as well.

The other "chopped" sword has a more traditional horsehoof hilt. Notice that both swords have fitted tooled leather scabbards that follow the profile of the swords showing that they were never cut down. The other sword with the egg-shaped hilt and double ferrules is a genuine old matulis. The dagger has double ferrules as well, but also has the flat back and short bevel blade you are referring to.

Ian 11th April 2005 05:08 AM

It's late and I don't have much time to respond.

Rick: Yes, the hilt on that cut point bolo looks similar to the one I show, although mine is minus the spiral groove and the handle is made of wood not caribou horn. With the provenance you have, it must be almost certainly from the Philippines. Is the blade the usual V-grind or chisel ground?

I think you and others have effectively established that this general style of knife existed in the Philippines, and that was known before the present post and is not really an issue. The question comes down to whether this is a predominantly Spanish style or a Philippine style. If it is unique to the Philippines, then I need look no further. If the style is predominantly Spanish, and given the military inscription in Spanish that may be a logical deduction, then the possibilities are much broader. That's why I'm looking carefully at the particular characteristics to see if they match common experiences with other Philippine knives of this variety. If not, it could be an uncommon example of a Filipino knife, or an example from somewhere else in the former Spanish Empire. BTW, I have had no success in tracking down the regimental number.

Tom: I'm having trouble communicating the cross section of the blade, largely because I don't really know what to call it. The back is perfectly flat. The other side has a convex grind to the edge, not a flat bevel of the wide (Visayan) or narrow (Batangas) variety.

Zel: No question that Luzon knives can have ferrules at either end and a variety of cross sections, as you have illustrated. Of the examples that you show, perhaps the hilt at the bottom comes closest to my knife (minus the guard). A picture from the end of the pommel will help explain the shape of the hilt, and I will post one shortly.

I also understand that pointed bolos were prohibited by the Spanish at certain times to limit the local population's use of such lethal weapons. But this is a regimentally marked blade -- why would a compromised weapon be issued to/used by a Government soldier? Perhaps Tom's suggestion of a tool is correct.

Ian.

Rick 11th April 2005 01:29 PM

Hi Ian , perhaps the answer (or clues) may be found in a study of the regimental history .

I'd also like to ask you if Marc has suggested any particular alternate Spanish Colonial areas as origin .

To add I'd also like to suggest that hand engraving (which is what this script looks like to me) would not be used for a Gov't issue work knife .

We have seen plenty of examples of bringbacks and souvenir pieces that have been hand engraved .

zelbone 11th April 2005 03:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Hi Ian , perhaps the answer (or clues) may be found in a study of the regimental history .

I'd also like to ask you if Marc has suggested any particular alternate Spanish Colonial areas as origin .

To add I'd also like to suggest that hand engraving (which is what this script looks like to me) would not be used for a Gov't issue work knife .

We have seen plenty of examples of bringbacks and souvenir pieces that have been hand engraved .


I was thinking the same thing, Rick. This could have been a Spanish soldier's souvenir.

tom hyle 11th April 2005 06:00 PM

Some unorganized thoughts: Rick's middle sword, the one with the spiral handle, looks like it may actually be shortened(?) As I explain a bit on the other current thread about these (Is there a combining function? can someone post a clickable link? Am I making too much work for people?), some people do like a wide/blunt tip for fighting. But probably it was a soldier's private issue sword, quite possibly from his past civilian life, but often military units like to keep the men "disarmed" when not fighting; and it is in specifically ,military or other confined regimented environments where you sometimes find regulations that can create such blades.
Matulis do indeed closely resemble some Spainish and Mexican bolos ( I will try to send a pic, one day, one day.....); food for definite thought. Of course, the unit designation could well be that of a foreign/invading soldier, as Rick says.
Ian, I think the cross-section you're describing is "humpy-flatty" flat as flat or an obvious attempt at it on one side, the other wedges all the way down to the edge, but is distinctly not flat, but humped with a continual rounded convexly curved surface. This is a common alternative form of a chisel grind, and is probably created more in after-market sharpening in many cases, but is similar to a one-sided version of, for instance, a Japanese "clam shell" bevel, but on the other hand, a similarly humped surface, though with a centralized edge, like the clamshell, is not uncommon on old European swords, especially "folk art"/poor peoples' swords.....

tom hyle 11th April 2005 10:50 PM

Furthermore, I do think the way the blade narrows toward the end, rather than being parrallel edged or widening, as well as its curvature is similar to the pointed matulis, and is a further indication that this is an altered form of that.

Federico 11th April 2005 11:16 PM

Just curious if you ever found out what type of wood is on the hilt, possibly another clue to origin. As you noted it is a fairly ubiquitous style in Spanish colonies, were you able to establish if these are Spanish army markings or simply markings in Spanish? Towards the end of the 19th century, we are speaking of a very limited area from where the knife could come from, if it is Spanish Army. If just simply in Spanish, well even in PI many official documents were still in Spanish up to the 1930s.

