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Old 8th October 2015, 12:08 PM   #1
Aslan Paladin
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Default Unusual Hybrid Moro-Visayan Tenegre Sword?

Greetings gentlemen,

I am a long-time lurker who has just recently decided to join in as a member and this is my first post. I have been collecting Islamic arms and armor since 2011 and have amassed a modest collection.

I have obtained early this year a sword which I think is a tenegre but with a silver ferrule which is usually seen in barongs. It also has an intricately detailed and unusually realistic dragon or sea monster hilt (bakunawa?) made of water buffalo horn. The over-all length of the sword is about 32 inches with a blade length of 25 inches ending in a clipped point. The spine of the blade measures 1 cm. at its thickest point. I could also see some linear lamination patterns on the blade. The blade is seated into its hilt with what appears to be brown pitch or resin. I would like to ask your opinion as to its probable age and whether it is an all original assembled sword or a sword that has had a later marriage of different parts. The attached images are from the auction site where I purchased the sword.
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Last edited by Aslan Paladin; 9th October 2015 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 8th October 2015, 02:59 PM   #2
fernando
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Welcome to forum Aslan .
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Old 8th October 2015, 04:01 PM   #3
Ian
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Hello Asian Paladin:

welcome to the Forum.

That is a very interesting and unusual sword you show. It is quite atypical in form and design of Moro or Visayan swords and I'm thinking it may be from Sumatra.

The blade shape might suggest a kalasan , although the clipped point is uncommon. The carved pommel appears to be a makara, a mythical creature, and is consistent with an Indonesian origin. You can see examples of several types of Sumatran swords, such as the balato and kalasan, in Albert van Zonneveld's book, Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago, p. 29 (balato) and p. 59 (kalasan). Also, try searching this web site for further examples.

Ian.

Attached is a picture of the makara


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Last edited by Ian; 8th October 2015 at 04:18 PM. Reason: Added more info.
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Old 8th October 2015, 05:23 PM   #4
Aslan Paladin
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Thanks for the welcoming greeting Fernando.

Thanks for the informative reply Ian. It hasn't occurred to me that this sword may indeed be from further South and the hilt does look like a makara and the carving is so intricate, something I haven't seen before in any Visayan sword, much less a Moro sword. But that is very possible that it maybe a sword from Sumatra.

The auction site described this as a large Visayan tenegre-type sword with a silver work Moro ferrule and a Chinese-influenced dragon head hilt dated late 19th - early 20th century. I personally wasn't 100% sold on the description and I had some doubts that it maybe a sword from some other culture or just a sword with married parts because doesn't look like any Philippine sword I have seen before. But I put a bid on it nonetheless because I liked the detailed dragon head hilt.

I wasn't really expecting to win it but I was pleasantly surprised that I did and well within my intended budget.

Last edited by Aslan Paladin; 9th October 2015 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 8th October 2015, 05:41 PM   #5
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I forgot to mention that the sword has a chisel edge. I don't know of any Indonesian bladed weapon that has a chisel edge except for the Balinese wedung that I have and I don't know if a kalasan has one too. Unfortunately the sword was sold without a scabbard which would probably give some more clues as to the sword's origin.
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Old 8th October 2015, 07:43 PM   #6
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Hello Aslan Paladin,

first, welcome to the forum. I think that you are on a good path with your observations. The blade seems also to my eyes from the Visayans and from a tenegre, I never have seen such a sword blade from Indonesia. Sorry Ian, kalasan blades look very different.
The ferrule look indeed like one from a barong, that's my first impression as well. And the hilt look indeed like hilts I've seen by Indonesian blades, i.e. from Bali, mostly by newer fittings from spear blades (tombak), see the pictures I've just taken from a tombak handle from my own collection, sorry for the poor quality.
My careful guess is indeed that you have there a sword put together from different parts, if recent from a seller in the western world or locally from a previous owner I can't say.

Best regards,
Detlef
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Old 8th October 2015, 08:46 PM   #7
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Hi Detlef:

Sorry Detlef, not from a tenegre nor likely Visayan in my opinion (although the beveled edge is suggestive). That big "step" at forte (where the blade abruptly narrows) is not a feature of Visayan swords, even those from Negros that somewhat resemble the blade on the subject of this thread (see, for example, http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=6658).

