Join Date: Apr 2005
Thanks for your effort! Like with archaic kris, our chronological understanding of the development seems to be not too far off the mark; absolute dating is still very much open to debate though and any well-documented data added to our understanding do help to better adjust the time line to reality.
Datu Dacula never had control over Jolo and (all of) Mindanao; his power base was Sibugay, a part of the Zamboanga peninsula. While he was actively involved in the intra-Maguindanao struggles during the (late period of) decline and fragmentation of the former Maguindanao empire, I believe his lasting suzerainty was pretty much confined to the southern coast of the peninsula. The Spanish were very well aware of the general situation and infighting; good ol’ Capitan Halcón was probably being a bit facetious with the provided info when donating this piece to the museum… 😉
The ports of the Moro community on Zamboanga were pretty much melting pots with considerable cultural influence from Sulu (Tausug, Yakan), Iranum, Maguindanao, as well as more distant regions like Brunei or the Visayas.
While the piece certainly seems to be high quality, I don’t see any features that I’d be tempted to interpret as clearly suggesting any Melayu origin. It is from a period when Maguindanao style was already fully established. Much more likely seems some mixing of styles from additional Sulu influence IMHO.