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Old 8th June 2020, 04:40 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Default One Extremely Unusual Barong/Barung From the Philippines

Here's one for the "ethnographic book of oddities". When I first saw it I didn't know whether to be horrified or impressed, but as I examined it and the high quality involved in its creation, not to mention the heft of it, I began to have a lot more respect for it.

The blade is of typical Moro forging, but I think any Moro aspect of it ends there. While the shape of the scabbard is Moro-like, nothing else about it looks Moro. The entire piece is heavily lacquered in black. The hilt is elegantly elongated and its pommel has an odd shape but there is no evidence it has been broken or altered. It would have had a decorated silver plate on one side at the top, and a silver decoration to the front top that is missing. The grip is carved in a swirled pattern, decorated with lime, and features a silver ferrule that does not look Moro.

The mouth of the scabbard features a carved crocodile-like creature, also decorated with lime, and a silver bead eye. The top portion of the body of the scabbard is mounted with a heavy silver decoration.

The most impressive feature of the piece, to me, is the incredibly intricate butterfly carved onto the scabbard. Note the detail and precision. The motif is mounted with a silver body and 10 silver beads. The chape is of heavy silver and engraved. All the silver mounts are carefully nailed into place.

I do not know much about northern Philippines blades, but this looks to me like a Moro barong blade mounted in a northern Philippines style. To me, it is not the most ascetically pleasing example of a barong, but there is no doubt a lot of quality work was put into it and I have to think it was for a person of some rank.

I look forward to your insights and knowledge regarding this barong, most especially any information about the motifs.

Dimensions:
Overall length: 24.75in.
Blade length: 14in.
Widest point of the blade: 2.75in.
Blade's thickness at the forte: .25in.
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Old 9th June 2020, 12:45 AM   #2
xasterix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Here's one for the "ethnographic book of oddities". When I first saw it I didn't know whether to be horrified or impressed, but as I examined it and the high quality involved in its creation, not to mention the heft of it, I began to have a lot more respect for it.

The blade is of typical Moro forging, but I think any Moro aspect of it ends there. While the shape of the scabbard is Moro-like, nothing else about it looks Moro. The entire piece is heavily lacquered in black. The hilt is elegantly elongated and its pommel has an odd shape but there is no evidence it has been broken or altered. It would have had a decorated silver plate on one side at the top, and a silver decoration to the front top that is missing. The grip is carved in a swirled pattern, decorated with lime, and features a silver ferrule that does not look Moro.

The mouth of the scabbard features a carved crocodile-like creature, also decorated with lime, and a silver bead eye. The top portion of the body of the scabbard is mounted with a heavy silver decoration.

The most impressive feature of the piece, to me, is the incredibly intricate butterfly carved onto the scabbard. Note the detail and precision. The motif is mounted with a silver body and 10 silver beads. The chape is of heavy silver and engraved. All the silver mounts are carefully nailed into place.

I do not know much about northern Philippines blades, but this looks to me like a Moro barong blade mounted in a northern Philippines style. To me, it is not the most ascetically pleasing example of a barong, but there is no doubt a lot of quality work was put into it and I have to think it was for a person of some rank.

I look forward to your insights and knowledge regarding this barong, most especially any information about the motifs.

Dimensions:
Overall length: 24.75in.
Blade length: 14in.
Widest point of the blade: 2.75in.
Blade's thickness at the forte: .25in.


A unique piece! Drool-worthy. I can think of three possibilities.

It's an old Sulu barung blade, that's clear. The dress is a more-elaborate-than usual Palawan-style hilt and scabbard. The presence of animals is a feature of Palawan badungs.

Or, it may have been customized in Apalit long ago, since the hilt has an echo of Apalit-ness. That may also explain the Luzon-ish fittings on the scabbard.

Or, it may have been a custom Lanao work (Maguindanao area). The large pins (I'm guessing they're silver?) on the animals are typical of Lanao work.

Last edited by xasterix : 9th June 2020 at 02:24 AM.
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Old 9th June 2020, 01:27 AM   #3
Battara
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I've seen this somewhere before.

I'm wondering if the pommel was broken and cut off at the back tip and the bottom tip.

For me this is a head scratcher.
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Old 10th June 2020, 09:58 AM   #4
carlos
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Congratulations!!!! Very nice piece, a very unusual barong, enjoy it!!
Best regards
Carlos
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