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Old 22nd May 2022, 05:43 PM   #1
Sajen
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Default Unknown Moro sword

Sadly I wasn't able to win today this vintage Moro sword, I guess the same age as the kris I have posted recently.
But what is it? Who is able to enlighten me?
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Old 23rd May 2022, 12:09 AM   #2
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Odd shaped blade, doesn’t look Moro to me, although the hilt and scabbard does.
Would be nice to know it the blade is laminated or pattern welded.
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Old 23rd May 2022, 04:07 PM   #3
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Odd shaped blade, doesn’t look Moro to me, although the hilt and scabbard does.
Would be nice to know it the blade is laminated or pattern welded.
Hard to say for sure, but if you zoom in on the blade it certainly appears to be laminated.
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Old 23rd May 2022, 06:48 PM   #4
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Hello Albert and David,

Thank you both for your comments! And yes, it's a very unusual shape for a Moro blade.
Someone wrote to me by mail that it could be a remounted Chinese blade.
And again yes, on the pictures it looks like the blade could be laminated.
I have never seen something similar and was very disappointed to get outbid.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 24th May 2022, 01:06 AM   #5
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Hi Detlef,

The pommel matches Maranao signatures. These are usually found leaf-shaped blades that are also called 'keping' (these blades have often been dressed up and mistaken for barungs. In many cases the dressing up is deliberate, so that the tourists will buy kepings, thinking that they're barungs). I'm guessing this piece was assembled in Tugaya, which has always been a source for curios and hybrids. Tugaya artisans also loved adding handguards (like the one in your sample) and re-using scabbards from other places such as Sulu. There are even cases where Visayan and Luzon blades (or hilts) were married to a Moro dress (or blade). I believe your piece is a hybrid of a blade either copied or sourced from another region, then married with a hilt that has the grip of Sulu and the pommel of a keping, plus a Sulu-flavor scabbard.

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Old 24th May 2022, 01:34 AM   #6
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Since the next question would be- what would a keping look like? Here are a few samples I've come across. They were ID'd by a museum curator in Cagayan de Oro who has worked extensively with Maranao, Maguindanao, and Lumad tribes for over a decade.
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Old 24th May 2022, 01:54 AM   #7
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I agree with Xasterix. I too have seen Maranao hilts and pommels like these before.

My question is the thin long blades. Are these different from what Cecil Quirino calls the sipput barong that also has long thinner blades?
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Old 24th May 2022, 04:12 AM   #8
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I agree with Xasterix. I too have seen Maranao hilts and pommels like these before.

My question is the thin long blades. Are these different from what Cecil Quirino calls the sipput barong that also has long thinner blades?
Thanks for the confirmation Mr Jose- I'm not familiar with the term "siput" used for barongs or barungs; but to my knowledge the long Sulu barungs would have a different build + dimensions than these long kepings that I showed here.
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Old 24th May 2022, 04:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by xasterix View Post
The pommel matches Maranao signatures. These are usually found leaf-shaped blades that are also called 'keping' (these blades have often been dressed up and mistaken for barungs. In many cases the dressing up is deliberate, so that the tourists will buy kepings, thinking that they're barungs). I'm guessing this piece was assembled in Tugaya, which has always been a source for curios and hybrids. Tugaya artisans also loved adding handguards (like the one in your sample) and re-using scabbards from other places such as Sulu. There are even cases where Visayan and Luzon blades (or hilts) were married to a Moro dress (or blade). I believe your piece is a hybrid of a blade either copied or sourced from another region, then married with a hilt that has the grip of Sulu and the pommel of a keping, plus a Sulu-flavor scabbard.
Hi Xas,

Thank you very much for your great expertise! I've hoped that you chime in since I was nearly sure that you are able to add informations! This sword coming from the same source as the kalis I've shown here recently. Would you agree that it has a similar age?

Best regards,
Detlef
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Old 24th May 2022, 06:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by xasterix View Post
Hi Detlef,

The pommel matches Maranao signatures. These are usually found leaf-shaped blades that are also called 'keping' (these blades have often been dressed up and mistaken for barungs. In many cases the dressing up is deliberate, so that the tourists will buy kepings, thinking that they're barungs). I'm guessing this piece was assembled in Tugaya, which has always been a source for curios and hybrids. Tugaya artisans also loved adding handguards (like the one in your sample) and re-using scabbards from other places such as Sulu. There are even cases where Visayan and Luzon blades (or hilts) were married to a Moro dress (or blade). I believe your piece is a hybrid of a blade either copied or sourced from another region, then married with a hilt that has the grip of Sulu and the pommel of a keping, plus a Sulu-flavor scabbard.
I was wondering why the this swords scabbard says “Made in Lanao”
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Old 24th May 2022, 08:42 PM   #11
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Hi Xas,

Thank you very much for your great expertise! I've hoped that you chime in since I was nearly sure that you are able to add informations! This sword coming from the same source as the kalis I've shown here recently. Would you agree that it has a similar age?

