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Old 11th October 2012, 10:38 PM   #1
Robert
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Default Bolo Re-Hash

I'm bringing up the discussion on this bolo in a new thread in hopes that some of our member who never saw the original post or maybe some of our newer members might have some new ideas of where and when this bolo was produced. I think that the pictures below are a little better than any of the ones previously posted and hope that they might better help in the identification of this piece. Any and all thoughts or information on this bolo would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Robert
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Old 12th October 2012, 02:42 AM   #2
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Hello Robert,
Your bolo seems to be an amalgamation of two cultures different Filipino ethnic groups. The sword and scabbard looks to be Waray in origin although with an usual blade form either from Leyte or Samar. The monkey skull and rattan binding comes from northern Luzon and is usually found on those tourist pinahigs of the Igorots. You'll notice that the skull and the binding is much darker since they smoke them under a fire to get them darker. It seems that someone put those together for some reason or another. I've never seen a Waray sword adorned with a monkey skull before. Interesting though.

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Bangkaya
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Old 12th October 2012, 02:50 AM   #3
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Not my area of expertise at all but the money skull reminds me of some of the few Naga items i've owned over the years.
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Old 12th October 2012, 11:25 AM   #4
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My suggestion would be; loose the monkeyskull (which is certainly added later to make the 'nukky old dusty sword' a bit more saleable).
The shape of the sword is a visayan type (Panay/Negros isld), though the scabbard and handle do tend me to believe its more from the mainland; Bicolregion or more south. As they are bit more unusual and different shaped than most I've seen.
Nice good old piece anyway. Like that curve-ending of the scabbard. All honest (except the skull); to my humble opinion quite an oldy; 1890- 1920's

Hope it helps. Greets

b.t.w that "doorknob" below the protuding wood band on the scabbard would once have been connected by means of a wood 'bridge' (hence the splinter off the band) under which a textile band would slip to wear the sword on the hips.
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Old 13th October 2012, 06:01 AM   #5
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Hello Wouter, And thank you very much for your reply and thoughts on this bolo. I will probably remove the skull from the scabbard in the next few days as it seems to be the one thing that everyone is in agreement on. It will more than likely look better sitting on a shelf by itself than attached to the scabbard anyway. I am still hoping that others will share their ideas on this item as well. Again, my thanks to you for your help.


Regards,
Robert
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Old 13th October 2012, 09:31 AM   #6
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Hello Robert,

I still remember the original ebay auction and the first thread. I don't think that the seller attached the skull to the scabbard and the binding look old and worn so it is maybe from the original owner. I personally wouln'd remove the skull. Have a look under the binding if you can see patina under the binding. When not is the skull already long with the scabbard.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 13th October 2012, 11:53 AM   #7
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Robert, yes would also like to see someone else (knowledgable) to confirm it is from Bicol/south Luzon or another region.
I do believe it is a rare piece as it(IF from there) was populated not by much folk. Also the shape reminds me more of pirate pieces. And this is not romanticising as there was a body of piratefolk, I believed called 'Malolos', swarming around the islands originating from South Luzon.

"Someone" has attached the skull and the other threads around the scabbard to hold the two halfs together. Originally the two parts of the scabbard would have been hold together by some more (narrow)woven rattan bands. When you take a better look at your scabbard you will see the lighter strokes where the rattan bands would have been; I have gently marked the strokes with red dots along for indication -V-.
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Old 13th October 2012, 12:13 PM   #8
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Here the link from the first thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1147
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Old 13th October 2012, 04:24 PM   #9
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Bangkaya, I am most sorry for not responding to your post earlier but for some reason what you wrote in response to my questions on this bolo DID NOT appear until this morning??? Why this happened I do not know. Would you by chance have any pictures of Waray swords that you could post for comparison as I do not believe that I have ever seen one identified as such. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge on this subject and I am looking forward to any other information that you might be able to offer.


Wouter, This is from Wikipedia "The Waray are an ethno-liguistic group of people geographically inhabiting in the islands of Samar, Leyte and Biliran - commonly referred to as the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines. The Waray, speak their native language called Waray-Waray. Waray people inhabit in the whole island of Samar and they are called Samareños while in the island of Leyte they are called Leyteños. In Leyte island, Waray people occupy only in the northern part of the island as it is divided by a mountain range in the middle of the island. Hence, the language division between the Waray-Waray speaking people in the northern part and the Cebuano speaking people in the southern part. In the island of Biliran, Waray-Waray speaking people lives on the eastern part of the island facing the island of Samar. They are commonly referred in Waray-Waray term as Biliranon. In the island of Ticao which belongs to the province of Masbate in the Bicol region, Waray-Waray speaking people lives in most parts of the island. They are commonly referred to as Ticaonon. However, the Ticaonon have their affinity with the Bicolano speaking people of Masbate island as it is their home province. Bicol and Waray-Waray languages have a lot of similarities in vocabularies as compared to Cebuano language." and if Bangkaya is correct in that it is of Waray origin it also confirms your suggestion that it is from the Bicol region. Though I cannot find any information on the 'Malolos' pirates I have found some on the Iranun pirates who seemed to enjoy raiding the coastal towns of Southern Luzon. I've always wanted a pirate sword.

