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Old 16th June 2024, 08:19 AM   #1
Ian
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Default Very old Visayan kris

This is an interesting old sword. It is a high end, pre-1800 Moro blade with an old Waray scabbard and hilt. The scabbard is in a style seen on old garab, including the fluted carving and the small round insert near the toe on both sides. The mouth has been widened to accept the flared gangya area of the blade. The hilt is also of a style seen on some old garab.

The blade was a very good one, although much pitted over time. The central panel does not appear to be twist core, however the sinuous design with many small "stars" inset at regular intervals down the blade suggests that the central panel is depicting a centipede. IIRC, the centipede was an important creature in Maguindanao mythology.

The carved area at the base of the blade follows Indonesian keris from the late-Majapahit period, and is similar to that found on a 16th C Bugis keris that was discussed here.

Better pictures will come after it arrives.
.
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Last edited by Ian; 16th June 2024 at 12:54 PM. Reason: Added URL
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Old 16th June 2024, 05:51 PM   #2
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Very nice old kris that seems to have been adopted for Visayan use.
I don't see any 16th century Bugis keris discussed in the link you provided. Which of the keris in that thread are you referring to?
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Old 16th June 2024, 07:03 PM   #3
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Congratulations. That is a very nice keris with a story to tell!!! I would love to have an example like that in my collection one day.
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Old 16th June 2024, 07:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
Very nice old kris that seems to have been adopted for Visayan use.
I don't see any 16th century Bugis keris discussed in the link you provided. Which of the keris in that thread are you referring to?

Ian mean the one in post #8.

Last edited by Sajen; 16th June 2024 at 10:16 PM. Reason: giving wrong post, sorry
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Old 16th June 2024, 09:41 PM   #5
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I've always enjoyed lurking on kris posts, but I have a technical question. I like the design and integration of the gangya.(cross guard)? and the blade. Likely some cultural reason. But mechanically why is the gangya made separate from the blade and apparently fastened to the blade by those "clips"? Is this a relatively weak connection? The gangya is thicker and wider of the blade, but would seem no great technical chore to forge as a single piece.

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Old 16th June 2024, 09:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
Very nice old kris that seems to have been adopted for Visayan use.
I don't see any 16th century Bugis keris discussed in the link you provided. Which of the keris in that thread are you referring to?
David, see post #8 in that thread.
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Old 17th June 2024, 01:44 AM   #7
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Are the star patterns on the blade unusual? They remind me of the patterns on this Visayan knife scabbard.
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Old 17th June 2024, 02:55 AM   #8
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Very nice garab, Jeff, congrats!

The motif on Moro blades (like Ian's here) is usually a bit asymmetrical. Thus, I believe they might be different.

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Old 17th June 2024, 03:08 AM   #9
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Hello Ed,

Quote:
I've always enjoyed lurking on kris posts, but I have a technical question. I like the design and integration of the gangya.(cross guard)? and the blade. Likely some cultural reason. But mechanically why is the gangya made separate from the blade and apparently fastened to the blade by those "clips"? Is this a relatively weak connection? The gangya is thicker and wider of the blade, but would seem no great technical chore to forge as a single piece.
There are kris/keris that have the gangya/gonjo forged integrally with the blade; the default is them being made as separate pieces though. This tradition is based on underlying symbolism/meaning going back for several centuries. Details would need an in-depth discussion since the interpretation underwent changes within the originating culture(s) as well as shifts till reaching (and possibly within) the Moro cultural sphere.

The clips/clamps are mainly to securing the gangya/katik to the blade (as well as helping to attach the hilt to the blade). The latter is a functional aspect; the former has more like a metaphysical reason.

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Old 17th June 2024, 03:32 AM   #10
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Hello Ian,

Quote:
This is an interesting old sword. It is a high end, pre-1800 Moro blade
Very nice blade, indeed - congrats!

It is obviously old. However, what features do you base the pre-1800 dating on?


Quote:
with an old Waray scabbard and hilt. The scabbard is in a style seen on old garab, including the fluted carving and the small round insert near the toe on both sides. The mouth has been widened to accept the flared gangya area of the blade. The hilt is also of a style seen on some old garab.
Gorgeous fittings!

I'd have assumed that the scabbard got made for this blade? (There seem to be losses at the opening.)


Quote:
The central panel does not appear to be twist core, however the sinuous design with many small "stars" inset at regular intervals down the blade suggests that the central panel is depicting a centipede. IIRC, the centipede was an important creature in Maguindanao mythology.
This inlaid motif is commonly seen on Moro blades; centipedes are sometimes inlaid, too, but tend to be less stylized. Do we have any information from within the cultures for this interpretation (i.e. connecting this motif with centipedes)?