Best regards,
Detlef
You're welcome! Yes, I'd agree that this piece was assembled at around the same era as your kalis.
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Old 24th May 2022, 08:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I was wondering why the this swords scabbard says “Made in Lanao”
Nice piece, and it's neat that they put the provenance! This indicates that it was likely made in Tugaya (it's located in Lanao del Sur).
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Old 24th May 2022, 09:02 PM   #13
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I was wondering why the this swords scabbard says “Made in Lanao”
When I unstand it correctly is this nice sword from Albert as well a keking?
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Old 25th May 2022, 12:36 AM   #14
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Hi All,

I have two short swords that, prior to this post, I always thought were barong variants. The top sword looks to have some age to it and may be pre WWII but the bottom sword is certainly post WWII. So, I have four questions. 1: Are these two swords actually keping and not barongs? 2: What does keping mean? 3: Why was a sword so similar to a barong developed in the first place? 4: What are the style queues that would identify a sword as a keping and not a Barong?

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 25th May 2022, 12:54 AM   #15
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When I unstand it correctly is this nice sword from Albert as well a keking?
That's right sir, it's a "keping." In Jacinto (1892) defined keping as "leaf" in his landmark work Diccionario Moro-Maguindanao-Español. My Mindanao-based contacts say it's simply a leaf bolo. Originally, kepings had simple hilts, but most were re-hilted started from the 1920s up to present time for the tourist trade, so that they could impersonate Sulu barungs. The laminated ones are older samples (I'm guessing pre-WW2, probably even pre-1900 for some), but even these were re-hilted and scabbarded for added bling and to better mimic barungs.

The original purpose of kepings was to serve as bolos (unlike the barung, which was an exclusive fighting blade- the Sulu-based Moros had other blades for bolo work).
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Old 25th May 2022, 12:58 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by RobT View Post
Hi All,

I have two short swords that, prior to this post, I always thought were barong variants. The top sword looks to have some age to it and may be pre WWII but the bottom sword is certainly post WWII. So, I have four questions. 1: Are these two swords actually keping and not barongs? 2: What does keping mean? 3: Why was a sword so similar to a barong developed in the first place? 4: What are the style queues that would identify a sword as a keping and not a Barong?

Sincerely,
RobT
Hi Rob:

1. Yes, those are both kepings.
2. It means 'leaf' in the Maguindanaon language.
3. The distinction is that keping was a leaf-shaped bolo used in the Mindanao area (Maranao, Maguindanao, several Lumad tribes), while barung is an exclusive fighting blade used in the Sulu area (Tausug, Sama, Yakan tribes).
4. The blade shape is kinda difficult to explain, but once one has seen hundreds of barungs, one will notice that the keping profile is different. The dress cues are easier to identify: the pommel is different and often flashier, has a smaller grip, the ferrule is fancier, the scabbard is different than that of Sulu barungs'.
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Old 25th May 2022, 01:31 AM   #17
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"Keping" is pretty much a catch-all term for all Maguindanao/Maranao blades that are leaf-shaped. Some don't look like wide leaf; others are slender and may have clipped points. Here are other examples that are also considered as kepings.
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Old 25th May 2022, 10:27 PM   #18
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Default Thanks xasterix

xasterix,

Thanks for answering my questions. I have a few more suspected kepings that I will post in a separate thread. Perhaps you can confirm their status one way or another.

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 4th June 2022, 12:38 PM   #19
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Detlef,

I love the look of the sword you originally showed us in the thread. It's so practical. I am just guessing at some Chinese influence, especially with the guard.

I think there are many Moro variations and custom-made swords out there. This thread has some nice examples of just that.

I really enjoy looking at pieces that deviate from the norm!

Great catch on your part! Congrats!
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Old 4th June 2022, 03:48 PM   #20
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I am just guessing at some Chinese influence, especially with the guard.
Hello Charles,
Yes, I agree, the blade has a Chinese flair.


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Great catch on your part! Congrats!
I wish it were, but I was outbid at the last moment, alas!

Regards,
Detlef
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