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
Originally Posted by Ian
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.