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Old 12th January 2017, 04:52 AM   #1
Green
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Default Kris with a repaired ganya?

I bought this kris from epray recently and the following pics are from the seller as I've not yet recieve it.The seller dated this kris as 1930 although some people I showed the pics to said it could have been somewhat later (early post WWII?) is 1930 reasonable?

I have several Qs that I hope some of you can give answers to . (Many thanks in advance).

1) The fitting of the gonjo to the blade looked very much as if it was repaired to me. See yellow arrows in one of the pic. The lines did not match.

This look to me as though the part of the ganya (circled red) was broken and reattached? Is this assumption correct?

2) I like the look of the markings on the blade. Is this typical markings/decorations specific to a particular tribe?

3) I was told that this type of marking is a later style and only occur in blades from early 20th century onwards. Is this true? meaning that we can date a blade based on absence/presence of this type of decoration?

4) What tribe produce this syle of blade?... check on old posts in this forum mentioned Sulu or Miguindanao. Which is it? or both tribes?
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Old 12th January 2017, 05:35 AM   #2
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Green, i don't believe that you actually have a separate gangya there. This is a kris from the latter part of the 20th Century (post WWII) and that is just an incised line in the blade meant to represent a gangya.
No, i would not say that you can date a blade based upon the absence or presence of this particular okir design. Not all blades carry such okir regardless of the age of the blade.
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Old 12th January 2017, 10:06 AM   #3
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Thank you David. I'll look closely at the ganya part when I recieve it, Looking at the pic again I think you are right.

A follow up Q is this. Do all 19th century or earlier blades have separate ganja ? And all blades without a separate ganja are of later make (20th century)?
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Old 12th January 2017, 11:50 AM   #4
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Hello Nik,

Please add dimensions for your new toy! When you receive it, please check the materials utilized for the ferrule (white brass or brass?) and the clamps (aluminium or white brass?)!


Quote:
The seller dated this kris as 1930 although some people I showed the pics to said it could have been somewhat later (early post WWII?) is 1930 reasonable?

Well, the seller apparently relies on Cato (who argues for a date of "circa 1930 and later" for kris with integral gangya) and is a tad optimistic...

Of course, there never was a pan-Moro conference in late 1929 which decreed that from 1930 on kris were forbidden to have a separate gangya (even if there had been such a conference, I bet there would have been more than a few Moro panday happy to ignore any order of the day... )

We know that some kris with integral gangya do already show up earlier (from about the turn of the 19th century or possibly even a few years earlier). There is also convincing evidence that at least in some parts of the Sulu archipelago the production of kris with separate gangya never really ceased. On Mindanao production of kris with separate gangya started again in the (very?) late 20th century; I don't have any exact dates but it seems to coincide with increased demand for blades of somewhat higher quality (probably from the global antique market and, especially, ePrey). Most "antique" kris coming out of the Philippines in those days were old blades with replaced/upgraded fittings to raise a higher price; however, as supply of old blades waned, new production set in - most of these were artificially aged and sold as "old."

Despite these more general disclaimers, the shift from usually separate gangya to almost universal integral gangya seems to have been astonishingly fast on Mindanao, so Cato's rule of thumb of kris with separate gangya being pre-1930 held quite well for Maranao and Maguindanao pieces when the book was written.

However, one really needs to take a close look on a given kris and keep the whole picture in mind when trying to place and date it.


Quote:
1) The fitting of the gonjo to the blade looked very much as if it was repaired to me. See yellow arrows in one of the pic. The lines did not match.

This look to me as though the part of the ganya (circled red) was broken and reattached? Is this assumption correct?

I don't see any hints suggesting a reattached tail end of the gangya: The typical gangya line (lower arrow) is just engraved and the upper arrow points to a forging flaw.


Quote:
2) I like the look of the markings on the blade. Is this typical markings/decorations specific to a particular tribe?

3) I was told that this type of marking is a later style and only occur in blades from early 20th century onwards. Is this true? meaning that we can date a blade based on absence/presence of this type of decoration?

That's a tough one, especially if you try to define "this type of marking" as there are certainly different motifs, styles, and many levels of quality/workmanship.

The motif at the fullers is an old, traditional one and reasonably well done. OTOH, the lines at the base of the blade and the scroll work on the whole gangya area are rather poorly done. On Mindanao, a similar blade would definitely be post-1930; OTOH, workmanship around WW2 until quite some time after was often of much worse quality.


Quote:
4) What tribe produce this syle of blade?... check on old posts in this forum mentioned Sulu or Miguindanao.

We can firmly place this kris in the Sulu archipelago: fittings are typical and I'd also argue that the blade is of local production.

Considering that blacksmithing traditions continued in a more conservative fashion in the Sulu archipelago, I'd estimate this blade to be from the WW2 period at the earliest based on the workmanship as discussed above and its stocky proportions; it could well be even considerably younger as a "worst case" scenario. However, the well-done fuller would make me lean towards an earlier period within the given time frame.

