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Old 24th March 2019, 04:32 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Default A Special Kampillan

In our collecting careers we have all had pieces that are so hard to find we assume they are just a distant dream, and while we hope to find them one day, we accept that we likely never will. Then, sometimes, almost like love, we find it when least expected!

Such is the case with this twistcore kampillan. I had hopes of a twistcore kampillan and barung one day being in my collection deeply repressed in my mind, realizing they were both unlikely to come to fruition. But, at Baltimore, this piece, bought by a friend, was hiding under a table until we both had a chance to look at it. I had seen the piece in photos but was not terribly impressed by the hilt, realizing, of course, this piece was really all about the blade. But in Baltimore when it came out from under the table the overhead lights seem to give the whole piece a Hollywood aura!!!. I was in love with it and felt very fortunate to have a chance to own it.

The hilt is far better than I had imagined, with a nice patina and decently carved. I think there is a chance it is younger than the blade, but not new or recent. The blade speaks for itself. The twistcore is not only superb but shows a very well controlled plan from a master blade forger.

Please enjoy the pics, though unfortunately, I have not done the kampillan justice.

...does this mean a twistcore barung is out there for me somewhere??!!


Dimensions:
Overall length: 39.5in.
Blade length: 29in.
Blade's widest point: 2in.
Attached Images
       

Last edited by CharlesS : 24th March 2019 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 24th March 2019, 05:05 PM   #2
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That is just stunning.
Best blade Iíve seen on a Kampilan. Congrats.
Twist core Kampilan and Barung are on my get list but are evading me. Hopefully a twist core Barung gets to you soon.
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Old 24th March 2019, 09:38 PM   #3
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Thanks for the kind post, Kino!
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Old 24th March 2019, 10:33 PM   #4
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Very beautiful!

Congratulations and enjoy it!
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Old 24th March 2019, 10:59 PM   #5
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Anyone who knows you will agree, Charles:
It could not have come to more appreciative or deserving hands. Congratulations
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Old 24th March 2019, 11:24 PM   #6
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Stunning! Congrats Charles.
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Old 25th March 2019, 12:24 AM   #7
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Wickedly gorgeous!
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Old 25th March 2019, 02:34 AM   #8
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Congrats Charles. Another truly wonderful piece for your collection. Excellent blade. It probably deserves to be in a museum.


Ian.
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Old 25th March 2019, 02:38 AM   #9
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Ok after I picked myself off the floor, I can now say W W!

I have seen some, but yours is the nicest and cleanest. In fact, it is similar to my smaller Bagobo blade in construction.
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Old 25th March 2019, 12:41 PM   #10
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Many thanks, guys. I am humbled to have the piece, and by your kind comments!
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Old 25th March 2019, 03:22 PM   #11
Jim McDougall
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While I of course join in the consensus that this is an incredibly beautiful blade on this kampilan,, I realize just how little is typically known of the history this weapon form by myself and perhaps many others not well versed in this field of study. It seems it is of course well established in the Philippines, but that it had wider distribution in Borneo and numbers of other regions.

Just how old is this form known to be? and do the blades vary in shape and of course as suggested here (in this type of metal) in character regionally?

I recall reading some time ago that Magellan was killed in the Philippines by warriors and while some narratives use nebulous terms such as 'scimitar' or 'cutlass' to describe the sword(s) used by them, it seems some accounts use the term 'kampilan'. Since this was in the 16th c. is this just a modern known term for 'sword' in the Philippines, or could this form have been in use that early?

While very much enjoying the beauty of this magnificent example of Charles' I cannot help but wonder more on the form itself.
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Old 25th March 2019, 04:11 PM   #12
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Jim,

For this info, I believe we would have to go to Spanish sources. I believe the Spanish may not have been quite as detail oriented about their conquered territories as some of the other European colonialists, but I may very well be wrong.

Are there detailed Spanish records on the Philippines regarding the terrain and the varied peoples? Perhaps someone on the forum knows.
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Old 25th March 2019, 06:08 PM   #13
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My understanding is the there were a variety of kampilan forms among different tribes in the Philippines, even a Tagalog variant. What these looked like, however, is a good question. I forget the name, but there are some Spanish codex miniature paintings have some folks with kampilans in their hands.
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Old 25th March 2019, 07:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
My understanding is the there were a variety of kampilan forms among different tribes in the Philippines, even a Tagalog variant. What these looked like, however, is a good question. I forget the name, but there are some Spanish codex miniature paintings have some folks with kampilans in their hands.



I think you're referring to the Boxer Codex or the Manila Manuscript, supposedly written around 1590. By the way that's one magnificent kampilan indeed.
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Old 25th March 2019, 08:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
...

Just how old is this form known to be? and do the blades vary in shape and of course as suggested here (in this type of metal) in character regionally?


