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Old 16th July 2014, 04:07 AM   #1
Ian
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Talking Finally...Central Luzon origin

The style of hilt on this knife has bugged me for years as to where it comes from: polygonal small ferrule (in this case septagonal), often with a larger polygonal wooden ring above it that is attached to a "chunky" handle which finishes in a tapered end that might be representative of a snake's head. These are almost always full tang and peened over at the end of the hilt with a butt plate to secure the end of the tang.

There are many different types of blades with these hilts. Each one has seemed "hefty" in the hand, made for hard work, and would make a formidable weapon, even if they are designed mainly as working bolos.

The knife pictured here finished on eBay today. It has the clue to the origin of these knives with the name, "APA??T," at forte over two initials "EB." The fourth and fifth letters are indistinct and partly composed of a vertical line--the possibilities for each letter are "I" or "L." So the possible combinations are APAIIT, APAILT, APALIT, and APALLT. The most likely candidate seemed to be APALIT, but I googled all four and added the search term "Philippines."

APALIT was the only one to return any relevant hits. It is a town in Pampanga Province, part of Metro Manila and within 20 miles of the old Subic Bay and Clarke Air Force Base sites. This town has been a prominent center for cutlery since at least Revolutionary times, and Pampanga has links to the revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio who had family in the area.

Further research revealed a blog discussing a modern day panday and showed some rather poor pics of his workshop and him forging a bolo (see here).

I have yet to find who "EB" might be.
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Old 16th July 2014, 04:18 AM   #2
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Default Another one with the same style hilt

This one also finished at auction in the last two days. The hilts are very similar but the blades are clearly different. This one carries a date of 1959 on the wooden scabbard, and was probably a bring-back by a US serviceman stationed at Subic Bay or Clarke AFB. It has some letters at forte that are indistinguishable in these photos and I will post better pics after it arrives.
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Old 16th July 2014, 04:31 AM   #3
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Ian, here is another from Apalit made by "Castro and Son" that I have in my personal collection. The thread is located here http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ght=castro+sons I have a couple more in my collection and as you say they are heavy, well made and would make formidable weapons if needed. I believe that this one would definitely fall into the personal weapon class as I do not believe that it was ever meant to see fieldwork, unless it was on a battlefield. The others were brought back by returning servicemen after the war.

Best,
Robert
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Old 16th July 2014, 04:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert
Ian, here is another from Apalit made by "Castro and Son" that I have in my personal collection. The thread is located here http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ght=castro+sons I have a couple more in my collection and as you say they are heavy, well made and would make formidable weapons if needed. I believe that this one would definitely fall into the personal weapon class as I do not believe that it was ever meant to see fieldwork, unless it was on a battlefield. The others were brought back by returning servicemen after the war.

Best,
Robert
Robert:

Thank you for the response and interesting knife that you showed in the earlier thread. There seems to be a commonality with the ferrule and adjacent wooden polygonal rings, and the scabbards each have a wooden tongue that would aid in hanging them from a belt or tucked into the waist of pants.

Yours definitely appears to be a weapon from around the time of the Revolution. I'm not seeing any of the typical Katapunero symbols on the scabbard but the clenched fist on the hilt would fit with that period and later. Would not be surprised if this is an 1890s piece. Very nice knife.

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Old 16th July 2014, 05:17 AM   #5
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Ian, Thank you for your kind words on the one example that I posted. I have also noticed a couple of other things of interest on the pieces. The older examples that I have seen all have had a toe on the end of the scabbard and are always held together by the use of wires going through small holes bored through the scabbards while the scabbards on later examples (like the second one you have posted) are missing the toe and all have been held together by the use of small nails. All of the ones that I have been able to personally handle have always been very well made and meant for business. Is the first one you posted yours?

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Robert
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Old 16th July 2014, 12:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert
Ian, Thank you for your kind words on the one example that I posted. I have also noticed a couple of other things of interest on the pieces. The older examples that I have seen all have had a toe on the end of the scabbard and are always held together by the use of wires going through small holes bored through the scabbards while the scabbards on later examples (like the second one you have posted) are missing the toe and all have been held together by the use of small nails. All of the ones that I have been able to personally handle have always been very well made and meant for business. Is the first one you posted yours?

