Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Manila, Phils.
Thanks for starting this thread as the kampilan is of great interest to me at the moment (I'm trying to acquire another piece).
Maurice, Vandoo, and Mandaukudi, thanks too for the additional info!
What I can add is taken from two books in front of me now. From Cato's good old "Moro Swords" (1996) --
"The basic form of the Moro kampilan was borrowed form Malay prototypes. The kampilan profile is strikingly similar to the klewang, mandau (parang ihlang) swords that were used in Indonesia and Malaya (now Malaysia).
"Dr. Mamitua Saber, noted Maranao expert on the history and culture of the Muslim Filipinos, has found evidence that variants of the kampilan exist in almost every country in insular Southeast Asia, including some of the isolated islands in the Indian Ocean, near Sumatra. It is his belief, however, that the most likely prototype for the Moro kampilan was the klewang, as produced by the inhabitants of the Celebes."
And from Krieger's "Primitive Weapons and Armor of the Philippine Islands" (1926):
"HAIRY KAMPILAN. -- This weapon denoted considerable rank on the part of he bearer. It is ornamented with a tuft of tufts of human or horse hair at the sides of the handle. The wooden handle is large, highly ornamented with carvings; bifid pommel. The large wooden cross guard is often provided with sword breaker and wrist protector. Moro. Weapon not essentially Filipino, but introduced by way of Borneo. North Bornean forms resemble it, as do also the north Celebes types with spur pointed at distal end. The weapon resembles the parang-ihlang.
"KAMPILAN. -- A long blade widening to a truncated distal end. The weapon is employed by the Moro private soldier. Large wooden handle sometimes highly carved. Sword breaker and wooden cross guard always present."
And then of course there's this other excellent thread, Towards a classification of the kampilan