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Old 2nd July 2012, 06:52 AM   #1
mohd
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Default Help Needed To Verify The Identity of A Golok

Hi pals, we the Malaysian knife collectors are in the process of identifying the various types of Malaysian parang, golok and pisau (i.e. parang, golok and pisau which are originated from Malay Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak).
And we came across this golok which was claimed as a Malay Golok Circa 1850.

Quote:
Malay Golok C 1850

One piece horn grip of faceted section and finely contoured form. Tapered faceted copper base ferrule. Very heavy 11 3/4 blade of thick wedge section with chamfer to the top, one side. Shows smooth dark patina over old sharpening and few edge chips.





We know that this is a golok!
Anyhow we just couldn't verify whether this is actually a Malaysian or a Indonesian or a Philippines golok!
The blade looks like a Malay Peninsular work but the crude choil at the ricasso, the many faceted collar bolster plus handle and the through tang screwed/peened to the pommel looks more like a Southern Philippines work.







IMVHO this sort of handle and fixtures were not done within the Malay Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak especially in circa 1850.
Your kind help to unravel the mystery (i.e. to us ) that surround this golok is highly appreciated!
Thanks a lot in advance

mohd
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Old 2nd July 2012, 07:11 AM   #2
KuKulzA28
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Hi Mohd! Umm.. It makes me think Philippines...
I could be wrong, but maybe Luzon? Don't take my word for it, but that's what I think...

The experts here can narrow it down better than I can
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Old 2nd July 2012, 07:18 AM   #3
Indianajones
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Hi Mohd, your 'golok' is with certainty a Philippine one; (towards) Mindanao isld. Heavier blade I assume, nice brass cornered ferrule, indeed an example -to my opinion- from pre 1900's (at least).
>for ur info; this shape handle which often appears actually resembles the 'foot' of a horse; important animals in Mindanao.
Best,

and b.t.w. I havent seen a (carabau/waterbuffalo-)horn handle which didnt have a crack in the back)
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Old 2nd July 2012, 01:04 PM   #4
mohd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KuKulzA28
.. It makes me think Philippines ..
.. I could be wrong, but maybe Luzon? Don't take my word for it, but that's what I think ..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indianajones
.. your 'golok' is with certainty a Philippine one; (towards) Mindanao isld. Heavier blade I assume, nice brass cornered ferrule, indeed an example -to my opinion- from pre 1900's (at least).
>for ur info; this shape handle which often appears actually resembles the 'foot' of a horse; important animals in Mindanao ..
Hi Vinny,
Hi Jones,
Thanks a lot for all the info
It seems we agreed that it's a Philippines 'golok'.

Vinny might be correct to say that it might be from Luzon .. anyhow it must be from the southern part of Luzon .. because I read somewhere in the net that there was a Malay Kingdom located in Manila before the conquest of the Spaniard.
And Jones also might be right by saying that the golok might be from Mindanau .. because people of Mindanau are actually an ethnic of Malays.
Kindly CMIIAW because I'm not a historian nor an anthropologist/ethnographer

Now the problem is that I haven't seen any other Philippines weapon and bladed tool that have an exactly similar design with that particular 'golok' blade!
Is that 'golok' actually a Bolo/Sundang?


Notes: Picture from ANCIENT CEBUANO BLADED WEAPONS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sansindio in his blog as a description to the above picture
.. Assorted Blades from Cebu.

1. Sundang (Multi-purpose Bolo)
2. Garab ( Vegetation Cutter Scythe)
3. Baraw or Plumengko ( Cebuano Dagger)
4. Sundang Gamay (Small Multi-purpose Bolo)
5. Guna (Planting/Farming un-sharpen Bolo)
6. Sanggot ( Coconut Wine Gatherer Sickle )
7. Pinuti ( Fighting Bolo Sword)
8. Sundang Dako (Fighting Bolo or Machete)

Prominent Families in the Philippines usually buy #7, #1 & #3. They used this as an ornamental decoration in their living room complete with stand. They said that those bladed weapons is a true signature of our Cebuano ancestor and that we can remember them by displaying their weapons as part of our cultural heritage ..
Hope to hear more from you all about the 'golok'

mohd
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Old 3rd July 2012, 03:16 AM   #5
Nonoy Tan
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Hi Mohd,

Are you part of a group of collectors based in Malaysia? There is also a small group of serious collectors based in the Philippines, of which 4 are also members of this forum (including myself), that meet and collaborate. It would be great that at some point in time both our groups meet in Kuala Lumpur or Manila, as both countries share many cultural similarities.

Regarding the knife in question... it is from the Philippines. migueldiaz of this forum would be the best person to provide you details, especially on the nomenclature. With regards to its age... it is certainly old. How old exactly can be determined, at this point, through guesswork. There is still a lot of research to be made towards a scientific and fact-based classification of Philippine knives based on age or period.

Regarding the Malay kingdom... you must be referring to the Ma-i polity which is mentioned in Chinese records (before the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines). There is a lot of information about Ma-i which you can obtain from the internet. However, there is no fact as yet to link Ma-i to the knife in question.

By the way, the word "Malay" means different things, depending on the context and period. Some past writers, even erroneously used the phrase "Malay Race" which is a misnomer as there is no such thing. I hope this helps.
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Old 3rd July 2012, 05:28 AM   #6
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Hello all (and thanks, Nonoy). I think too that it's a Luzon bolo (peened tang, the blade profile, hilt shape, etc.). As to its age, and just guessing, it can be as old as from the late-1800s I think.

As to its local name, such a utility blade in Luzon is commonly called by a couple of names and they all mean the same thing -- sundang, gulok, or itak.

As a side note, sundang and gulok are also the most common names for utility blades and bladed weapons in our country. But there is also some regional variation, as can be expected. For instance in Panay Island and Negros Island in central Philippines, a sundang is a mere small utility knife. But in northern Philippines, a sundang is the typical 'bolo' we are all familiar with, which is of course much larger than a knife. And then as we all know also, sundang is a another term used in southern Philippines (i.e., Mindanao) to refer to a kris/kalis.
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Old 6th July 2012, 02:37 PM   #7
mohd
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Thanks a lot to Nonoy and Miguel to confirm the identification of the 'golok' done by Vinny and Jones in the earlier postings
And now there's no doubt anymore that the origin of that particular sundang/gulok/itak is from Luzon and it was made sometimes in late 1800s.
Again thank you very much to Vinny, Jones, Nonoy and Miguel

mohd
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Old 6th July 2012, 05:10 PM   #8
KuKulzA28
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No problem Mohd, glad my educated guess was confirmed and expanded upon by these gurus.

I would agree that "Malay" is a very fluid term. Linguistically there's Malayo-Polynesian branch of Austronesian languages... there's Malaysian nationals, there's Malay peoples of the archipelago, there's the aforementioned "Malay Race" (like Mongoloid race), etc... I would say Malay is as fluid as Chinese... which meant different things at different time periods.
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