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Old 12th January 2019, 10:05 PM   #7
Jim McDougall
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,693

Originally Posted by Marbel
Hello All and a belated Happy New Year,

Iím wondering about the markings/pattern along the top edge of the panabas blade near the handle. Has anyone done a study on these designs relative to them being a marker for a certain specific maker or group, time period or of any other significance aside from decoration?

Thank you,

Hi Craig,
I am glad to see someone interested in the markings found on these weapons, which is a topic so esoteric that it is seldom addressed in the literature, or here for that matter. Typically most seem to regard such designs as being talismanic, in mostly a 'catch all' sense, without deeper explanation. Many presume 'aesthetic' value on such designs as simply favored in the manner of 'arabesque' motifs used to fill empty space.

These designs are common on the back of SE Asian and many edged weapons of the archipelagos. I once had a dao which was a Viet Nam bringback, and in researching similar designs on it I reached an anthropology professor who had written a book on the Hmong tribes of Montagnards. She then reached some of the tribal elders she was in contact with, who recognized the weapon from photos as 'one of theirs, actually even to a distinct region of Laos. They described some of these and other marks as having certain tribal identifiers and symbolism, however I felt uncertain of any deeper meaning. They did not see to signify makers or time period etc.

I am with you in these interests in markings etc. which are too often overlooked in the study of weapons. It seems like there were some notations in Cato's book but cannot recall. The best place to find more on these things is references on arts and crafts of the culture or regions being studied, as these authors often offer more depth from artistic perspective.
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