ron, your question on the tang shape kept me thinking all day long.
and so i spent the whole morning (wed.) reviewing those ancient gold hilts at the two museums here in manila. and then i have to dig up hutterer's findings on those cebu daggers that's about a thousand years older.
and here i am still pounding away at the keyboard at 1:00 am the following day. therefore, you owe me a drink of sarsi and a lot of popcorn!
so let's start with the oldest one -- figure 2b
according to hutterer is 'early iron age'. iron age in the country is between 500 bc to 900 ad
. thus let's say '2b' is 500 to 100 bc. as we can see, the tang appears to be cylindrical
fast forward to about a thousand years later -- figure 2a
per hutterer also, is from "the first millennium a.d. ... [up to the] late 9th century to early 10th century a.d.". and what i think i see is a hexagonal
tang. and the hexagonal cross-section appears to carry through, up to the beginning of the blade's forte. these scientific illustrations are pretty accurate. thus i think the hexagon we are seeing is real.
next up are the 10th to 13th century gold hilts ...