Best,
Robert
Thanks again. Very useful information Robert. Both of these are mine. I bought them in the last couple of days and should have them shortly for closer inspection.

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Old 16th July 2014, 02:35 PM   #7
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Wonderful, I'm glad that you won them both. One other thing I thought I would mention. Every one of these Apalit swords/bolos that I have seen have had this same drop point style of blade. Have you ever seen one that doesn't?

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Robert
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Old 16th July 2014, 06:28 PM   #8
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I also own one of this bolos but with some difference, the brass ferrule is round and the tang don't go through the hilt. I think it is a WWII area piece, the blade has seen use. Here some pictures.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 16th July 2014, 07:01 PM   #9
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Hello Detlef, As I cannot tell in the photos, how are the two halves of the scabbard held together? Your example is the first I have seen in this style with a short tang, all others I have seen had the longer through hilt tangs. The hilt on yours also looks to have a bulge in the center of the grip as well as a smooth round ferrule which are both something that I have not seen before. How thick is the blade next to the hilt, it looks to be a little thinner than the others I have encountered which were from 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick at that point. The scabbard does have the toe that I mentioned that I have only seen on earlier pre war pieces. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing your example as it gives me more to think over about these pieces.

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Robert
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Old 16th July 2014, 07:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert
Hello Detlef, As I cannot tell in the photos, how are the two halves of the scabbard held together? Your example is the first I have seen in this style with a short tang, all others I have seen had the longer through hilt tangs. The hilt on yours also looks to have a bulge in the center of the grip as well as a smooth round ferrule which are both something that I have not seen before. How thick is the blade next to the hilt, it looks to be a little thinner than the others I have encountered which were from 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick at that point. The scabbard does have the toe that I mentioned that I have only seen on earlier pre war pieces. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing your example as it gives me more to think over about these pieces.

Best,
Robert


Hello Robert,

good observations! The bulge in the center of the hilt is existing, the ferrule is round and the blade is 4 mm thick near the handle. The scabbard halves seems to be glued, there are no nails visible.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 16th July 2014, 07:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
I also own one of this bolos but with some difference, the brass ferrule is round and the tang don't go through the hilt. I think it is a WWII area piece, the blade has seen use. Here some pictures.

Regards,
Detlef
Thanks Detlef for showing your interesting older example. In answer to your question about the partial versus full tang, yes I have seen a couple of other examples with this arrangement. That's why I said "almost always full tang" in the original post here. Also, I have seen round ferrules before, although they tend to be less common than the polygonal ones. With regards to the number of sides on the ferrule, it is usually seven (matching the handle), but I have also seen six and (I think) eight.

I notice that your hilt has seven sides, so perhaps the panday ran out of seven-sided ferrules the day he was making this one and put on a round one instead.

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Old 16th July 2014, 08:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert
Wonderful, I'm glad that you won them both. One other thing I thought I would mention. Every one of these Apalit swords/bolos that I have seen have had this same drop point style of blade. Have you ever seen one that doesn't?

Best,
Robert
Robert, I have seen other blade forms but these looked very much like tools. I've seen a straight machete type of blade, as well as straight-sided choppers. In the link to the blog I gave below is a picture of recently made Apalit choppers that are quite different in form. Here is that picture. Notice how large the hilts are in the hands of this boy and girl. I have large hands, and these hilts more than accommodate my hand.
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Old 16th July 2014, 08:15 PM   #13
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Default One more thought about the scababrds shown so far

As I look at each of the three scabbards so far displayed here, I see that the same motif appears on all three. It is a semicircle with radiating lines that cut the semicircle into wedges. The two older ones also have circles segmented similarly by radial lines. My scabbard dated 1959 may well be the youngest of the three, and instead of a a triangular toe it has an upturned rounded tip.

Ian.

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Old 16th July 2014, 08:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
I notice that your hilt has seven sides, so perhaps the panday ran out of seven-sided ferrules the day he was making this one and put on a round one instead.


