Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Well, this is interesting. We have three similar barung, but perhaps not so similar. With roughly comparable pictures, we can put them side by side and see how they differ.
In the accompanying composite picture, top to bottom, we have Yves' original post, followed by an example posted from Yaz, and lastly a similar barung of Detlef. On each blade I have drawn a vertical white line halfway between the hilt and the tip. In addition, I have tried to define with a black arrow where each blade is at its widest point. It is apparent that the top (Yves) and bottom (Detlef) swords have a similar geometry: the widest point lies to the left (i.e., towards the hilt end) of the midpoint of the blade. The example of Yaz is different: the widest point of the blade lies to the right (i.e., towards the tip) of the blade. Yaz's blade also has a much straighter spine than the other two.
Yaz has identified his barung as Yakan, and I agree that Yakan blades (at least post WWII) have straighter spines and are weighted more towards the tip than are Sulu (Tausug, Samal) blades. The other two blades appear more consistent with Sulu blades, having their widest points closer to the hilt.
The hilts on the top and bottom examples also look Sulu, but I would need to have them in hand and inspect them more closely before excluding a Yakan origin. The Yakan coverings on the scabbards of Yves' and Yaz's examples has been noted already. Detlef's is less clear because there is no textile present and his scabbard is wrapped entirely in fine rattan.
So, accepting that Yaz has shown us a typical recent Yakan example, and the other two swords have different blades, then are the others perhaps Sulu blades in Yakan dress?
I do think that Yves and Detlef's swords look older than 1970, although the scabbards could be that vintage or later.