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Old 2nd January 2015, 08:19 PM   #11
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Ian's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 2,466


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.

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