Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 26th August 2019, 03:49 AM   #1
S. Jamieson
Member
 
S. Jamieson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: California Central Coast
Posts: 3
Default Barong Research Recommendations?

Hello All,

I'm very excited to have bought my first antique/ethnographic arms, two barongs and a keris. I was not terribly familiar with these types of swords before, but I thought these were quite good-looking, so I went ahead and bought them, figuring that I could learn more afterwards.

So, what resources and literature would you recommend to research barongs? The library system in my area is pretty good, and I have access to a large university library, so I'd love to dive down this particular rabbit-hole.


(I've also just recently joined this forum, so I'm hoping to get a few posts under my belt to earn my way out of probation!)

Gratia vobis ago,
S. Jamieson.
S. Jamieson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th August 2019, 01:38 AM   #2
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Great Midwest
Posts: 5,879
Default

Welcome to the forums.
I don't know of that many good writer sources on barongs aside from Cato's Moro Sword and there is only very basic info there on these weapons.
I would recommend to post some images here and see what the gang has to say.
Post your keris over on the keris forum and we can talk.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th August 2019, 08:26 AM   #3
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 2,691
Default

Hi S. Jamieson,

Welcome to the Ethno Forum. As far as books on Moro weapons, you will find very few. The most comprehensive to date is "Moro Swords" by Robert Cato. This is now out of print, hard to find, and has become quite expensive. There are diverse views of Mr Cato and his book, but it does represent one person's attempt to describe in a somewhat systematic manner the common Moro weapons of the last 100–150 years. The best place to look for information, IMHO, is here on these forums. As David has said, you will find a number of well informed and helpful members here who will give you an honest appraisal of what you have and will share their expertise on the weapons, their origins, how to care for and repair them, etc. We never discuss prices (please make sure you read the Forum Rules at the top of the Forum Home Page). We also have policies concerning the posting of pictures of items, particularly if you ask for an identification/evaluation or wish an inscription to be translated. Again, please read the stickies and Forum Policies.

I look forward to seeing what you have.

Ian.

Last edited by Ian : 31st August 2019 at 03:56 AM. Reason: Typos
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2019, 04:54 AM   #4
S. Jamieson
Member
 
S. Jamieson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: California Central Coast
Posts: 3
Default

Thank you for your kind welcomes!

Thank you also for the recommendation. I'll see if I can get Robert Cato's book through the ILL system at the University. It's good to have somewhere to start.

I've attached some photos of the two barongs to this reply. I really do think that they are quite beautiful, and I hope that y'all enjoy them too! I'll see what I can do about getting the keris up on the other forum.

Gratia vobis ago,
S. Jamieson.
Attached Images
      
S. Jamieson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2019, 06:10 PM   #5
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,422
Smile

Welcome to the forum!

Both seem to be neat examples - dimensions and some more pics would be great!

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2019, 08:17 PM   #6
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 2,691
Default

Hi S.J.,

Two nice looking barung which appear to have some age. I think the second (smaller) is probably late 19th or early 20th C, and the larger one is probably a little later with a scabbard from about the mid-20th C. The blades show a nice laminated pattern.

It would be helpful to see the hilts in more detail to get a better idea of age.

Ian.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th September 2019, 10:06 PM   #7
Battara
EAAF Staff
 
Battara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,245
Default

I agree with Ian and will add that the first one seems to be Samal tribe. The second one needs to be flipped over and pictures taken of the from of the scabbard as well, though I am guessing from the profile it is Tausug tribe on Jolo Island.
Battara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th September 2019, 01:14 AM   #8
S. Jamieson
Member
 
S. Jamieson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: California Central Coast
Posts: 3
Default

I really appreciate the input. What are some of the indicators that y'all are looking for as you're making your estimates on their age and island origin?

The dimensions were provided by the gentleman who sold me the blades. The longer one is 28 inches overall, with a 20 & 1/2 inch blade which is 5/16th of inch thick at the base of the spine. The smaller one is 22 inches overall, 11 & 3/4 inches in the blade, and is a 1/4 inch thick at the base of the spine.

I've also added more images of the hilts. I'm quite happy to keep taking and uploading pictures to keep the discussion going.

-S. Jamieson
Attached Images
      
S. Jamieson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th September 2019, 09:30 AM   #9
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 2,691
Default

Hi S.J.

For the purposes of discussion, I'm going to call the first barung that you show in Post #4 of this thread, Barung A. This one has a hilt with a silver punto (ferrule) overlaid with woven strips of jute, and a small kakatua pommel with a very minimal "crest" arising from the rear of the hilt.