I recall reading some time ago that Magellan was killed in the Philippines by warriors and while some narratives use nebulous terms such as 'scimitar' or 'cutlass' to describe the sword(s) used by them, it seems some accounts use the term 'kampilan'. Since this was in the 16th c. is this just a modern known term for 'sword' in the Philippines, or could this form have been in use that early?

While very much enjoying the beauty of this magnificent example of Charles' I cannot help but wonder more on the form itself.
Hi Jim:

Good questions! The kampilan as a weapon seems to go back some time. As you noted, Magellan is said to have been killed with a sword that some termed a kampilan.

The famous Maguindanao leader, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat (CE 1581-1671), is said to have been proficient with a kampilan and to have been instructed in the use of the kampilan and kalis martial arts by Rajah Buayan Silongang. Statues of Sultan Kudarat can be find in Manila and elsewhere in Luzon, and he is renowned widely for his strong leadership and resistance to Spanish influence during his time. All the statues I have seen show him with a kampilan, consistent with the historical narrative of him using this weapon.

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Old 25th March 2019, 08:31 PM   #16
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I believe this is the most famous of several statues of Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat. Looks like he is holding a kampillan in a carved scabbard. ...and I see a kriss hilt, but nothing else of it. It seems to be tucked in at a rather "uncomfortable" location!
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Old 25th March 2019, 09:24 PM   #17
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I think I recall a number of images of Philippine weapons in Spanish museums.

Has anyone done a study of the Spanish museum collections? Perhaps some sort of developmental timeline could be established?

Thanks,
Leif
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Old 26th March 2019, 01:23 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
In our collecting careers we have all had pieces that are so hard to find we assume they are just a distant dream, and while we hope to find them one day, we accept that we likely never will. Then, sometimes, almost like love, we find it when least expected!

Such is the case with this twistcore kampillan. I had hopes of a twistcore kampillan and barung one day being in my collection deeply repressed in my mind, realizing they were both unlikely to come to fruition. But, at Baltimore, this piece, bought by a friend, was hiding under a table until we both had a chance to look at it. I had seen the piece in photos but was not terribly impressed by the hilt, realizing, of course, this piece was really all about the blade. But in Baltimore when it came out from under the table the overhead lights seem to give the whole piece a Hollywood aura!!!. I was in love with it and felt very fortunate to have a chance to own it.

The hilt is far better than I had imagined, with a nice patina and decently carved. I think there is a chance it is younger than the blade, but not new or recent. The blade speaks for itself. The twistcore is not only superb but shows a very well controlled plan from a master blade forger.

Please enjoy the pics, though unfortunately, I have not done the kampillan justice.

...does this mean a twistcore barung is out there for me somewhere??!!


Dimensions:
Overall length: 39.5in.
Blade length: 29in.
Blade's widest point: 2in.




Indeed a beautiful Kampilan. Congrats.

How thick is the spine?
..it is visible that it has a hardened edge. Have you etched the twistcore portion of the blade?

I have 11 moro twistcore blades currently in my collection, this are thick and heavy weight blades. 10 krises 1 barong, all react to acid very quickly. Sold one twistcore barong yrs back, that to reacts to acid very quickly.

4 krisses on my previous collections (sold) did not react to acid at all.
I was told they were acid etched pattern.?
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Old 26th March 2019, 02:45 AM   #19
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Here is a kampilan with true twistedcore rod hammered and forged.
I am almost certain you can acid wash this with any kind and the twisted pattern will react to it.

Link attached:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...stcore+kampilan



another one owned by DaveS:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...light=twistcore



Mandau twistcore with another nice twistcore kampilan by VVV
-what intrigue me is the mandau twistcore pattern.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...borneo+kampilan

Last edited by CCUAL : 26th March 2019 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 26th March 2019, 11:41 PM   #20
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Oh by the way - Magellan was killed by an arrow, not a kampilan, although this is not to say kampilans were not used by Lapu Lapu and his people.
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Old 27th March 2019, 01:08 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Oh by the way - Magellan was killed by an arrow, not a kampilan, although this is not to say kampilans were not used by Lapu Lapu and his people.


According to Pigafetta's account, while Magellan was initially wounded by a bamboo spear, it is unclear what actually delivered the killing blow, though a hit with a sword more or less sealed his fate:

A native hurled a bamboo spear into the captain's face, but the latter immediately killed him with his lance, which he left in the native's body. Then, trying to lay hand on sword, he could draw it out but halfway, because he had been wounded in the arm with a bamboo spear. When the natives saw that, they all hurled themselves upon him. One of them wounded him on the left leg with a large cutlass, which resembles a scimitar, only being larger. That caused the captain to fall face downward, when immediately they rushed upon him with iron and bamboo spears and with their cutlasses, until they killed our mirror, our light, our comfort, and our true guide.
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Old 27th March 2019, 02:36 AM   #22
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I guess I misspoke. I was told by my father that he was hit with an arrow in the leg, which I guess may have been followed by a spear and a kampilan? Again kampilans were all over the islands. Most spears were often bamboo, sharpened and then fire hardened.
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Old 27th March 2019, 05:34 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I guess I misspoke. I was told by my father that he was hit with an arrow in the leg, which I guess may have been followed by a spear and a kampilan? Again kampilans were all over the islands. Most spears were often bamboo, sharpened and then fire hardened.


