What did I say the other day "nothing like the grocery line for thinking?" Yeah, except traffic and lights on the way to work
Firsrt, let me say, as I already have that the idea of sort of Pan-Imperial Spanish colonial styles and features has a lot of validity to it, but I do think that in most cases (not all) some local feature or features can be tracked down. But certainly features are very similar/widespread; the leather sheaths from Luzon are almost exactly like those from Central and S America, down to the slanty strap holes; these two Mexican daggers I have are very matulis-like, and it is certainly possible that it has its origin in Spanish bolos, but let me elucidate some things about the concept that the matulis and the talibon are related, and especially that one sees intermediate forms. First, I'm pretty sure that matulis Ian described sounds like a type of "chisel" (ie, one-sided) bevel, and if not I have owned one matulis with a chisel-ground edge, and bid on another that I did not bid high enough to buy it. Second, there are a lot of matulis-like talibons or talibesques. I have a conception of a "true talibon"; it may be a culturally valid distinction or not, but it is a defineable thing, if nothing else; let me tell you about it; the true talibon has these features: A curved, SE chisel-bevelled blade with a widened belly, that may be widest at middle, or near either tip or base; A very characteristic trapezoidal (I usually call it triangular, but it's really a trapezoid) nonsharp shaft/ricassoe; A fairly sharp and distinct angle between the two; Handle is wider toward the blade (this may be to make up for both no ferule and no guard); Handle is curved, with a hooked pommel. Note that I did not include features that are variations/options/etc. within talibon, such as thumbrests, curved vs. straight spine to cutting blade, 3 lobe pommel, various cross sections, or what-have-you. There is, however, one fairly common type of variation that doesn't fit my definition (again, possibly false due to foreign-ness, but never the less useful, and is talibon even a word?
) of true talibon; others consider it talibon; I think of it as a variety of talibesque. Picture a talibon. One with a curved cutting blade, curved spine and edge. But with no sharp angle between shaft and blade, buta forward curve, so s-curved. But with a straight (though still usually hook-pommelled) handle. Maybe it even has an overall wedge section, with a chisel ground edge. Perhaps it is even not a highly curved one. Now, that is one matulis-like talibon; that seems like an intermediate form right there, to me. And I've got one sitting right on my shelf, and I think there's a pic of it in my camera.
Surely knowledge of ethnic locations, movements, etc. would help clarify this matter, but I have little.
What else makes for a talisbesque? A binagon or "Bonifacio" style handle with a tapered ferule or bolster. I've seen a number, and with or without a guard. Some of them could verge over into talibon-like matulis.
Also, when the swell of the blade base transitions into a true dropped edge, I think some sort of line has been crossed, style/design wise, whether that means one is not a "true" talibon, or that there are just various types of talibon......often with this feature is seen a more European style ricassoe, on the talibon/talibesque.
Ian, If you are able to scan pictures, and will send me your snail mail address, I'll mail you a couple pictures. I think you're onto something important with the spread of cultural influence through the Spanish empire.