Maybe, who knows!
In this thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=luzon
post #14 is shown another nice example.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 16th July 2014, 11:43 PM   #15
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Interesting observations folks! Maraming Salamat to you all! Now I know: Pampangan.......
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Old 17th July 2014, 03:18 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Interesting observations folks! Maraming Salamat to you all! Now I know: Pampangan.......
Walang anuman Jose
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Old 17th July 2014, 06:00 PM   #17
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In looking for other examples I went through Artzi's old sales on Oriental Arms web site. Could only find one possible example (no. 11156) shown here:
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Old 17th July 2014, 06:44 PM   #18
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Hello Ian, It would be my opinion that with this particular blade style and the tooled leather scabbard that this piece is most likely from Batangas and not Pampanga like the others shown in this post. I am in the middle of moving my collection as my wife has graciously consented to my taking over an entire room dedicated solely for its display. As of now most of the items are still stored in boxes but I will try to find the other two examples, take photos and post them here.

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Old 17th July 2014, 06:58 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert
... this particular blade style and the tooled leather scabbard that this piece is most likely from Batangas and not Pampanga like the others shown in this post. ...
Yes, Robert, I agree that it could well be from Batangas. Hilts made of horn are quite common there, although the leather sheath and belt seem to have been fairly widespread in the late 19th/early 20th C. and one can find many different styles with such sheaths--"Negrito," Ilocano, etc.

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Old 17th July 2014, 07:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
In this thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=luzon
post #14 is shown another nice example.

Regards,
Detlef
Thanks Detlef.

Yes, another match. The hilt and ferrule are the same, the blade form is similar to several posted below, and the scabbard has the same semicircular motif with radiating lines.

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Old 17th July 2014, 07:45 PM   #21
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Ian, I agree that the leather scabbard and belts are found in many other location in the Philippines. Ilocos Norte would probably have been a better choice of where this last knife/sword was from. As yet I have never seen an older leather sheath that could be attributed to Apalit/Pampanga, only wooden ones.

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Old 17th July 2014, 08:03 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
In looking for other examples I went through Artzi's old sales on Oriental Arms web site. Could only find one possible example (no. 11156) shown here:


I am with Robert here, most probable a Batangas piece.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 1st May 2015, 11:00 AM   #23
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Here another nice old example sold recently by ebay.
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Old 17th June 2015, 06:46 AM   #24
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In doing a little more research about Apalit and swordmaking, I came across an article in a Filipino newspaper that describes the town as a center for swordmaking before and during the Spanish period.
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/104837...ies-to-pampanga

The article mentions that the Apalit area had a long history of weapons manufacturing and likely: "... forged cannons and other weapons for the pre-Spanish Kapampangan kingdoms."

The historian who wrote this piece also was looking for a sword called "Bartolome" that was supposed to have been used by Katipuneros under the command of Andres Bonifacio:
“... unlike the common sword, the blade of Bartolome is “wave-like,” owing to curves similar to the kris. ... We’re told by old swordsmiths that the favorite of Katipuneros were this Bartolome. Those Katipuneros belonged to the Magdiwang group that Bonifacio led ... A foot and a half in length, the Bartolome had long been out of production.”
Has anyone seen or heard about this "Bartolome" sword? A picture would be great.

Ian
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Old 18th June 2015, 12:36 AM   #25
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Great article and info Ian.

I have been wondering more about this piece here since the leather work on the sheath looks more Tagalog than anything else, as well as the horn carving. The blade is 2 feet long and wavy, not quite like that of Ilokano daggers.

Here is a link to my original post:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...t=ilocano+sword

What do you think? Could my piece be a "Bartolome"?
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Old 18th June 2015, 04:27 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
In doing a little more research about Apalit and swordmaking, I came across an article in a Filipino newspaper that describes the town as a center for swordmaking before and during the Spanish period.
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/104837...ies-to-pampanga

The article mentions that the Apalit area had a long history of weapons manufacturing and likely: "... forged cannons and other weapons for the pre-Spanish Kapampangan kingdoms."

The historian who wrote this piece also was looking for a sword called "Bartolome" that was supposed to have been used by Katipuneros under the command of Andres Bonifacio:
“... unlike the common sword, the blade of Bartolome is “wave-like,” owing to curves similar to the kris. ... We’re told by old swordsmiths that the favorite of Katipuneros were this Bartolome. Those Katipuneros belonged to the Magdiwang group that Bonifacio led ... A foot and a half in length, the Bartolome had long been out of production.”
Has anyone seen or heard about this "Bartolome" sword? A picture would be great.

