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Old 9th April 2018, 12:49 PM   #1
Pinoy Blade Hunter
Join Date: May 2017
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Default moro pira elongated pommel for discussion

I have recently had a modern Pira Yakan commisioned, from a smith in southern Palawan Philippines.

The smith is said to be from a family of generations of smiths, coming from Mindanao and sailed to southern parts of Palawan (which is very near Mindanao).

The blade part is of the modern variation of the Pira, but the handle part is made like the older traditions, with the elongated pommel/ prong.

question: what was the elongated pommel's purpose, does anybody know? (the smiths do not know why anymore, and actually they have not done it in a very long time. we just requested them to do it in this build.
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Old 10th April 2018, 10:20 PM   #2
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Cato says that the elongated pommel was to protect the wrist from possibly disabling cuts.
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Old 11th April 2018, 07:56 AM   #3
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As you likely know, the pira was mainly a Yakan weapon. This elongated protrusion from the end of the hilt is peculiarly Yakan and has been noted on some kakatua barung hilts as well. I have yet to see it ascribed to a kris hilt, although there may be rare examples out there. I have heard of an example of this feature on a bangkung, but have not seen one.

Rick's comment accurately reflects Cato's opinion, and I don't know of any other authority who has commented on its purpose. An alternative view might be that this is simply a Yakan ornamentation that had no specific purpose, or at least no purpose in recent times.

Your exposure to local panday is more likely to lead to an answer than any source here. If your panday don't know, then that says a lot about the place of elongated hilts within the culture--simply a remnant of times past.

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Old 15th April 2018, 07:15 AM   #4
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In addition to wrist protection it makes canting the wrist awkward. I believe, like in kris/sundang with similar (but smaller) protrusions, it encourages a certain hand hold when cutting, likely the more ideal grip.

So it would seem to me the pira is not used with say a quick chop and flick of wrist - cause the handle forbids it, rather it has you keep the wrist more solid as you cut through - more slice worked into the cut from the arm/arm and body opposed to a quick chop from the wrist.
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