The second one will be Barung B. This one has a silver punto also (but no jute wraps) and has a larger kakatua hilt with a longer "beak" and larger flowing "crest." The carving on this pommel shows graceful lines and curves which one associates with more prestigious pieces such as a datu barung.

According to Cato, the more integrated, flowing style of kakatua hilt (Barung B) is older and was prevalent on hilts made before 1900, while the appearance of a crest erupting from the back of the hilt (Barung A) came somewhat later (maybe 1920 or so), with the two styles coexisting from the early 20th C. In my opinion, the older style never died out completely but became less common post WWII.

Despite the research done by Cato, the distinctions he described have been debated and not everyone agrees with his dating although I think the general idea he proposed is probably correct.

More contentious is the attribution of tribal origin based on hilt styles. some believe that the length of the silver punto is associated with the relative dominance of the tribes in the Sulu Archipelago, a longer punto being associated with the dominant tribe, which for much of the last 200 years has been the Tausug. Shorter punto might then be associated with Samal and Yakan groups. Other factors, such as the wealth of the owner, might also come into play so I'm not sure how much store one can place on the length of the punto as a determinant of tribal origin.

Another feature thought to reflect tribal origin is the angle made between the kakatua pommel and the rest of the hilt. Mention of this has been made already in this thread. The Tausug seem to favor about a 45 degree downward tilt of the pommel, while other groups such as the Samal and Yakan, seem to have a greater degree of tilt. Other forum members may be able to give you a more precise description of this feature, and indeed may have differing views.

There are other features of the hilt that warrant mention. A silver punto offers a rather slippery grip, especially when blood is present. The woven jute strips provide a better grip of the hilt and suggest to some observers that barung with such hilts were intended for, and actually used in, combat while the plain silver versions were more for show (although no less dangerous as a weapon).

Your Barung A shows wear and discoloration of the jute wraps, with a pattern indicating it was handled quite a bit. Compare the condition and color of the wraps closest to the blade with the more distal wraps. This one appears to have been a "user."

One last comment on the type of wood used for these hilts. A common material is banati wood which I think both of your examples show. This has an interesting grain and often exhibits chatoyance when polished or wet. I think the hilt of Barung B is looking dry and cracked. It would benefit from feeding with teak oil which may encourage some of the cracks to close. I would let the oil sit for a few days, then wipe off any excess before applying some wax, such as Renaissance Wax, which can be buffed with a cloth to a nice shine and will show off the grain well. I would also give the silver punto a gentle polish.

I'm going to leave it there for now and see what our other experts think.

Ian

Last edited by Ian : 13th September 2019 at 09:42 AM. Reason: Spelling
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th September 2019, 08:13 PM   #10
Battara
EAAF Staff
 
Battara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,245
Default

To my understanding is that the barong with the large "tail" is for a datu common usage.

Part of my basis for the other barong is not only the hilt, but also the style of the ukkil floral motif on the scabbard.
Battara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th September 2019, 09:24 PM   #11
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,633
Default

Guys, you wrote a great chapter for the Macao exhibition.
Why wouldn’t you get together and author a definitive ( for now) book about Moro weapons?

Cato’s book is almost unobtainable, few copies on bookfinder carry asking price $600-3,000.
A new and updated view with will be a hit. I shall definitely buy a volume even though it is not my area.

You can even make money.
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th September 2019, 11:13 PM   #12
Battara
EAAF Staff
 
Battara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,245
Default

$3000?!?!
Battara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th September 2019, 12:24 AM   #13
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,633
Default

Google bookfinder.com
Put author Cato
Put title Moro
Language English

Wait 5 seconds, then... feel free to faint
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th September 2019, 05:54 AM   #14
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 2,691
Default

Dang! I sold a mint copy in its original cellophane wrapper for only $400 a while back. Should have waited!
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th September 2019, 06:02 AM   #15
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 2,691
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Guys, you wrote a great chapter for the Macao exhibition.
Why wouldn’t you get together and author a definitive ( for now) book about Moro weapons?

Cato’s book is almost unobtainable, few copies on bookfinder carry asking price $600-3,000.
A new and updated view with will be a hit. I shall definitely buy a volume even though it is not my area.

You can even make money.
Thanks for the props Ariel, but I'm not sure that I want to put myself through the flogging that Cato got when he published his book. Might sound like neocolonialism to some if another white 'cano wrote about things pinoy. Perhaps it would be better to come from Filipino authors who understand the culture better. On the other hand, writing something here for Lee's static pages might be a possibility.


Ian
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 03:24 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.