Ian


Thanks for sharing the info Ian!
The Magdiwang chapter of the Katipunan were all from Noveleta Cavite, and they were the rival group of Aguinaldos Magdalo chapter(located in same Cavite province but in the town of Imus). When the 1896 Revolution broke out, Bonifacio left Manila and entered Cavite where he associated himself more with the Magdiwang group, which was headed by General Mariano Alvarez. Mariano also had a son named Santiago who was also a general. The Alvarezs were in-laws to Emilio Aguinaldo. General Santiago Alvarez was one of the few that kept a diary and detailed accounts about the Katipunan and the revolution, which by many is considered a excellent primary reference. I have General Santiagos book, but he does not give any account of the types of bolos they used. This is the first I am hearing about a wavey style blade with the name Bartolome...particularly with the Magdiwangs being from the Tagalog region, wavy blades were not common I believe.
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Old 18th June 2015, 05:10 AM   #27
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Just found this tid-bit of info on where the name Bartolome came from, it is named after Saint Bartholomew[same as Bartolome], which happened to be the patron Saint of Malabon(town located just north of Manila next to Caloocan). The Katipuneros of Malabon idolized the image because San Bartolome wielded a sword. But the sword he carries is not wavy. The image posted is from San Bartolome Church in Malabon City. This church was not destroyed during WWII, so I would believe this is the very statue that the Katipuneros looked at.

This is also information on the province of Pampangas town festivals, specifically Magalang.
16. SAN BARTOLOME APOSTOL (MAGALANG) Feast August 24; Preached in Asia Minor, northern India and martyred in Armenia where he was flayed alive and then beheaded-the basis for his patronage of tanners. A local knife called sangbartolome is named after him.


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Old 20th June 2015, 05:56 AM   #28
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Jose:

That is a wonderful Tagalog interpretation of a kris. I'm thinking First Republic period perhaps. The carving on the hilt is first class.

I don't know whether your example might be one of these mysterious Bartolome swords. It seems strange that we have not heard of it before and that more flambé Tagalog swords have not surfaced if this style was widely adopted by an important faction of the Katipuneros.

The reliability of the story is hard to assess and based on eye witness accounts of people who are no longer alive.

Ian.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Great article and info Ian.

I have been wondering more about this piece here since the leather work on the sheath looks more Tagalog than anything else, as well as the horn carving. The blade is 2 feet long and wavy, not quite like that of Ilokano daggers.

Here is a link to my original post:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...t=ilocano+sword

What do you think? Could my piece be a "Bartolome"?
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Old 20th June 2015, 06:16 AM   #29
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Thanks for the additional information. The sword of Sto Bartolome in the picture you show reminds me of the clipped point bolo that is sometimes referred to as a "Bonifacio." We have discussed this style previously on this forum and perhaps on the old UBB forum. Attached is an example.

Ian

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimasalang
Thanks for sharing the info Ian!
The Magdiwang chapter of the Katipunan were all from Noveleta Cavite, and they were the rival group of Aguinaldos Magdalo chapter(located in same Cavite province but in the town of Imus). When the 1896 Revolution broke out, Bonifacio left Manila and entered Cavite where he associated himself more with the Magdiwang group, which was headed by General Mariano Alvarez. Mariano also had a son named Santiago who was also a general. The Alvarezs were in-laws to Emilio Aguinaldo. General Santiago Alvarez was one of the few that kept a diary and detailed accounts about the Katipunan and the revolution, which by many is considered a excellent primary reference. I have General Santiagos book, but he does not give any account of the types of bolos they used. This is the first I am hearing about a wavey style blade with the name Bartolome...particularly with the Magdiwangs being from the Tagalog region, wavy blades were not common I believe.
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Old 30th September 2017, 08:29 PM   #30
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Default Can anyone give me insight/information on these?

My father had acquired this and several other blades throughout his tour in Vietnam. I know this was acquired in the Philippines. I have several others from Okinawa. I was curious if anyone had any information on this particular blade and the insignia. Thanks.
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