Some of you may have seen this Moro kriss on eBay. When I first saw it I thought the rattan was a charming addition to the hilt to hold the blade in place, as we have seen many times before, or add grip. But the more I kept looking at the pics things began to change my mind:
1. The rattan was in no way attached to the blade
2. The dark pommel had a look to it of heavily tarnished silver
3. The silver filigree bands would seem to confirm that the pommel may be silver
4. Upon close inspection, the hilt had not lost its cording wrap, and was, in fact, tortoiseshell bands held in place by tiny nails.
So, why would such a finely mounted hilt have such a crude rattan wrap around it???
Once the piece was in hand the answer became obvious and immediate. The hilt's wooden core had broken into, and the rattan(noting again none of it was attached to the blade) had been cleverly wrapped and bound from one end of the hilt to the other to hold it all together without any loss...when you don't have gorilla glue...use rattan. The rattan had clearly been on for a very long time. My theory is that it had been picked up by a vet in the Philippines who realized it was fragile and so he had someone try to keep it all together any way possible. That person used a time-honored method to do just that!
Once it became obvious it was not born with the kriss, I (almost sadly) removed the rattan and began to work on fixing and cleaning. Here are the results. The silver filigree shows heavy loss on the upper fitting but otherwise is lovely. The tortoise shell is complete and polished up nicely. The pommel is lovely as well.
The blade is nothing out of the ordinary, showing a laminated core and tempered edges.
I believe it is from Maguindanao but would like some input on its origins.
For once I had a hunch that was actually correct and I couldn't be happier!