Looking at the fittings, I'd posit that the scabbard as well as the pommel does show some genuine age and decent workmanship (the grip braiding is traditionally done but doesn't show any wear and might be a later replacement). Thus, WW2 might be a reasonable guesstimate. Mind you, this is juggling with probabilities! It certainly is a nice example of a more modern kris and I'd certainly try etching it to bring out the laminations.

BTW, note that there are several ethnic Moro groups within the realm of the Sulu Sultanate (Tausug, Samal, Yakan, etc.). I don't think we have enough data to try placing non-antique kris to any specific group though.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 12th January 2017, 01:25 PM   #5
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Many thanks Kai for the comments and explanations.

If there ever was a pan Moro conf in 1920s that wouldn't last for more than ten minutes as I'd guess they'd start slashing each other with various sub species of kris before they even began discussing separate or integral ganya.

I'll try to give more info when I recieve the 'new' toy and it may take sometimes if the custom people get into their head to witheld it before I get the permit ready.

As to the dimension the seller put it at 67cm (26.25 inches) and weight 1 kg.

Nik
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Old 13th January 2017, 12:05 AM   #6
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So far I will agree that this is not a separate ganga, and that this is Sulu.

Based on the style of okir, ron do at the back of the ganga, and the way the blade as made just before the ganga, I would even place this in the 1960s. I have seen and even owned one just like this with provenance of the 1960s.

Kai, I would like to see your research and references regarding the Mindanao production of early kris without separate gangas.
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Old 13th January 2017, 02:14 AM   #7
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While i would agree with Kai that you can indeed find kris pre-1930 that do not have a separate gangya and kris post-1930 that do have separate gangya i will still maintain my position that this kris is at least post-WWII and could, as Josť has suggested, be as recent as the 1960s. One must always look beyond Cato's "rules" for dating at the approach and quality. Though i have seen numerous post-WWII kris that are wonderfully forged we do see a general decline during this period. Obviously we can also find older kris that are poor quality. So i would say that it is not the quality level per se that helps us date a kris as much as the actual approach and look of that bad execution, if that makes any sense. This looks like a nice effort on a later production kris to my eyes.
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Old 13th January 2017, 10:55 AM   #8
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A couple more questions:

here's the other side of scabbard with mother of pearl (?) decoration (two pieces missing. Is this kind of scabbard typical of mid 20th century style and possibly original to the blade ?.

The top part of the scabbard did not have rattan(?) bindings. For a complete scabbard, does the binding continue up or this part is decorated in some other fashion?
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Old 13th January 2017, 05:36 PM   #9
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Hello Nik,

Why did you hide this from us?

Quite nice carving!


Quote:
here's the other side of scabbard with mother of pearl (?) decoration (two pieces missing. Is this kind of scabbard typical of mid 20th century style and possibly original to the blade ?.

This scabbard type is 20th century but doesn't help much in narrowing things down for this kris, I guess.


Quote:
The top part of the scabbard did not have rattan(?) bindings. For a complete scabbard, does the binding continue up or this part is decorated in some other fashion?

Judging from the patina of the wood, I'd guess that the rattan was covering it fully.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 13th January 2017, 05:38 PM   #10
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Hello David,

Quote:
This looks like a nice effort on a later production kris to my eyes.

Looks like we're on the same page...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 13th January 2017, 05:47 PM   #11
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Hello Jose,

Quote:
I have seen and even owned one just like this with provenance of the 1960s.

Works for me. Did the provenance establish production in the 60s? If so, where did it originate from?


Quote:
Kai, I would like to see your research and references regarding the Mindanao production of early kris without separate gangas.

No research yet, at least not conclusive enough for publication.

I'll try to post a few examples later.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 14th January 2017, 12:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Works for me. Did the provenance establish production in the 60s? If so, where did it originate from?

Good question Kai. Yes it actually did establish 1960s production from Sulu/Jolo Island.

Also the scabbard was similar to this scabbard. And Green, the missing pieces were mother-of-pearl, like the other pieces.
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Old 14th January 2017, 01:51 AM   #13
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Many thanks all for a very good and clear explanation!
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Old 14th January 2017, 03:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green
A couple more questions:


.... The top part of the scabbard did not have rattan(?) bindings. For a complete scabbard, does the binding continue up or this part is decorated in some other fashion?


Hello! What's missing is a piece of cloth wrapped around the top of the sheath just below the crosspiece. I've been told that inside it is a piece of paper inscribed with holy verses. It is meant to serve as a talisman (anting-anting). Attached is an example from my collection showing a similar scabbard with the wrapping.

F de Luzon
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Old 15th January 2017, 12:06 AM   #15
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The cloth also serves a practical purpose. It can protect your hand from injury.

