Thread: Mystery knife
View Single Post
Old 20th January 2017, 06:08 AM   #18
Vikingsword Staff
Ian's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 2,545

The "mystery knife" that started this thread is shown in the middle of three knives (see attached picture). Each of these knives shares some similarities:
  • The cutting edge is recurved
  • The spine of the blade is convex, curving down to an acute point
  • There is a short ferrule
Some differences:
  • The bottom two hilts have a blind tang construction and the top one has a full length tang construction
  • The ferrule of the center one is much smaller in diameter than the adjacent hilt, while the other two ferrules are slightly less in diameter than the adjacent hilt.
The top knife bears a stamped inscription indicating it is from APALIT. We have discussed these knives before, and the location of Apalit is shown on the map in the previous post here.

The middle knife is typical of the hundáng produced by the Pinatubo Negritos, as shown in Plate 9 of Fox's article. It came with a wooden sheath (see pics attached) similar to the sheath for a katána that is shown in Fox's Plate 9.

The bottom one is a recent acquisition. The blade has been polished to a mirror finish and has been professionally sharpened--this may well have been done by the U.S. seller of this item. It came with a leather sheath typical of Filipino manufacture, and the sheath shows some age (probably early 20th C.). I suspect this one is an upscale model of the top knife and may come from Apalit also.

I was prompted to put up these comparisons because of the similarities of the various knives. Leif (Rafngard) expressed the same thought about knives from Apalit. Given the relatively short distance between the eastern side of Mt. Pinatubo and Apalit, it's not unreasonable to ponder whether some diffusion of styles might exist. Indeed, Fox notes that the Negritos would get their work bolos from nearby markets, although he does not specifically identify Apalit as one of those markets.

The next to last picture attached to this post is of another Apalit bolo that resembles a talódo in the shape of the blade, again perhaps suggesting some crossover in styles between the Negritos and Pampangans. All conjecture, of course, but it is food for thought.

The last picture is another copy of Fox's Plate 9 for comparison.

Given the proximity of Clark AFB to the Negrito homeland and to knife making centers such as Apalit, it is perhaps not surprising that examples of the knives from these sources ended up as souvenirs for US servicemen, and have then found their way on to the U.S. market.

Attached Images
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote