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Old 10th April 2005, 05:36 PM   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Little House on the Prairie
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Thanks again Tom.

This is an interesting discussion. I need to press you on some of the statements below, because they imply certain progressions of weapons development that may or may not be true. There is a considerable lack of data about the knives of Luzon prior to the arrival of the Spanish.

I am going to propose that all weapons of the Philippines prior to the arrival of the Spanish were of blind tang construction, similar to styles seen in the southern and central Philippines up to today, and those still surviving in many tribal groups in Luzon particularly in the north.

The full tang constructions were introduced by the Spanish and only adopted to any significant degree in areas of Luzon heavily settled by the Spanish. Along with the full tang construction came several blade styles not commonly found among the natives of Luzon, notably pointy, stabbing knives and swords. These were modified and adapted, along with the introduction of metal guards, within the local context. Strong similarities between certain Luzon knives and knives from Mexico would suggest a common Spanish origin, and there was certainly trade between the various Spanish colonies so that an innovation or style in one colony could find its way to remote Spanish colonies elsewhere.

Given a single dominant force (Spain) plus communication and trade throughout the Empire, I do think we need to be cautious about where we attribute Spanish colonial knives. I am echoing the advice of Juan Perez.

With respect to transitional styles between the full tang, V-ground Tagalog knives and the blind tang, chisel-ground Visayan knives, I have not found an example in the 10+ years that I have been visiting the Philippines. This has been a point of curiousity for me. I have asked many people about such combinations of styles or transitional blades -- nobody I have spoken to has seen them. You mention having seen examples and a place where they are made -- I would really appreciate details and any pictures you may have.

I have not seen a full tang sword or knife with a chisel grind that was of native manufacture and intended for local use. Years ago I had a knife from the 1960s that was a custom "bowie" made in Angeles City for a US serviceman, but that's the extent of my experience.

I don't know what you mean by the blade style seems to fade into talibesques and then talibons. I have always been impressed by the abrupt difference between the knives of Luzon and those of the Visayas. Your statement implies a geographic transition or synthesis in knife styles that I don't think has occurred. Just as the different dialects between Luzon (Tagalog) and the Visayas (Cebuano, Warai, etc.) have been preserved, so too the distinct styles of knives and swords seems to have survived.

I'm also not sure what you mean by the C-grind knives referred to below.

More information would be much appreciated when you have time.

Thanks Tom.


Originally Posted by tom hyle
I'll try to address each thing; the quote below is to help me.

Some matulis/balisiong (please do not mistake my lack of knowledge of the names for a lack of familiarity with the swords) are "chisel ground' and I think they're the older ones, but maybe the more Southern ones. The blade style seems to fade into talisbesques and then talibons. This chisel grind though is of the type on old talibons; an overll wedge-section, maybe humped on one side flat on the other (didn't know if you'd get "humpy-flatty" ) and are only chisel sharpened/bevelled at the very edge. Anylyzing the orientation of the edge and the overall wedge shape within the hilt is a real fun and interesting thing to do with old swords; you might be surprised.

The cut point is Spainish/European, and is seen in former Spainish colonies, but on their local forms of blade; cut point machete, etc. The cut point is European, not the matulis, is what I was saying. Now watch me contradict myself, because the matulis, while a basically, especially the c-grind ones, native blade, similar to though straighter than a talibon blade, is in its tang and some might say (though I disagree) its crossguards (note yours lacks this, another missing weapon feature) openly Euro-influenced. The handle seen here seems Euroish, but also resembles Japanese styles; it is however, only seen as such out of PI, AFAIK.

Nothing odd about military work knives......maybe more;; gotta go....
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