Detlef, I have looked under the skull and binding as you have suggested and found that the patina is smooth with no change in color from the rest of the scabbard where the skull is attached. I too have always liked the skull but if it is not something that would be normally seen on this style of bolo and is as Bangkaya has suggested from a completely different Filipino ethnic group I agree that it should be removed and be displayed separately. Thank you all again for your help with this item and I look forward to any and all information that can be added to what has already been posted.


Regards,
Robert
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Old 13th October 2012, 09:28 PM   #10
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Sorry Robert,
As I am new here my replies are not posted until they are reviewed by a moderator. Until I reach a certain number of posts or time, I don't have the privileges of a full member that can respond quickly. I apologize for being the neophyte here. And thank you, Sajen, for posting the original thread.

I still believe that Robert's sword is of a Waray origin. After looking at the pictures more closely on this thread and the original thread. Nothing on the sword points to a Panay or Negros origin. Even though the hilt has a figural carved pommel, stylistically it isn't consistent with a tinegre hilt of Panay. Nor does the scabbard have any similarities to scabbards in Panay. With the exception of the unique Ilonggo scabbard with its leather wrapped throat, all other scabbards from Aklan, Capiz, and Antique have flat scabbards with the exception of the hanger block. Also, rattan bindings on swords of Panay are wrapped, not braided. It does resemble the inaso (aso=dog) hilt of Bicol, but if it was from Bicol the tang would normally be peened at the end. Bikolano swords also almost always has a ferrule made of metal. And their scabbards are normally bound with metal strips as well although I've seen plainer examples with rattan binding. Bikolano scabbards also normally have an enlarged flared toe similar to a barung scabbard. The blade is also rather unique and not typical of a Bikolano minasbad, dinahong-palay, or sinampalok.

A Waray sword on the other hand typically has the hilt attached with pitch or glue and not peened on the end like a Bikolano sword. They normally don't have a ferrule of any sort and if it did it was usually braided rattan. Their pommels also have the greatest latitude for variances from the plain knob hilt to the more traditional tri-corn floral design found on the large fighting garabs of the Pulajan found on Samar and Leyte. Figural hilts are common with faces of dogs, monkeys, people, etc. and even the dragon hilt varieties found on some modern sansibars. The blade itself is unique, but any sort of blade shape can be made to order by any panday for the original owner. Blades are either straight (sundang) or curved (garab.) Typically a garab is more crescent shaped but this would fall into the garab category. The scabbard also looks more typically Waray with its braided rattan wrap, but more importantly how the hanger block grows out organically from the scabbard, unlike the hanger block from a Panay sword that looks like it was placed there and is separate. It's also more ovoid in profile with a raised cemter section usually found on larger Waray swords.

The monkey skull? Again look at the patina difference and the way the rattan is braided on it. That's more of an Igorot style. And it looks like it was smoked to get it to that color which I've seen on those pinahigs from that area of N. Luzon. It also looks like it was bound with twine to the scabbard and the same twine was used to bind it as well where the original rattan was lost or broken off.

Finally, look at the similarity of the carving and the style of the sword that migueldiaz posted on the last post of the original thread. That is a typical garab from Leyte or Samar. Sometimes they are called "talibons" but I can't confirm validity of that namesake. You see a lot of those as bring-backs from WWII, some even with "Victory 1945", written on the scabbards mainly because MacArthur and the U.S. invasion force landed first on Leyte or the re-liberation of the islands.

Hopefully, this helps if not confused you anymore.

Regards,
Bangkaya
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Old 15th October 2012, 08:37 PM   #11
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Salamat po Bankaya!
the very interesting info you wrote is exactly the reason why am a member of this forum. You do seem to know a lot. Personally am actually more an expert on igorot-tribes.
Cant remember I ever heard of the tribe Waray waray before, so thats quite intreguing. It may be sure you are wright about Bicol swords more likely to have metal ferrules at the handle. As I do know a bit about Visayan tribes n cultures as well I thought to place it there as it didnt look to be from the usual island-swords one sees (like the talibongs you mention).

Have thought hard about where I/we/one could perhaps find a similar example sword as from Robert or a pic of a tribesman wearing one, but really cannot think of a source (not in Krieger, not in pics of Spanish museums, not in National Geogr.Worcester example etc). Hmm no wonder I didnt know about the Waray! But it is still in my mind and am trying hard to find such a pic.

b.t.w. isnt 'bankaya' the name of one of those boats one uses with an attached sidepole? Ah mis the Philippines . . . .
Thanks so much for sharing your info.
Wouter
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Old 15th October 2012, 10:17 PM   #12
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Thank you as well Bangkaya! Very intersting what you write. Glad that you find to our forum!

Best,

Detlef
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