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Old 10th May 2020, 03:10 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Default Three Interesting Filipino Bangkungs

Here are three interesting bangkungs from the Moro and, I suspect, Visayan, people. The three are all from the same collection and probably collected about the same time. Two appear to be Moro, one with a naga pommel and the other with what appears to be a very Malay influenced pommel with two Spanish coin inserts. The third appears to be Visayan, at least the hilt, also with two Spanish coin inserts to the pommel.

Though the length, width, and curvature of the blades vary very slightly, their profile and pattern-welded structure are essentially the same.

I found the hilts of particular interest. I have never seen Bangkungs mounted in this way. Of course the pommels are all unique, but the grips are interesting as well. Note that two have reptile skin grips, and the same two have as many as half a dozen added rattan and corded bands for extra grip and stability, and only one has a traditional Moro ferrule. The third looks to be mounted in a Visayan style, with a unique brass guard decorated in floral motifs.

Unfortunately, none of these retained their original scabbards, which probably would have told us more about them
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Old 10th May 2020, 06:00 PM   #2
Battara
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These are really nice and unique for sure.

I will state that for me all three seem to have Moro pommels. Even the bottom 3rd one I have seen on Moro kampilan before.

However, that third one does seem to have a ferrule and guard that does look Visayan to me.

My favorite is the naga one.

I think there are many more variations of Philippine weaponry than we have been led to believe. So the more we post these the better we can understand.

Gavin once had a Moro sword that had a similar pommel as the second one long ago.
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Old 10th May 2020, 09:00 PM   #3
Ian
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Hi Charles,

More lovely pieces. Are these yours?

The ferrule on the third one has similarities to the banded brass hilts found on some pakayun from North Borneo, which have circular brass guards too. Also, the pommel style in the shape of a parrot or cockatoo was ascribed to Borneo on a kampilan shown here many years ago by Dan Wilke.

The forward weighted blade seen on bangkung is a common style found elsewhere in the Philippines (e.g., ginunting) and more southern Malay areas. For example, there is a similar, but shorter, bangkung attributed to Sulawesi. The atypical hilts on these examples could reflect origins beyond the Sulu Archipelago.

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Old 10th May 2020, 11:41 PM   #4
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I will also say that I have also seen the "bird" pommel like this on a Bagobo piece as well.

The second middle one - I can see Borneo since Moros were also in Sabah (and still there).
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Old 11th May 2020, 12:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Here are three interesting bangkungs from the Moro and, I suspect, Visayan, people. The three are all from the same collection and probably collected about the same time. Two appear to be Moro, one with a naga pommel and the other with what appears to be a very Malay influenced pommel with two Spanish coin inserts. The third appears to be Visayan, at least the hilt, also with two Spanish coin inserts to the pommel.

Though the length, width, and curvature of the blades vary very slightly, their profile and pattern-welded structure are essentially the same.

I found the hilts of particular interest. I have never seen Bangkungs mounted in this way. Of course the pommels are all unique, but the grips are interesting as well. Note that two have reptile skin grips, and the same two have as many as half a dozen added rattan and corded bands for extra grip and stability, and only one has a traditional Moro ferrule. The third looks to be mounted in a Visayan style, with a unique brass guard decorated in floral motifs.

Unfortunately, none of these retained their original scabbards, which probably would have told us more about them


Off the bat, I'd say the top one can be a Sulu bangkung, while the two lower ones seem to have Maranao hilts. Reason for this is that the both hilt styles, as well the practice of placing a coin as an 'eye,' is still made by Maranao artisans. I'm not aware of any other place in Mindanao (nor the other Moro tribes) that have such hilts, although it also appears in some Lumad pieces (which can be attributed to trade).
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Old 11th May 2020, 06:05 PM   #6
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Very nice examples Charles!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 19th May 2020, 03:49 PM   #7
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Thanks for your input, guys! Outside of the odd reptile skin grips, these all seem to have a basically Filipino structure to me...that being either Moro or Visayan. Two have Moro style ferrules, though one of those has a cloth wrap for grip hiding its ferrule. The other has a bolster that looks Visayan to me.
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Old 20th May 2020, 01:12 AM   #8
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I agree Charles: the one with a guard - the guard and ferrule both are Visayan. Not too shocking though since Mindanao Moros (Maranao, Maguindanao) live at the bottom of the Visayas.
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