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Old 16th December 2012, 06:28 PM   #1
Nirghosa
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Default Maranao Barong

Thought I'd share a few pics of my Maranao Barung I picked up some time ago.
See if you can spot what is relatively unique about the tip.
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Old 16th December 2012, 07:38 PM   #2
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Interesting post WWII barong. Can you see signs of use? And have you tried to etch the blade?

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 16th December 2012, 09:05 PM   #3
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Interesting barung. I have a similar one I picked up years ago that was brought back from WWII by a serviceman engraved with his name and "Malabang Air Strip, Mindanao, P.I, April 17, 1945." Malabang is south of Lake Lanao and northwest of Cotobato so the Maranao attribution is most likely correct thought not a standard weapon among the Maranao (or Maguindanao for that matter.)

If your barung was made by the same craftsmen as mine, then I suspect that your blade has a double-edged tip
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Old 16th December 2012, 11:28 PM   #4
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Also what makes you say it is Maranao?
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Old 22nd December 2012, 04:45 PM   #5
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My apologies for the delay in replying. I have been laid low all week with what turned out to be Pneumonia. New experience that.

Signs of use? It was not pristine when I got it but did not need a major cleaning, just some TLC. The edge was fairly clean and just needed some fine tuning to take a tremendous edge. So not really a tourist piece per se.

I choose not to etch any of my collection as I prefer to cut with them on occasion anyway and prefer the unetched look.

Nope, it's not a double edged tip, something else.


My first answer was going to be Maranao? Because it is.
But the first reason would be the fabulous Okir carvings on the scabbard
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Old 22nd December 2012, 06:37 PM   #6
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Can you provide close ups of the okir please?
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Old 22nd December 2012, 08:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nirghosa
Signs of use? It was not pristine when I got it but did not need a major cleaning, just some TLC. The edge was fairly clean and just needed some fine tuning to take a tremendous edge. So not really a tourist piece per se.


Hope you feel well again! I have asked because I have had one from the same time frame where the signs of use has been minimal.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 22nd December 2012, 10:19 PM   #8
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Nirghosa,
I have no doubt about your Maranao attribution to your barung. It is that fabulous okir carving on the scabbard that gives it away. Maranao okir has a distinct look very similar to Sulu ukkil, however, because of the cultural, historical, and geographical differences between those people, Maranao okir has taken on that distinct look because of what it means to them and how it defines the Maranao. Sulu ukkil, on the other hand, has a certain look because, too, of their beliefs and history. Even among the Sulu tribes, Tausug ukkil looks different than Yakan ukkil though very simlar and differences are purely esoteric. However, a trained eye and one that knows the culural differences between the two tribes can readily differentiate the two. I am lucky to have friends that are Tausug, Maranao, Maguindanao, and Yakan. And those friends have given me valuable insight on their culture and beliefs which has helped me understand the differences between their decorative yet symbolic artwork we know as ukkil/okir.
For more insight I suggest your read Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa's book Ukkil: Visual Arts of the Sulu Archipelago.

As for your barung, I'm still quite curious to the tip you mention. From the photo it looks like it tapers quite dramatically viewed from the spine so I assumed it was double-edged like mine.

Enclosed are a couple of photos I took. The first was taken in Lanao with a few "barungs" in the foreground (just the hilts and scabbards.) Though the barung is primarily a Sulu weapon, the Maranao do make them, but not in the same manner as the Tausug, and primarily for tourist. Most people do not want to travel to Sulu so they market these barungs for them. Even though they are primarily for tourist and not pure collectors, the quality is still very good. But they still add their Maranao flair by their decorations and okir. The second photo is of a Maranao torogon endbeam I found in an antiques mart in Manila. Compare the okir with that and the okir of your barung and you will notice the similiarities.

Regards,

Bangkaya
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Old 23rd December 2012, 02:19 AM   #9
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Bangkaya,

Very helpful information on the Maranao making barong. News to most of us, thank you.


When it comes to okir, however, I disagree. I have studied and noted differences between Sulu and Maranao okir forms early in the 20th century back.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 05:24 AM   #10
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Battara,
As I said, the barung is not a traditional Maranao weapon. However, the Maranao are making them today to fill in a certain niche (i.e. tourist or non-classic sword collectors.) Finding a true Sulu barung being made today is very difficult even though they are still made today, but travel and cargo restrictions to Sulu make it near impossible. The Maranaos being in Mindanao have capitalized on this by making barungs as well as other Sulu weapons to fill this void and these swords can be found throughout the so called "antiques" markets from Aldevinco in Davao to Tiendensitas in Manila. And the quality of these blades are quite good even though they are not a true Sulu barung. Much better than the barongs made in Benguet and Baguio (which is another story.) Even so, Sulu barungs can be found in the Zamboanga markets, yet these are quite austere compared to those found in Jolo.

What is it that you disagree about with okir? My point was that Maranao okir was different than Sulu ukkil. I made that clear in my previous post. 30 years ago I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference, but after spending time in those areas and gaining valuable insight from the people of those different cultures, it becomes quite apparent. So unless you read my post wrong I made it clear that that Maranao okir is different than Sulu ukkil.

Regards,

Bangkaya
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Old 23rd December 2012, 06:55 PM   #11
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I guess I did read your post wrong then. My apologies then. I do agree with your last post. Again I think it is helpful to know that the Maranao are now making barongs. This explains what I have been seeing on eBay in recent years.
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Old 26th December 2012, 08:01 PM   #12
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As requested here is a close up of the Okir as well as a better shot of the tip.
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Old 26th December 2012, 09:29 PM   #13
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Thank you.

Yup - that's Maranao okir alright!
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Old 26th December 2012, 10:34 PM   #14
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...appears to have an armor piercing tip
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Old 28th December 2012, 06:29 AM   #15
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Just for comparison here is another Maranao barong, perhaps a little earlier than the above example:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...0493#post150493
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Old 29th December 2012, 04:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spunjer
...appears to have an armor piercing tip


It is difficult to capture in pictures but the spine follows a normal narrowing towards the tip but then gets wider again near the very tip.

Creates a much more neutral balance when swung.
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