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Old 19th May 2017, 08:32 AM   #1
F. de Luzon
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Default Twist Core "18th Century" Moro Kris/Kalis

Iím sharing photos of a twist-core Moro kris/kalis that I recently repatriated to the Philippines. It had been part of the collection of a European gentleman who once lived in the islands and went back to his homeland, Austria in the 1980s.

Robert Cato in his book Moro Swords (1996) claimed that such design represented typical 18th century examples, and thus the moniker "archaic" Moro kris. There are also claims that the angle at the end of the dividing line that separate the blade and gangya is indicative of the age of the blade. However, both are unsubstantiated claims.

I do not dismiss their possibility and I hope that definitive evidence to prove the claims will eventually be discovered. At the moment however, all that is certain is that this is a rare example of the Moro kalis/kris.

Your comments and insights are most welcome.
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Last edited by F. de Luzon : 19th May 2017 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 19th May 2017, 11:26 AM   #2
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Hello Fernando,

Quote:
Iím sharing photos of a twist-core Moro Kris/Kalis that I recently repatriated to the Philippines. It had been part of the collection of a European gentleman who once lived in the islands and went back to his homeland, Austria in the 1980s.

I'm relieved to hear that this kris made it safely into the Philippines, finally! Did you got any info where and when this piece was picked up by the former owner?


Quote:
Robert Cato in his book Moro Swords (1996) claimed that such design represented typical 18th century examples, and thus the moniker "archaic" Moro kris. There are also claims that the angle at the end of the dividing line that separate the blade and gangya is indicative of the age of the blade. However, both are unsubstantiated claims.

Congrats, it definitely is a sweet twistcore kris! I'd definitely be tempted to etch it to enhance the pamor!

The extant examples seem to support the notion that the so-called archaic kalis were indeed among the very early types reaching (or being developed in) the Bangsamoro region. The exact time frame is still not established with a tendency to push it back in time, possibly the 17th century. However, it would be really great to establish some supporting evidence.


Quote:
I do not nonetheless discount their possibility and I hope that definitive evidence to prove the claims will eventually be discovered. At the moment all that is certain is that this is a rare example of the Moro kalis/kris.

Yes, it certainly is rare to see well-preserved, complete examples!

I have a hunch that your specimen is not one of the really early examples though and may originate from the 19th century: The angled separation line is longer than in the oldest pieces and also the decorative motifs at the base of the blade make me believe so; there seems to have been a revival of the archaic style (if it ever went of of fashion) during that period.

BTW, what are the dimensions of this piece?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 19th May 2017, 11:40 AM   #3
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Sorry, overlooked the specs you mentioned in the other thread:

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5 luk, 47.5 cm (18.75 inches) long blade. The total length of the blade and hilt is 59 cm (23.25 inches) and the wooden pommel is of the horse hoof motif.
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Old 19th May 2017, 03:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Hello Fernando,

I'm relieved to hear that this kris made it safely into the Philippines, finally! Did you got any info where and when this piece was picked up by the former owner?

Hello Kai!

It took longer than expected but I'm just happy that it was not lost in transit. Definitely worth the wait! The previous owner purchased it in the Philippines and brought it to Austria in the 1980s but that's all the information I received regarding its provenance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Congrats, it definitely is a sweet twistcore kris! I'd definitely be tempted to etch it to enhance the pamor!


Thank you! I'm very tempted to start etching already.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
The extant examples seem to support the notion that the so-called archaic kalis were indeed among the very early types reaching (or being developed in) the Bangsamoro region. The exact time frame is still not established with a tendency to push it back in time, possibly the 17th century. However, it would be really great to establish some supporting evidence.


I looked at primary sources/historical records and found an account where the kalis was observed in battle between Moros and Spaniards during the late 1500s. The earliest detailed description of the kalis is from the early 17th century. There are also others from succeeding years. However, the descriptions are very general and could refer to any Moro kris, whether "archaic" or supposed later styles.

It seems that this particular style was presumed to be an older design because of it's strong resemblance to the keris. Some keris and kris enthusiasts have treated it as a missing link to show the evolution of the Moro kris from the keris. However, such evolution is also an unsubstantiated claim. Again, I do not dismiss the possibility but I'm trying to find concrete evidence. For now, I am not ready to conclude anything except that this style, while typical for a Moro kris, is rare.

As always, thank you for your comments and insights!

Kind regards,

Fernando

Last edited by F. de Luzon : 19th May 2017 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 19th May 2017, 09:18 PM   #5
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very nice twistcore, Fernando! it appears that your collection is growing quite bit!
i love these type of twistcore: very subtle as oppose to the topographic type. i always wonder if this is indicative of the age. or perhaps it's just a particular style a panday preferred at that time. it's hard to say.
i have an archaic kris that was discussed before. it's not twistcore, but i believe it's an indicative of an older kris:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15955
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Old 20th May 2017, 12:15 AM   #6
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I agree with Spunger. I usually see this type of "feathered" twist core indicative of earlier kris. The technique seems to have been lost by the time of the early 20th century.

Also I would be cautious about the angle of the end of the ganga - I have seen older forms with that type of ganga before.

In any case, I too love this type of twist core and it will probably pop out after a good etch. Please post after etching pictures.
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Old 20th May 2017, 12:47 PM   #7
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Hello Fernando,

very nice piece! Like the others I would like to see pictures when you have etched the blade!

