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Old 27th December 2017, 01:45 PM   #7
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,172
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Hello Ian,

The gentleman who owned this knife served in the U.S. Army late in WW II. He enlisted in June, 1944 and saw action in the capture of Morotai (September 1944), a small island to the north-east of the Celebes, which served as a significant jumping off point for the invasion of the Philippines. He was later stationed in the Philippines after the Japanese surrender. He was discharged from the Army in 1946. He told me that he acquired the knife during his time on Morotai.

Great, it's rare to have a reasonable provenance for ethnic blades!So, unless we discover any evidence to the contrary, I'm fine with accepting that your example was collected on Morotai during WW2.

As Detlef wrote, Morotai does not exactly belong to the Bugis sphere of influence - it's traditionally part of the Ternate Sultanate; this important sultanate's sphere of influence once extended over Maluku towards eastern Sulawesi but declined during the later colonial era; OTOH I'm not aware of any direct Sulawesi (much less Bugis) links nor trade with Morotai during the 20th century. Seems like more thorough research is needed here!

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