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Old 2nd January 2015, 02:19 PM   #8
Spunjer's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Witness Protection Program
Posts: 1,679

i would think this would be an interesting topic to discuss, but i guess it's too early in the year???
just to reinterate, you said:
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.


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...
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