Quote:
The carved area at the base of the blade follows Indonesian keris from the late-Majapahit period, and is similar to that found on a 16th C Bugis keris that was discussed here.
Actually, there are significant differences between the features exhibited by these 2 blades. Granted, there seem to be more keris features extant than in some later Moro blades. IMHO, we need a much more detailed discussion for establishing time lines. (BTW, mid-17th century is a long time after the end of Majapahit and with the Mojo power already declining for an extended time before its final demise.)

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Kai
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Old 17th June 2024, 08:52 AM   #11
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An important question for me is how did a nobility Moro kris end up in Waray dress? I have chatted with another Forum member about this sword and how it might have ended up in the hands of a resident of the eastern Visayas.

There are several ways in which Moro swords might be found outside the original culture.
  • As a gift
  • Through trade or intermarriage
  • As a result of armed conflict
We came to the conclusion that should a Waray have acquired this sword through means other than conflict (i.e., through trade, intermarriage, or as a gift) it would have remained in Moro dress. To re-dress a distinguished Moro sword with a local hilt and scabbard would be considered an "abomination" by the Moro, and definitely an unfriendly and insulting thing to do. Therefore, we might reasonably conclude in this case that the sword was taken from a fallen Moro as a result of armed conflict.

The quality and mysticism of the sword requires that it was owned by royalty or perhaps a panglima. This, in turn, suggests a significant battle between Moros and Visayans. Several such battles occurred in the Visayas between the Moros and Spanish forces during what has been termed the third phase of the Spanish-Moro War (see here). Between 1599 and 1634 several large scale punitive raids were conducted by the Moros against the Spanish-held areas in the Visayas:
  • 1599: Datu Salikula and Datu Sirungan the chiefs of Maguindanao and Buayan, respectively, launched a joint force attacking a major Spanish base in the central Visayas (3,000 warriors with 50 paraw).
  • 1602: Commanded by Datu Buisan, the successor of Datu Salikula, and Datu Sirungan (145 paraw – 50 vessels manned by the Ternatans, Sangil and Tagolanda; 60 by the Maguindanao; and 35 by the Yakans of Basilan)
  • 1603: Rajah Buisan together with his allies from Sangil and Ternate led another invasion of Central Visayas. They invaded Dulag, Leyte a place where Rajah Buisan delivered his historic speech calling the Leyte datus to fight the Spaniards.
  • 1605: Spanish-Moro Treaty was signed
  • 1608: Following Spanish raids on Ternate, the Maguindanao chief construed this action a violation of the 1603 Treaty, and ordered the resumption of military raids of Spanish garrisons in the Central Visayas.
  • 1608: A new Spanish-Moro Treaty was signed
  • 1627: Rajah Bungsu the Sultan of Sulu led 2,000 warriors, and attacked the Spanish base and ship yard in Camarines Sur and Central Visayas. The attack was triggered by maltreatment suffered by a Sulu envoy, Datu Ache, returning home from Manila. His ships were intercepted by the Spaniards, and all of them were brought back to Manila and humiliated.
  • 1629: Sulu forces commanded by Datu Ache attacked Spanish settlements in Camarines, Samar, Leyte, and Bohol.
  • 1631: Sulu warriors launched another invasion aimed at Leyte, the seat of Spanish power in the Visayas.
  • 1632: Sultan Qudarat (Sultan of Maguindanao) made a marriage alliance by marrying the daughter of Rajah Bungsu, the Sultan of Sulu.
  • 1634: A joint alliance of the Sulu and Maguindanao Sultanates mobilized 1,500 warriors who landed at Dapitan, Leyte, and Bohol in the Visayas.
The challenge before the Spanish colonial regime was how to stop the Muslim invasion of its held-territories. After drawing lessons on the military behavior of the Muslims, the Spaniards changed their approach by establishing a forward force at the enemy’s territory so that the war’s trend could be reversed. This became the focus of the fourth stage of the Moro wars. The attacks on the Visayas did cease, and did not resume, as the Moros looked to expel the Spanish from their homelands.

I believe that this 35-year period of Moro incursions against the Spanish is the most likely time for this sword to have been collected by a Waray during conflict with Moro raiders. We have no record of the Waray coming into conflict with Moros elsewhere. Collection of the sword in the early 1600s would likely mean it was made towards the end of the 1500s or early 1600s. So late-16th to early-17th C would be my estimate for age.

If this estimate is correct, then the composition of the Moro kris had reached its standard form by this time and for about 250 years going forward.

Last edited by Ian; 18th June 2024 at 01:40 AM. Reason: Typos
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Old 17th June 2024, 01:53 PM   #12
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Hello Kai,

Thanks for the gangay-blade explanation. "Tradition" does cover a lot of bases and is accepted by cultures as "Just the way it is" to be a proper kris". Also, I guess that the kris is more for Cultural Presentation than for mechanical strength for fighting.