Rick 11th April 2005 11:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
It's late and I don't have much time to respond.

Rick: Yes, the hilt on that cut point bolo looks similar to the one I show, although mine is minus the spiral groove and the handle is made of wood not caribou horn. With the provenance you have, it must be almost certainly from the Philippines. Is the blade the usual V-grind or chisel ground?

I think you and others have effectively established that this general style of knife existed in the Philippines, and that was known before the present post and is not really an issue. The question comes down to whether this is a predominantly Spanish style or a Philippine style. If it is unique to the Philippines, then I need look no further. If the style is predominantly Spanish, and given the military inscription in Spanish that may be a logical deduction, then the possibilities are much broader. That's why I'm looking carefully at the particular characteristics to see if they match common experiences with other Philippine knives of this variety. If not, it could be an uncommon example of a Filipino knife, or an example from somewhere else in the former Spanish Empire. BTW, I have had no success in tracking down the regimental number.
Ian.


Hi Ian , my bolo is definitely chisel ground in that it has a flat side right to the edge , the other side has more like a gentle curve to edge of the the flat side rather than the angular Visayan style of edge .

That would still be chisel ground , no ?

Is there any literature we know of on the work knives of Old Spain ?

Rick

tom hyle 12th April 2005 12:08 AM

Rick, I'll try to check the old swap forum for your postings. Whenever I try to search the new forums, it always tells me no matches; always, even when I use words or phrases I know are in there; I suppose I'm doing it wrong; just never cared enough to seek help with it; always plenty else to do....

tom hyle 14th April 2005 01:44 AM

What did I say the other day "nothing like the grocery line for thinking?" Yeah, except traffic and lights on the way to work :) Firsrt, let me say, as I already have that the idea of sort of Pan-Imperial Spanish colonial styles and features has a lot of validity to it, but I do think that in most cases (not all) some local feature or features can be tracked down. But certainly features are very similar/widespread; the leather sheaths from Luzon are almost exactly like those from Central and S America, down to the slanty strap holes; these two Mexican daggers I have are very matulis-like, and it is certainly possible that it has its origin in Spanish bolos, but let me elucidate some things about the concept that the matulis and the talibon are related, and especially that one sees intermediate forms. First, I'm pretty sure that matulis Ian described sounds like a type of "chisel" (ie, one-sided) bevel, and if not I have owned one matulis with a chisel-ground edge, and bid on another that I did not bid high enough to buy it. Second, there are a lot of matulis-like talibons or talibesques. I have a conception of a "true talibon"; it may be a culturally valid distinction or not, but it is a defineable thing, if nothing else; let me tell you about it; the true talibon has these features: A curved, SE chisel-bevelled blade with a widened belly, that may be widest at middle, or near either tip or base; A very characteristic trapezoidal (I usually call it triangular, but it's really a trapezoid) nonsharp shaft/ricassoe; A fairly sharp and distinct angle between the two; Handle is wider toward the blade (this may be to make up for both no ferule and no guard); Handle is curved, with a hooked pommel. Note that I did not include features that are variations/options/etc. within talibon, such as thumbrests, curved vs. straight spine to cutting blade, 3 lobe pommel, various cross sections, or what-have-you. There is, however, one fairly common type of variation that doesn't fit my definition (again, possibly false due to foreign-ness, but never the less useful, and is talibon even a word? :D ) of true talibon; others consider it talibon; I think of it as a variety of talibesque. Picture a talibon. One with a curved cutting blade, curved spine and edge. But with no sharp angle between shaft and blade, buta forward curve, so s-curved. But with a straight (though still usually hook-pommelled) handle. Maybe it even has an overall wedge section, with a chisel ground edge. Perhaps it is even not a highly curved one. Now, that is one matulis-like talibon; that seems like an intermediate form right there, to me. And I've got one sitting right on my shelf, and I think there's a pic of it in my camera.

Surely knowledge of ethnic locations, movements, etc. would help clarify this matter, but I have little.

What else makes for a talisbesque? A binagon or "Bonifacio" style handle with a tapered ferule or bolster. I've seen a number, and with or without a guard. Some of them could verge over into talibon-like matulis.
Also, when the swell of the blade base transitions into a true dropped edge, I think some sort of line has been crossed, style/design wise, whether that means one is not a "true" talibon, or that there are just various types of talibon......often with this feature is seen a more European style ricassoe, on the talibon/talibesque.

Ian, If you are able to scan pictures, and will send me your snail mail address, I'll mail you a couple pictures. I think you're onto something important with the spread of cultural influence through the Spanish empire.


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