I agree that the blade is not typical of a kalasan or balato, but I was trying to point to other slim, long-bladed swords that might have a similar ferrule and makara hilt. The makara is not a Visayan motif, and really suggests Indonesia.

The silver ferrule (punto) is plain and non-specific--could be Moro but could be from a number of other places too.

Possibly a marriage of pieces from various places. The pin through the horn hilt looks like a Western influence.

Ian.
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Old 8th October 2015, 09:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Hi Detlef:

Sorry Detlef, not from a tenegre nor likely Visayan in my opinion (although the beveled edge is suggestive). That big "step" at forte (where the blade abruptly narrows) is not a feature of Visayan swords, even those from Negros that somewhat resemble the blade on the subject of this thread (see, for example, http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=6658).

I agree that the blade is not typical of a kalasan or balato, but I was trying to point to other slim, long-bladed swords that might have a similar ferrule and makara hilt. The makara is not a Visayan motif, and really suggests Indonesia.

The silver ferrule (punto) is plain and non-specific--could be Moro but could be from a number of other places too.

Possibly a marriage of pieces from various places. The pin through the horn hilt looks like a Western influence.

Ian.

Hi Ian,

yes, I agree that the step at forte is very unusual, something I also never have seen before but like you say byself, the beveled edge is very suggestive and I am not aware of other blades from SEA with this feature and you can't find it by kalasans and balatos.

I agree also with you that the pin through the horn hilt looks like a western influence. And agree also that this sword could be a marriage from various places like pointed out already from Aslan, you and me. Very unusual piece. But don't look like it was composed yesterday.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 9th October 2015, 12:53 AM   #9
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Welcome Asian Paldain! Glad to see you have joined

Interesting blade, Asian Paldain, lovely carving.

To me it looks like the kind of dragon lion hybrid type figure with distinct Balinese features/ style.

I know a Makara when I see it...the handle is not a Makara, which is of Hindu origin and commonly seen throughout South east Asia. A Makara has an elephant like trunk and other characteristics of a sea type creature.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makara_(Hindu_mythology)

Note in the bottom of it is shows pictures of the variety of Makara throughout
Asia including the one that Ian correctly identified.

That is all I can really comment about...beyond that it's well out of my knowledge base....the brass pin and the white around of the handle just below the ferrule jumps out at me....

Last edited by Nathaniel; 9th October 2015 at 01:05 AM.
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Old 9th October 2015, 03:18 AM   #10
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Thanks for the continuing inputs gentlemen, you have been validating more of my suspicions and dispelling some of my preconceived notions regarding this sword. When Ian said the sword looks like something from Sumatra it sprang into my mind that the finely carved dragon hilt looks like the type of work that comes from Bali, as shown by Detlef. I also noted that it is quite different from a typical makara due to the absence of an elephant trunk as Nathaniel pointed out. So I search the Internet and found that Bali has this mythological creature known as Barong and one form of this is the Barong Naga (so the barong-type ferrule kinda fits I guess LOL) which has been depicted in Balinese masks and temple statues. Actually I don't really mind if this is a sword from married parts as it looks finely and exquisitely done, not a haphazardly assembled Frankenstein's monster. The pristine state of the carved hilt makes me think it could be later than the rest of the sword but I am thinking (or hoping I should say) the sword could have been assembled not later than the 1930s.

Regards,
Algelan
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Last edited by Aslan Paladin; 9th October 2015 at 06:44 AM.
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Old 9th October 2015, 06:54 AM   #11
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I am posting a comparative picture of the sword and a Balinese ceremonial wedung/blakas. Their blades both have a chisel grind and a clipped point. And the base of both blades seem to have the same shape except that the blakas has a long protrusion. It seems that this sword might be entirely Balinese, a Balinese pedang, and not a marriage of different parts. I haven't seen a uniquely Balinese pedang before (although Zonneveld mentions a pedang bentok and pedang chembul but shows no pictures).
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