Best regards,
Ed
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Old 17th June 2024, 01:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by kai View Post
Hello Ian,

... It is obviously old. However, what features do you base the pre-1800 dating on? ...
The pre-1800 designation comes from Cato following his study of museum pieces (including Spanish examples), plus statements he obtained from Moro informants.

Quote:
... I'd have assumed that the scabbard got made for this blade? (There seem to be losses at the opening.) ...
Definitely the scabbard was made for this sword. The opening losses are relatively minor.

Quote:
This inlaid motif is commonly seen on Moro blades; centipedes are sometimes inlaid, too, but tend to be less stylized. Do we have any information from within the cultures for this interpretation (i.e. connecting this motif with centipedes)?
Kai, I don't have information from within the culture but I have seen somewhat similar designs labeled previously as representing a centipede. I don't recall chapter-and-verse of where I saw that comment, but I think it is the interpretation that best fits the markings. If someone has a more plausible explanation, then I would welcome hearing their views.

Quote:
... IMHO, we need a much more detailed discussion for establishing time lines. (BTW, mid-17th century is a long time after the end of Majapahit and with the Mojo power already declining for an extended time before its final demise.)

Regards,
Kai
Kai, I agree that it would be nice to have a clear timeline, but we don't. The appearance of the kris in the Philippines could well have pre-dated the arrival of Islam. The Sultanate of Sulu was the first organized Islamic body, and was created in 1450 by Sharif Hassim Abubakar. However, this followed about 200 years of Arab visitation and spread of the Q'ran to the masses.

Seafaring groups from the Sulu Archipelago and Mindanao (notably the Sama and Ilanun) established contact with Borneo and the Celebes, and even parts of Java, in the time of the Majapahit Empire. The use of the term "Rajah" for early leaders in the southern Philippines would argue that lingering Majapahit influence was quite strong. There was ample time for the Majapahit-style "modern" keris to have been brought to Sulu and Mindanao by pre-Islamic Philippine tribal groups. Subsequent development of the Javanese keris into the Philippines kris, and its use by those who would later convert to Islam, could have occurred over a 200-year period, or even longer, well preceding the arrival of Spaniards. Thus, to find a well developed Moro kris form attributable to the late-16th or early-17th C may be expected. I believe that is what we see in this sword.

As a corollary, I would not be surprised if we found prototypes of the Moro kris dating from the 14th C or 15th C, or even earlier.

In thinking about the early development of the kris in the southern Philippines, I believe that we may underestimate just how old the kris and other weaponry may be. This reflects, in part, the general lack of extant written history for the era prior to the Spanish arrival in the mid-16th C, and the paucity of good archeological research conducted throughout the Philippines.


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Old 17th June 2024, 02:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Edster View Post
Hello Kai,

Thanks for the gangay-blade explanation. "Tradition" does cover a lot of bases and is accepted by cultures as "Just the way it is" to be a proper kris". Also, I guess that the kris is more for Cultural Presentation than for mechanical strength for fighting.

Best regards,
Ed
Hi Ed,

The Moro kris was very much a fighting weapon, although it was often imbued with mystical and other symbolic meaning (consistent mainly with pre-Islamic beliefs). In the second half of the 19th C, the kris was "upgraded" to have a heavier, wider, and perhaps slightly longer blade to better combat the Spanish blades being used at that time. Combat kris also became mostly straight-bladed swords in this period.

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Old 17th June 2024, 02:16 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
David, see post #8 in that thread.
OK. Don't believe that keris is Bugis though.
Also, as Kai pointed out, 17th century (which is how that keris is described in the linked post) is far beyond the even the late Mojopahit period.
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Old 17th June 2024, 02:43 PM   #16
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OK. Don't believe that keris is Bugis though.
Also, as Kai pointed out, 17th century (which is how that keris is described in the linked post) is far beyond the even the late Mojopahit period.
David,

You may be correct. I am no keris expert. I was guided by Albert's description, which I posted with the pictures of that keris. Albert noted that it was the oldest item from the royal house that acquired it. The Dutch ancestor who collected the keris was the head of the VOC at the time, as noted in the thread I referenced.

Whether or not it was a Bugis or Java keris, it reflected the style of keris dating from the late Majapahit period. As noted in my reply to Kai above, contact of seafaring Sulu and Mindanao groups with various parts of the Majapahit Empire likely occurred well before the 16th C, so the rather late Bugis (?) example may be moot.
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Old 17th June 2024, 03:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
David,

You may be correct. I am no keris expert. I was guided by Albert's description, which I posted with the pictures of that keris. Albert noted that it was the oldest item from the royal house that acquired it. The Dutch ancestor who collected the keris was the head of the VOC at the time, as noted in the thread I referenced.

