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Old 20th March 2018, 08:18 PM   #1
Robert
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Default Katipunan Dagger

As I have not posted much for awhile now I though that I would see what the experts have to say about this latest addition to my collection.
I was fortunate enough to be able to win this piece on eBay a couple of weeks back due mostly to the way it was listed and described.
After it arrived it was given a light cleaning to remove the tarnish from the silver fittings and the small amount of rust that
had formed on the blade. The leather of the scabbard was also very dry and had started to crack so after cleaning with saddle soap
it received a coating of mink oil to help preserve and stop any further deterioration. Some of the iconography used on this piece
is of a very early Katipunan form with the main one being the use of the three circles arranged to form a triangle on each end and
both sides of the guard. These were used as an early form of rank designation and could be as shown on this piece, or with the letter
"K" in the center of the grouping in a later form. The sun face on this piece is also different from most as it is not shown in a
triangle with either a star or the letter "K'"in each corner, but by itself with three stars in the form of a mountain above it. As pieces
from this era are an important part of his studies I contacted Lorenz AKA Migueldiaz to ask his thoughts on this dagger and with his
permission here is his reply:

Hello Robert, thanks for sending me photos of your latest Katipunan find. As always, those are very interesting pieces. I'm sure the
forum members will be able to provide you with more information. Here's my small contribution, for your consideration: (a) as a quick
review, better Katipunan or First Republic daggers would have the usual iconography like the triangle, the sun-face, the orb on the
hilt's end, three stars, and other 'plays' on the tripartite theme like a triangular cross-section of the blade ('tres cantos'), etc.;
(b) thus your dagger has all those and much more; (c) for instance, both ends of the cross guard has three circles (symbolizing the sun)
arranged in the shape of a triangle, and this is the first time I've seen this rendition; (d) it also has a pair metal cladding on the
scabbard in which three 'mountains' (triangles) were rendered in a semi-abstract fashion, with suns atop each one; and (e) the scabbard
maker must had really been artistic as he arranged the three pairs of mountain-sun asymmetrically, which I think is a nice out of the
box touch. The abundance of symbols embedded on a Southeast Asian weapon was important to the mindset then, because similar to the
Indonesian keris, the Filipino's bladed weapons were also seen as talismans. The other thing worth pointing out is that to our
warrior-forefathers, the bladed weapon does not only contain talismanic symbols, but the very weapon itself is a talisman. Hence to their
thinking, the mere possession of it already serves a great function. Thanks again for sharing with me the photos of the dagger.
Best wishes - Lorenz.

Any and all comments or information that anyone would care to offer on this piece would be greatly appreciated.

Best,
Robert
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Last edited by Robert : 20th March 2018 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 20th March 2018, 08:22 PM   #2
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More photos.
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Old 20th March 2018, 08:57 PM   #3
Ferguson
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Absolutely stunning dagger Robert! Congratulations
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Old 20th March 2018, 09:37 PM   #4
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I like this. Very nice. Congratulations!
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Old 20th March 2018, 09:44 PM   #5
Robert
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Steve and Jose, Thank you both for your kind comment on this dagger. I was really surprised when I won it as I believed that it would have brought for a much higher price than it did.

Best,
Robert
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Old 21st March 2018, 02:08 AM   #6
kino
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Damn!!!

A sweet reward for diligence
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Old 21st March 2018, 02:34 AM   #7
kai
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Question

Hello Robert,

Thanks for posting this fine piece!


Quote:
The leather of the scabbard was also very dry and had started to crack so after cleaning with saddle soap it received a coating of mink oil to help preserve and stop any further deterioration.

I respect your restoration skills but this sounds like a pretty harsh treatment! From what I understand, mink oil is about the least suitable option to soften leather and results in damage to leather in the long run!

Leather (even the traditional vegetable/tannin-tanned stuff) seems almost impossible to "treat" without harm and AFAIK museum conservators try to avoid touching leather as much as possible! For pieces in use, wax seems to be the least harmful option.

