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Old 16th September 2019, 01:04 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,033

Originally Posted by CharlesS
... What you are seeing that looks like swassa is actually a combination of the two things. One is the lighting, but the other is the variation in the silver/alloy content in various parts of the hilt creating a variation in the silver's color. I wish there was some swassa here, but there is not.
Too bad. Just copper mixed in with the silver I guess.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
... Based on your experience and the examples you have seen, what do you think about my commentary, and strictly opinion, about the origins and lifespan of these silver pommeled krisses? I am just curious about your thoughts...and anyone else that would care to contribute.
I think you are probably right in regard to the silver pommels that appear to be all silver (albeit hollow inside). There are certainly early examples that have silver plates nailed on to the pommels, but not covering all of them, and the ornamentation of the grips with silver bands or woven silver wire strips is a longstanding form of decoration I believe (certainly on barung hilts, so I don't see why not on kris hilts too).

I completely agree that these were made for affluent or influential Moros, but not the top leaders. They are showy and pretentious, perhaps well suited for the bourgeoisie of Moro Society. It is interesting that the examples you show all seem to have nice, well forged blades that would be sturdy and effective weapons. There are other dressed-up kris with large ivory hilts, for example, that have rather poor quality blades and look as though they were never designed to be removed from the scabbard.

In my last trip to Manila more than a decade ago, I was offered several ivory-hilted kris in finely made scabbards, but with very humble blades. The Moro trader who had these told me that they were entirely for show, so why spend more on a good blade when you would never use it. He was asking US$1,000 each based on the hilt and scabbard! I could have bargained him down quite a bit, but frankly I was not interested.

A final comment in regard to Datu Piang. He was an enormously powerful leader among the Maguindanao. Although a mestizzo (half Chinese) he was close to the royal family and indeed more powerful than them in his later life. That he would choose to flaunt his power and wealth by exhibiting gold in his dress, and get away with it, was testament to how powerful and secure in his position he felt. While somewhat deferential to the Sultan of Buayang (Datu Utu), he had no qualms about putting the Sultan's nephew and heir (Datu Ali) in his place.
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