Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
I agree with your Maranao attribution based on Cato's identification of kris by tribal groups. As I'm sure you know, Cato identified distinct differences among Sulu (Tausug) and Mindanao (Maguindanao and Maranao) kris. I have attached a picture of his illustrative examples below, showing the elephant trunk area of Sulu (Tausug) kris [A], Maranao kris [B], and Maguindanao kris [C, D]. It's fairly clear that your example most closely resembles the Maranao form shown by Cato. The blade of yours is also straight and wide, wider than most Sulu kris but consistent with Mindanao kris of the late 19th-20th C.
The talismanic/magical inscriptions on the blade are a wonderful find, and I agree with David that we will likely never know what these meant to the owner of the sword. They do indicate, however, that this was a "special" sword imbued with powers such as providing a safe and successful outcome for the wielder of it. Who knows what spirits, good or evil, may lie within this blade.