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Old 11th April 2005, 01:59 AM   #21
zelbone's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 169

Ian, there's nothing unusual about Luzon origin sandata with ferrules on both ends of the hilt as well as having an ovoid (egg-shaped) hilt profile. I've seen several bolos with hilts with these features and most likely more Tagalog than Ilocano, Papangan, or Pangasinan. The more horse-hoof styles seem to come from these areas further away from Manila. As for the "pseudo-chiseled" edge blade profile you are refering to with the short bevel as opposed to the really wide bevel found in the Visayas, many swords in Luzon have blades with these especially around Batangas.

One more comment; as for the chopped-tip matulis blade, yes many blades had their tips chopped for a variety of reasons. However, many blades were actually forged into that specific shape for a good reason: at the end of the 19th C. there was a law prohibiting pointed bolos by the Spanish rule in the Philippines. Of course not everyone follows the rules especially those further away from the central government, but many bolos had their points chopped or were forged with a blunt tip. This doesn't mean a chopped-tip bolo is only a "working" bolo. Sure some resemble the Visayan espading, but many are actually fighting swords. Among the bolos in the pictures I've enclosed is a blunt tip sword with a bone hilt and double brass ferrules. The octagonal hilt is ovoid in profile with a nice bone hilt...too nice for a "working" bolo. The blade is 20 inches long and slender with a blunt (i.e. "legal" for that time period) tip. This is an arnisador's sword and handles like one as well.

The other "chopped" sword has a more traditional horsehoof hilt. Notice that both swords have fitted tooled leather scabbards that follow the profile of the swords showing that they were never cut down. The other sword with the egg-shaped hilt and double ferrules is a genuine old matulis. The dagger has double ferrules as well, but also has the flat back and short bevel blade you are referring to.
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