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Old 2nd August 2018, 04:03 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Default "Artistic License" With a Moro Kampillan

Generally when one uses the terms "artistic license" the assumption is that they are an artist and as an "artist" they have made alterations to an original of some sort to meet their own needs.

Well, I am no artist, but I can think of no better term to define what I have done with this Moro kampillan, which I have lightheartedly named "Lucy"(Many of you will get the jest).

This kampillan has cutouts for inserts on both sides, something I have not seen before. There is no doubt that it is an old sword and not a recent reproduction, so that was not a concern for me. The mystery was what were the original inserts? After searching through literally hundreds of pics and examples of Moro kampillans, I found examples of all sorts of varieties of embellishments from silver to ivory inlay, but NONE with two cutouts specifically like this.

So, with a strong desire to restore it, I studied the cutouts and thought about what could have possibly been there. There is one shallow hole on each side and one hole that goes clean through. I theorized that the shallow hole was to help keep the inserts in place, while the deeper one was almost certainly for the "eyes", often seen as Spanish or American silver coins nailed in place.

So with the concept of coins as part of the solution, the next question was what were the inserts themselves made of? I thought the greatest possibility was ivory but did not want to work in that material, then there was the possibility of bone. A third possibility was whalebone which was a rare, but known, Moro artistic medium.

Finally, I settled on whalebone and what you see below is the finished product done by a professional restorer.

The kampillan also has a barely discernible laminated blade. The crossguard looks to be too lightweight and narrow to handle the heavy iron handguard and has caused it to break, and partial loss in one place. I like that the sword has it original tassel. The hilt is beautifully carved overall.

Below are pics of the "before" and "after" of my vision of the kampillan's restoration.
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Last edited by CharlesS : 2nd August 2018 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 3rd August 2018, 12:53 AM   #2
Ian
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Hi Charles:

Nice kampilan and a well done repair. The use of whale bone is entirely consistent with the culture, particularly on Maranao kampilan, and I like the overall effect. Best I have been able to determine is that coins for the "eyes" seems to have been a late 19th/early 20th C fashion (at least judging from the age of the coins). Is that your experience too? I would not be surprised if your kampilan was mid- to late- 19th C manufacture.

Another nice piece for your collection.

Ian.
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Old 3rd August 2018, 01:21 AM   #3
ariel
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I would go straight for a 17-18 century coin.
If there were a question whether coins imply authentic dating, one could easily argue back that the master might have used an antique coin from E Bay:-)

Jokes aside, very good restoration. The puppy looks purebred and ready for the Westminster show.
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Old 3rd August 2018, 07:08 AM   #4
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Hello,

nice Kampilan and well restored!
This page might be interesting for you, if you not already seen it.

http://www.morolandhistory.com/

and

http://www.morolandhistory.com/05.p...moro_blades.htm


Roland

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Old 3rd August 2018, 10:57 AM   #5
CharlesS
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Thanks for the comments and insights guys!

Roland, I was not familiar with that site and am grateful for the reference. The photos alone are fascinating.

Last edited by CharlesS : 4th August 2018 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 3rd August 2018, 11:47 PM   #6
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Nice work. I agree with the bone since the empty areas are too deep for just silver sheet.
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Old 4th August 2018, 02:16 AM   #7
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Hello Charles,

another very special kampilan - thanks!

Usually, the "eye" got placed at the intersection of the carved lines - this pommel apparently never had this intersection and seems closer to the hilt style that usually comes without "eyes"...

The holes appear not only quite different but also to be of different age? There also seem to be okir motifs carved into the cut-outs which would conflict with them being filled with inlays! Could it be that this unusual panel of the pommel was originally filled with deep okir carving and possibly a smallish coin attached in the middle (an unusual location as already noted)? And that later the okir got removed and the cut-out filled with some inlay (without any eye)?

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Kai
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Old 4th August 2018, 07:09 AM   #8
Sajen
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Hello Charles,

lovely kampy and a well chosen way of restoration also when I doubt that it will has looked like this originally. Like Kai mentioned before, the cut outs look like there has been an okir carving, very unusual.
I like the grain from the reddish wood of the handle, the whale bone look good in combination with it.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 4th August 2018, 03:37 PM   #9
Battara
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Kai on the one hand I think you are right on the original okir, but that was done so long ago and the original owner might have changed his mind or something else happened so that the modification happened long ago too. With that modification came an insert and coin eyes.

I think with that in mind I agree with what Charles had done with this form of restoration.
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Old 4th August 2018, 07:45 PM   #10
Ian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
... The holes appear not only quite different but also to be of different age? There also seem to be okir motifs carved into the cut-outs which would conflict with them being filled with inlays! Could it be that this unusual panel of the pommel was originally filled with deep okir carving and possibly a smallish coin attached in the middle (an unusual location as already noted)? And that later the okir got removed and the cut-out filled with some inlay (without any eye)? ...
I agree with Kai that there have likely been a number of changes to that area of the hilt, which does look unusual compared with the decorations seen on many kampilan. However, Charles has come at the end of that process, and what he has done seems entirely consistent with the original culture and with what may have preceded his recent embellishments. I think there are traditional Lanao residents who would find this perfectly acceptable.

Ian.
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Old 4th August 2018, 10:11 PM   #11
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I have handled this piece and Cha Chaís Pictures donít show the depth of the recessed area. It must be nearly 1/2Ē deep. So why carve out some thing that deep just to put some mediocre to poor carvings at the bottom? The carvings inside donít match the quality of the surface carvings. I also donít think the recessed area was a later carved out area. For the reason stated above. So for the lack of any other logical explanation it must have been carved out to place an insert of some type and Cha Cha did a good job researching what those options could have been. Looks much better now than it did before while maintaining cultural integrity. Well done Cha Cha! 😄
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Old 5th August 2018, 07:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSWORD
Well done Cha Cha! 😄


Yup, well done restoration!
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