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Old 8th February 2005, 02:13 AM   #1
LabanTayo
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Default Moro Pira for comment

Sorry the pics are bad. I'll get better ones once we get some sun.
Any comments on age and local. The blade is lamenated but still has the draw knife marks on it. The blade as you can see, has some impact damage to the edge. There's lots of blood rust on the blade. The spine of the blade at the Punto is 1/4" and tapers to the tip. The hilt is made of Carabao horn and the Punto is silver. Inside the Punto where there is usually pitch, its filled with a red and black cloth folded over many times. The scabbard is made of a light weight wood with peg holes on both sides.
Thanks,
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Old 8th February 2005, 02:39 AM   #2
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I was lucky enough to handle this Pira! It is totally awesom!!!!!

Congratulations!
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Old 8th February 2005, 02:50 AM   #3
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That's a very cool sword, Shelley. Thanks for sharing!

BTW, how long is it?
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Old 8th February 2005, 03:23 AM   #4
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thanks for comments bsmstar and andrew.

the blade is 18" and 26 1/2" overall.
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Old 8th February 2005, 04:55 AM   #5
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MOST OF THE PIRA I HAVE SEEN WITH THE HORN HANDLES HAVE BEEN MORE RECENT. YOURS APPEARS TO BE A GOOD OLD EXAMPLE WITH A HISTORY OF USE IN ITS INTENDED FUNCTION, WHICH IS HARD TO COME BY.
CONGRADULATIONS ON A VERY NICE PIRA
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Old 9th February 2005, 11:44 AM   #6
wilked aka Khun Deng
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Default locale and age

Just a novice in this field with a little bit of book learning (I know, it's a dangerous mix) Cato mentions that the older of the two handle styles is the simpler form without much beveling and a fairly steep angle (that's a match) and in the barung section it shows (fig 21) a similar handle on a Yakan barung noting that it is similar to their pira handle. Yours definately has the short ferrule mentioned found on older Yakan barungs also. That combined with the obvious age of the horn, faded and grain separation, I'd say it is Yakan (Zamboanga and Basilan I believe was their main area) and well over the century mark.
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Old 9th February 2005, 05:00 PM   #7
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Shelley, you got a nice sword that one doesn't see very often. Congratulations. I have posted both these images in the past, so I beg the forgiveness of oldtimers, but they do resemble yours stylistically. I believe they're 19th C or very early 20th C. Both have heavy blades, very thick just forward of the hilts. The top one has a delicate pattern of lamination and, if I recall correctly, the bottom example mainly shows a hardened edge after etching. Scabbards on these are not that common, a plus.




The second image is an old, hand colored photo of an individual ready to draw. If the image isn't flopped, the subject is left handed. It would certainly be a more interesting photo if the subject turned out to be female, but the more I look at the photo, the harder it is for me to form an opinion on the gender and age.

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Old 9th February 2005, 08:12 PM   #8
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manny, vandoo and wilked,
thanks for the info. i knew it might be Yakan, but was hoping to see if anyone knew of any other Moro ethnic groups that might use the Pira.
Age was the main thing I wanted to find out. I have a mid 20th century Pira, and I knew this one was older, but how much older? Are most of the examples seen like this from around the turn of the century, or is there a distinct quality that would state it as older (ie. short ferrule). Does the scabbard help state the age? does the way the hilt is more acute to the spine of the blade state its age? or maybe just the panday's/owners preference.

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Old 10th February 2005, 02:46 AM   #9
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Default Nice example

Definitely Yakan, as already mentioned.

A nice older example from the 19th C. judging by its appearance. Very hard to find the truly old ones, although pira in the older style are still being made. Most of the traditional style pira that we see are post-1920, according to my sources in Manila.

Cato says the pira is used almost exclusively by the Yakan, and my Filipino sources say the same thing.

Ian.
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Old 10th February 2005, 03:41 PM   #10
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For more specific information about age you might check with Cecil Quirino, note the acquistion dates of any examples you are lucky enough to find in museum collections or try to date any photographs/postcards which depict them. Some of the more well read members in PI history and literature may have seen refernces to them in a publication with a known date. There seem to be few enough older Pira around that I think you are looking for needles in a haystack.
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