The two sides of the scabbard are made of thin pieces of wood, bound together by rattan/nito vine. Over time, the rattan/nito becomes frail and can easily break when the sword is drawn. I've heard of several cases of palms and fingers being cut by the blade as a result of the forceful removal of the sword from this kind of scabbard. This can happen when the blade becomes rusty and difficult to draw out. Always exercise caution especially if the sword fits tightly in the scabbard.

The cloth is wrapped several times around the sheath. It is thus thicker than the rattan/nito. Your hand will be safer holding the scabbard by the cloth when drawing the sword rather than by the rattan/nito. That is on the assumption that the cloth is strong, bound thickly and tight.

Again, always exercise extra caution when drawing the sword from this kind of scabbard.

Here are some more examples for your reference.
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Last edited by F. de Luzon : 15th January 2017 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 15th January 2017, 03:09 AM   #16
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Hello Nik,
here's another pretty recent kalis you can compare yours with:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=kalis
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Old 21st January 2017, 09:31 AM   #17
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Ron; Thanks for the link.

F de Luzon;

Good idea about wraping up with cloth on the top part of the scabbard where the rattan bainding is now missing. But I believe the scabbard has the rattan all the way up to the cross piece originally.

I have people here that do rattan works (for chairs and such) who can easily put new rattan binding at this missing part - although I'm very sure they can not replicate the original exactly. The original looks v brittle now and was protected by previous owner with transparent tape which is peeling off now. I'm not sure if I should do this (new rattan binding for missing part) or just use cloth binding which is a lot easier or leave the thing as it is.

****

I recieved the kris last week (see pics with purplish mat background). The cross piece decoration is very similar to some barongs. I did a little bit of amateurish cleaning with vineger (see pics with red background) . The blade showed 'pamor' and laminated(?). Is this usual for Kris? the okir look quite nice to me.
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Old 21st January 2017, 05:17 PM   #18
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de Luzon:

Are these all yours? Or might they come from a certain shop in Ermita owned by Mr. Ven?

Ian.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F. de Luzon
The cloth also serves a practical purpose. It can protect your hand from injury.

The two sides of the scabbard are made of thin pieces of wood, bound together by rattan/nito vine. Over time, the rattan/nito becomes frail and can easily break when the sword is drawn. I've heard of several cases of palms and fingers being cut by the blade as a result of the forceful removal of the sword from this kind of scabbard. This can happen when the blade becomes rusty and difficult to draw out. Always exercise caution especially if the sword fits tightly in the scabbard.

The cloth is wrapped several times around the sheath. It is thus thicker than the rattan/nito. Your hand will be safer holding the scabbard by the cloth when drawing the sword rather than by the rattan/nito. That is on the assumption that the cloth is strong, bound thickly and tight.

Again, always exercise extra caution when drawing the sword from this kind of scabbard.

Here are some more examples for your reference.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 03:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
de Luzon:

Are these all yours? Or might they come from a certain shop in Ermita owned by Mr. Ven?

Ian.


Hello Ian, Only the one in the first photograph is mine. The second picture shows krises on display at that particular shop. I did not provide attribution to avoid violating forum rules.

F. de Luzon
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Old 23rd January 2017, 04:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green
Ron; Thanks for the link.

F de Luzon;

Good idea about wraping up with cloth on the top part of the scabbard where the rattan bainding is now missing. But I believe the scabbard has the rattan all the way up to the cross piece originally.

I have people here that do rattan works (for chairs and such) who can easily put new rattan binding at this missing part - although I'm very sure they can not replicate the original exactly. The original looks v brittle now and was protected by previous owner with transparent tape which is peeling off now. I'm not sure if I should do this (new rattan binding for missing part) or just use cloth binding which is a lot easier or leave the thing as it is.
.



Hi Green,

Be very careful when drawing the kris from the scabbard if the binding is brittle. I've heard of several accidents when this type of scabbard splits.

F. de Luzon
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Old 24th January 2017, 08:41 PM   #21
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That cleaned up nicely Green. What your post-cleaned kris shows is indeed lamination, not pamor. Have you determined if the fittings are aluminum or some other kind of white metal. They look less like aluminum in the after cleaned photos. If they are not aluminum i'd say it is more likely the kris is a little older than i first thought, perhaps around WWII era. Shame about the missing MOP. It would be nice to replace them, but it would be difficult to match the designed pieces properly.
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Old 25th January 2017, 02:47 AM   #22
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Thanks David;

Not sure what you mean by fittings, but the baca baca was not made from aluminium. the metal is coppery in color and you can see green precipitates/stain still uncleaned in the pic which indicate that it is some form of copper alloy?

However at the base of the baca baca I guess previous owner added little clamps to tighten the baca baca I guess(?) and these pieces look like aluminium.
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