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Old 28th June 2019, 03:21 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Smile A Moro Kriss: A Hunch That Was Correct!

Some of you may have seen this Moro kriss on eBay. When I first saw it I thought the rattan was a charming addition to the hilt to hold the blade in place, as we have seen many times before, or add grip. But the more I kept looking at the pics things began to change my mind:
1. The rattan was in no way attached to the blade
2. The dark pommel had a look to it of heavily tarnished silver
3. The silver filigree bands would seem to confirm that the pommel may be silver
4. Upon close inspection, the hilt had not lost its cording wrap, and was, in fact, tortoiseshell bands held in place by tiny nails.

So, why would such a finely mounted hilt have such a crude rattan wrap around it???

Once the piece was in hand the answer became obvious and immediate. The hilt's wooden core had broken into, and the rattan(noting again none of it was attached to the blade) had been cleverly wrapped and bound from one end of the hilt to the other to hold it all together without any loss...when you don't have gorilla glue...use rattan. The rattan had clearly been on for a very long time. My theory is that it had been picked up by a vet in the Philippines who realized it was fragile and so he had someone try to keep it all together any way possible. That person used a time-honored method to do just that!

Once it became obvious it was not born with the kriss, I (almost sadly) removed the rattan and began to work on fixing and cleaning. Here are the results. The silver filigree shows heavy loss on the upper fitting but otherwise is lovely. The tortoise shell is complete and polished up nicely. The pommel is lovely as well.

The blade is nothing out of the ordinary, showing a laminated core and tempered edges.

I believe it is from Maguindanao but would like some input on its origins.

For once I had a hunch that was actually correct and I couldn't be happier!
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Old 28th June 2019, 04:50 PM   #2
David R
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Wow, just wow! That wonderful feeling when a hunch pays off.
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Old 28th June 2019, 06:15 PM   #3
mross
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I love it when a plan come together
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Old 28th June 2019, 07:03 PM   #4
kino
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I had the opportunity to handle the kris at the sellers residence during the auction. I really liked it despite the hilt being compromised as Charles had mentioned. I like native repairs, it would be hard for me to snip away the rattan.
But it had to be done.
Had I not have a similar looking hilt, I would have taken a stab at bidding on it , but going against CharlesS, it would have been a futile attempt.
Congrats.
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Old 28th June 2019, 07:22 PM   #5
CharlesS
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Kino,

To be honest I let it sit overnight because I was so conflicted over cutting the rattan, but what finally pushed me over the edge to cut it was my thinking that with the hilt in the condition it was in, handling it would only make it weaker and weaker, and at some point it might actually break.

The other thing that kept tugging at me was the fact that I know that was not the way the hilt was originally meant to be so "correcting" it would not be a sin even as interesting as it was with the rattan.

I was very surprised I was the only bid on it. The same guy had an interesting kampillan that I think went quite high.
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Old 28th June 2019, 08:43 PM   #6
Jens Nordlunde
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Charles, these weapons are not my speciallity, as you well know, but I take my hat off to you for showing it before and after, you did a very fine job.
Jens
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Old 28th June 2019, 10:49 PM   #7
Ian
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Very nice indeed!

I think this is Maranao rather than Maguindanao. Lovely hilt Charles.

Ian
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Old 29th June 2019, 02:38 AM   #8
Battara
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Ian I was thinking the same thing. I have seen another Maranao piece similar to this one in every way (only broken scabbard) and unbroken before.

Nice work Charles!
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Old 29th June 2019, 02:51 PM   #9
kino
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Kino,

To be honest I let it sit overnight because I was so conflicted over cutting the rattan, but what finally pushed me over the edge to cut it was my thinking that with the hilt in the condition it was in, handling it would only make it weaker and weaker, and at some point it might actually break.

The other thing that kept tugging at me was the fact that I know that was not the way the hilt was originally meant to be so "correcting" it would not be a sin even as interesting as it was with the rattan.

I was very surprised I was the only bid on it. The same guy had an interesting kampillan that I think went quite high.


There are issues that you canít avoid, in this case a broken hilt. Thatís why I said that it had to be done.
It surprised me as well that there were no opposing bids. Good for you.

On the subject of the Kampilan, it seems like it was meant to be wielded with a single hand. This one had a shorter light blade. Hopefully it will get posted on the forum for discussion.
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Old 30th June 2019, 06:35 PM   #10
Sajen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
The tortoise shell is complete and polished up nicely.


Hello Charles,

Very nice restoration! Congrats, it look much better now! Could it be that it is buffalo horn instead of tortoise shell? Like we know it by scabbards from Visayan swords?

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 2nd July 2019, 09:48 PM   #11
KuKulzA28
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CharlesS that looks lovely, great work, and awesome hunch you had
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Old 4th July 2019, 03:47 AM   #12
F. de Luzon
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That's a very nice example!
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