According to the full account of the battle of Mactan, Magellan was indeed hit by a poisoned arrow in the leg while in the middle of burning some houses down. It may have ultimately killed him, had he not been hacked down in the ensuing hand to hand combat.
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Old 7th April 2019, 11:45 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
My understanding is the there were a variety of kampilan forms among different tribes in the Philippines, even a Tagalog variant. What these looked like, however, is a good question. I forget the name, but there are some Spanish codex miniature paintings have some folks with kampilans in their hands.



Isn't the general consensus that Filipino non-muslim metal smiths were incapable of making longer weapons such as the kampilan or the panabas,
which is why they were only used farmer tools such as the bolo as opposed to swords that were mostly exclusive for fighting.
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Old 7th April 2019, 01:18 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaharlikaTimawa
Isn't the general consensus that Filipino non-muslim metal smiths were incapable of making longer weapons such as the kampilan or the panabas,
which is why they were only used farmer tools such as the bolo as opposed to swords that were mostly exclusive for fighting.


My apologies, am not aware of such a consensus...there are documented antique pinuti, sansibar, talibong, tabak, and minasbad that reach up to 30 inches blade length and more. Some of them are featured here somewhere. The longest non-kampilan traditional Filipino blade that I know of is the Ilokano talunasan. It has a 36-inch long blade.
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Old 7th April 2019, 01:34 PM   #26
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In the pics:

GM Giron with his family's antique Talunasan, blade length at 36 inches
A 100-year old Pinuti (Lawihan variant), blade length at 31 inches
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Old 7th April 2019, 07:31 PM   #27
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Some other very long Philippine non Muslim blades:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=tenegre

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=16947 This one is 77 cm long without scabbard
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Old 8th April 2019, 06:59 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xasterix
My apologies, am not aware of such a consensus...there are documented antique pinuti, sansibar, talibong, tabak, and minasbad that reach up to 30 inches blade length and more. Some of them are featured here somewhere. The longest non-kampilan traditional Filipino blade that I know of is the Ilokano talunasan. It has a 36-inch long blade.

What you say is undoubtably true over starting at some point in historic past, but my sense of what MaharlikaTimawa was questioning was whether they were capable of forging such swords at the time of Magellan. So showing an 100 year-old antique Talunasan from GM Giron family does not really answer the question of whether or not the blades that Magellan was finally hacked down with in 1521 were indeed kamplian. Does anyone have an evidence of kampilian that are actually THAT old. Not saying they didn't exist, but i have never seen the empirical evidence to support the claim.
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Old 9th April 2019, 12:35 AM   #29
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David I would like to see an example of any blade that far back. However, in a tropical environment plus age as you know, these are conditions that almost prohibit even Indonesian keris or any type of steel to exist. That being said, so far no kampilans but a couple of buried daggers from the 12th century are now on display in Filipino museums.
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Old 9th April 2019, 12:29 PM   #30
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This is a timely topic. I have just this week received a copy of Wilhelm Solheim's book on The Archaeology of Central Philippines* that described his PhD thesis work in the early 1950s. He draws on specimens he collected mainly from the Visayas and Palawan at that time, and those collected by Dr Carl Guthe of the University of Michigan in the 1920s, as well as material held in the National Museum, Manila in the late 1950s. The specimens are not dated and little is said about the age of the various examples he describes, but they appear to predate contact with Europeans.

Much of the discussion is devoted to pottery, and linking pottery styles between the various sites. There are, however, a number of iron items described, including spear heads, knives and swords. There are a couple of black and white plates that I will scan and post of these ancient weapons. The swords seem to be on the short side, much as we see in the Visayas today and in the last 100 or so years.

I had expected more about weapons when I purchased this book, but there is a disappointing lack of detail about the weapons and other iron items, with more attention directed to the pottery. Most of the blades appear to be well suited as tools, although there are several weapon-like pieces as well. One item stood out--it appears to be a keris.

More to come when I get to my scanner.

*Wilhelm G. Solheim, II. The Archaeology of Central Philippines. A Study Chiefly of the Iron Age and its Relationships. Monograph 10, National Institute of Science and Technology, Manila. Manila Bureau of Printing, 1964, 235 pp, 48 plates.


Here are the two plates of edged items published by Soldheim. They represent both edged tools and weapons. Subsequent work has attributed these items as coming from the 12th to 15th C. CE. The keris-like object is seen in Plate 47 (j). This item is in the Wurthe Collection, University of Michigan and migueldiaz previously posted a much better, more recent picture of this blade (here).


.
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Last edited by Ian : 15th April 2019 at 04:19 AM.
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