What are your experiences?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 21st March 2018, 03:52 AM   #8
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I want to add that this could have been made between the end of the Tejeros Convention 0f 1897 and the beginning of the ousting of the Spanish in 1899 based on the 3 stars and sun face but no triangle.
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Old 21st March 2018, 04:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
A sweet reward for diligence

Thank you Kino, but this I believe was just more of a case of being damned lucky as I was actually searching for something else when I found this.

Kai, I have been using a mixture of mink oil and a couple of other items for years now with the only undesirable side effect that I have noticed being that it darkens lighter colored leather. It helps soften old dry leather and waterproofs it as well. I got the recipe for mixing this from an old saddle maker years ago who used it on everything he made and have always just referred to it as mink oil. Sorry about the misunderstanding.

Quote:
I want to add that this could have been made between the end of the Tejeros Convention 0f 1897 and the beginning of the ousting of the Spanish in 1899 based on the 3 stars and sun face but no triangle.
Because of the three circles arainged in a triangle being one of the earliest symbols used to designate rank by the Katipunan I believe that there is a very good possibility that this dagger predates the Tejeros Convention. Of course I could easily be wrong.

Best,
Robert
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Old 21st March 2018, 05:41 PM   #10
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About the three circles (sun symbols) arranged in the triangle configuration on the ends of the guard, as mentioned in my first posting I had seen these before in the form of rank designation. When I mentioned this to Lorenz this was his response:

[/QUOTE] On your query, I totally forgot commenting about that point. Yes indeed, I agree very much that the three circles arranged in a triangular fashion can also mean that the Katipunero who used to own that must had been a brigadier general (never thought of that, but now that you've mentioned it, I agree 100%). Those symbols you see can have more than one meaning - hence it appears to have both, the mystical (the Katipunan's iconic triangle and the sun symbol) and the technical/practical (to denote a rank, which in this case was ingenious/creative indeed). [/QUOTE]

I cannot find the original information I had (this is what happens when you do not back up your information and your computer crashes) showing these very early rank designations, but after a search I did find these later examples. The difference between the symbol used on this daggers guard and the one in the chart below was that the earlier symbol did not use the letter "K" in the center of the circles as shown in this later example. There were also some slight differences in some of the other symbols as well and if I remember correctly again it was only the absence of the "K" in some but not all of the other designations.

Best,
Robert
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Old 21st March 2018, 05:43 PM   #11
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Hello Robert,

congrats for this very nice dagger! It's a real beauty, I like the asymmetrical scabbard fittings. I hope that I will be able to add one lucky day such a fine piece to my own collection. And you have given it a great TLC, now it shows it's real beauty. A great addition to your outstanding collection!

Best regards,
Detlef
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Old 21st March 2018, 06:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
I respect your restoration skills but this sounds like a pretty harsh treatment! From what I understand, mink oil is about the least suitable option to soften leather and results in damage to leather in the long run!


Hello Kai,
where you have heard this? When I have let ship items to Robert with leather scabbards he has always treated the leather with mink oil with great result and until now I haven't noticed that it harms the leather. All look still nice and get softer as they have been before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Leather (even the traditional vegetable/tannin-tanned stuff) seems almost impossible to "treat" without harm and AFAIK museum conservators try to avoid touching leather as much as possible! For pieces in use, wax seems to be the least harmful option.


I've used byself always boot polish to maintain leather scabbards with great result, it get softer, get glossy again and also close small cracks in the leather. And all look still nice and I can't notice any disadvantage by the leather.

Best regards,
Detlef
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Old 21st March 2018, 10:31 PM   #13
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Uh Robert.............what 3 circles?
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Old 21st March 2018, 10:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Uh Robert.............what 3 circles?


Hello Jose,

this ones!
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Old 22nd March 2018, 06:22 PM   #15
carlos
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Congratulations!! Im happy to see you win auction. I was second bidder.i just buy another piece and the money ...
If you tire out of the dagger ...please tell me.
Is a very beatiful dagger with this engraved sheath.
Best regards
Carlos
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Old 23rd March 2018, 01:25 AM   #16
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a very nice piece with a great history to tell! congratulations!
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Old 23rd March 2018, 01:59 PM   #17
F. de Luzon
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Congratulations! I hope I'll be as lucky one day and add a Katipunan dagger to my collection.

Kind regards,

Fernando
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