Regards,
Detlef

Last edited by Sajen : 21st May 2017 at 08:46 AM. Reason: Misspelling
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Old 20th May 2017, 03:27 PM   #8
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Hello Spunjer, Battara and Detlef!

Thank you for your remarks! I will post pictures as soon as possible.

Kind regards,

Fernando
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Old 20th May 2017, 05:07 PM   #9
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Great kris and great photos!Makes me want use it as wallpaper.
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Old 21st May 2017, 03:17 AM   #10
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Wouldn't that wall paper be bumpy?
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Old 26th May 2017, 07:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sakimori
Great kris and great photos!Makes me want use it as wallpaper.


Thanks for appreciating the kris and my photography skills Sakimori!
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Old 10th June 2017, 09:59 AM   #12
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Default Etched

Presenting the blade after etching.
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Last edited by F. de Luzon : 10th June 2017 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 11th June 2017, 12:48 AM   #13
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What great and well done twist core!

This kind is usually the best type and masterfully done. Also it is usually found on older blades (like this one for example).

Congratulations on a great piece!
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Old 11th June 2017, 06:48 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
What great and well done twist core!

This kind is usually the best type and masterfully done. Also it is usually found on older blades (like this one for example).

Congratulations on a great piece!


Thanks Battara! I was very lucky to have gotten this one.

Kind regards,

Fernando
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Old 11th June 2017, 06:59 AM   #15
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My goodness that's an attractive kris.
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Old 11th June 2017, 12:07 PM   #16
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Hello Fernando,

Quote:
Presenting the blade after etching.

Thanks a lot for the update and your efforts!

This really is a sweet kris! I am amazed how weak the contrast seems to be though - haven't seen such an example before. The twistcore is certainly done with iron alloys of different composition and it's kinda weird that the etch doesn't pick it up.

Did you do some gentle repolishing before the etch? Considering the somewhat blotchy appearance of the steel core (slorok in Jawa parlor), I believe there is a chance that the etch did not work properly, possibly due to incomplete degreasing and perhaps polishing up with a power tool at the hands of an earlier owner?

A perfect etch often needs several attempts. I agree that one wants to be very gentle with this beauty though!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 11th June 2017, 12:13 PM   #17
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Agree with Kai in all points! Very nice kris and a shame that the twisted area don't show more contrast after etching.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 11th June 2017, 03:54 PM   #18
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I have tried etching my blades using the same method vinegar and lemon and I got the same result as yours. Try using a stronger solution like PCB, it works just fine for me specially on those stubborn Barong patterns that are hard to etch, it might work on your beautiful 18th C Kris. I am attaching two of mine that was PCB etched. I the first one had a very grayish dull pattern with vinegar and lemon, when I switched to PCB it gave me the pattern that I was looking for. Good luck.
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Old 11th June 2017, 04:01 PM   #19
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I have one of these with the same pattern; some of you are using it as an avatar.
What chemical solution did you use to etch it?

I had a bit more success with ferric chloride (circuit board etchant) diluted with distilled water.
I used to get it at Radio Shack here in the states, but they are going, or have gone out of business.

I've always wondered if Stop Bath (used in B&W photography) would work; it's about the strongest solution of acetic acid that I know of.
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Old 11th June 2017, 04:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I've always wondered if Stop Bath (used in B&W photography) would work; it's about the strongest solution of acetic acid that I know of.

hmmm...and i'm a photographer and never actually considered that. Must do some experimenting.
BTW Fernando, i don't know if i have mentioned this before, but your photography skills are quite good. Are you a professional or just an advanced amateur?
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Old 11th June 2017, 04:50 PM   #21
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When I etched my 'archaic' kris I used cotton swabs to keep the etchant within the bounds of the engraving. This allowed me to concentrate my efforts on the center without darkening the edges too much.
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Old 11th June 2017, 05:09 PM   #22
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Hello Rick,

Quote:
I've always wondered if Stop Bath (used in B&W photography) would work; it's about the strongest solution of acetic acid that I know of.

You can buy glacial acetic acid which is close to 100% - quite nasty stuff, actually.

I believe I did try acetic acid concentrations well into the range of photographic stopping solutions for etching but did not observe any major effect of concentration on the final staining. Only the etching time gets shorter and shorter with increasing concentration and so does the risk of unnecessary corrosion: Thus, not preferable in my book...

Ferric chloride certainly is a stronger stain. However, it is essential to completely neutralize it after etching and also to rinse the blade extensively since any remaining chloride ions (i. e. salt after successful neutralisation) will result in new rust developing. With a porous blade like old twistcore both, effective neutralisation and rinsing, poses quite a challenge!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 11th June 2017, 05:13 PM   #23
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I don't think I've ever seen one of these old cores that really has a stark contrast that 'pops'.
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Old 11th June 2017, 06:29 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I don't think I've ever seen one of these old cores that really has a stark contrast that 'pops'.


Hello Rick,

but it should look like the from you or CCUAL shown examples, by all three blades the twist core is good to to seen.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 11th June 2017, 10:33 PM   #25
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I'm with Rick, with same results on my early twist cores.
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Old 12th June 2017, 03:57 AM   #26
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Thank you for your comments and suggestions, gentlemen!

Fernando
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Old 12th June 2017, 04:01 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
hmmm...and i'm a photographer and never actually considered that. Must do some experimenting.
BTW Fernando, i don't know if i have mentioned this before, but your photography skills are quite good. Are you a professional or just an advanced amateur?


Thank you, David! I am very flattered. I classify myself as an advanced amateur. I just love taking pictures.
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