Whether or not it was a Bugis or Java keris, it reflected the style of keris dating from the late Majapahit period. As noted in my reply to Kai above, contact of seafaring Sulu and Mindanao groups with various parts of the Majapahit Empire likely occurred well before the 16th C, so the rather late Bugis (?) example may be moot.
Well there is no question is my mind that this blade is NOT Bugis in origin, regardless of what dress it my have eventually ended up in or where it was collected. Since i had thought this discussion concerned the evolution of the Moro keris and what Indonesian cultures may have influenced it most i believe being accurate about the origin of this keris blade might be important to that conversation.
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Old 17th June 2024, 06:55 PM   #18
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Thanks Ian!! The more I visit the Forum the more I learn about ethnographic weapons.

Best,
Ed
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Old 17th June 2024, 10:25 PM   #19
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Hello Ed,

Quote:
Thanks for the gangay-blade explanation. "Tradition" does cover a lot of bases and is accepted by cultures as "Just the way it is" to be a proper kris"
There is lots of underlying meaning: However it apparently changed through time and, especially, between cultures. This would need a really long essay to do the topic justice...


Quote:
Also, I guess that the kris is more for Cultural Presentation than for mechanical strength for fighting.
The Moro kris has been an all-out fighting blade into at least the 1990s; during the colonial period, US soldiers considered kris wounds more deadly than those inflicted by the formidable barung.

The Indo-Malay keris was readily utilized in (very) close quarter fighting, too. Obviously, it's a specialized dagger and not designed to excel at chopping/cutting/etc.

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Kai
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Old 17th June 2024, 10:59 PM   #20
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Hello Ian,

Quote:
Whether or not it was a Bugis or Java keris, it reflected the style of keris dating from the late Majapahit period.
Actually, we don't know for sure!

There is no doubt that Mojopahit cultural influences carried over into subsequent ruling houses on Java (and elsewhere).

However, there are no extant "modern" keris blades (as the one early "collected" by the VOC) whose origin can be safely established to predate Mataram. Aside from the keris buda (a type which probably was already around in even earlier times), there is no specific style of keris that is surely known from the period when Mojo culture widely influenced much of maritime SE Asia.

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Kai
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Old 17th June 2024, 11:05 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by David View Post
Well there is no question is my mind that this blade is NOT Bugis in origin, regardless of what dress it may have eventually ended up in or where it was collected. Since i had thought this discussion concerned the evolution of the Moro keris and what Indonesian cultures may have influenced it most i believe being accurate about the origin of this keris blade might be important to that conversation.
Thank you David. Accuracy is important. Perhaps Albert van Z may like to comment further on this old keris.
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Old 17th June 2024, 11:32 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by kai View Post
... There is no doubt that Mojopahit cultural influences carried over into subsequent ruling houses on Java (and elsewhere).

However, there are no extant "modern" keris blades (as the one early "collected" by the VOC) whose origin can be safely established to predate Mataram. Aside from the keris buda (a type which probably was already around in even earlier times), there is no specific style of keris that is surely known from the period when Mojo culture widely influenced much of maritime SE Asia.

Regards,
Kai
Thanks Kai. Actually, I was going also on what Alan Maisey has written on his website about the origins of the modern keris and his reference to extant examples in monumental representations and in European collections:

Quote:
The earliest known monumental representation of a keris being used in the way that the Modern Keris is used, that is, as a rapier, is found at Candi Panataran (pre-dates 1454), in East Java, near Blitar. By 1437 the Modern Keris had appeared in monumental works at Candi Sukuh, and before the year 1600 the keris in Java had developed into a number of highly elaborate forms, some with a waved blade, and many with ornamental features that are virtually impossible to explain as having any practical function. These features must by their very nature, be viewed as iconographic.

We are able to fix the parameters of this period of change, as monumental depictions of the keris prior to 1300 show the Keris Buda form, and monumental depictions after 1300 begin to show the elongated form of the keris, which I refer to as the Modern Keris. The probability that the Modern Keris first appeared between 1300 and 1600 is further reinforced by the existence of a number of keris which entered Europe in the early years of the 17th century. In the Bargello Museum in Florence, Italy are three keris which entered Europe prior to 1631. These keris were once in the possession of the Medici Family, and their entry to Europe can be accurately dated. Other keris which entered Europe prior to 1700 can be found in several other museums in Europe, and a few of these pre-date 1600 (14). Many of these keris have been published (6), and in all cases these keris display a highly developed form that is very little different to the form of the Javanese keris in later periods, right through to today. Such sophisticated development in a comparatively short space of time, and from a very basic beginning does not occur without deliberate action to generate the development.
Alan provides a fairly clear date of 1300 CE for the appearance of the keris in its elongated "modern" form. The examples in European collections that pre-date 1600 do show the Modern Keris form, little different from what we see in later Javanese keris and can be found today.




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Old 17th June 2024, 11:40 PM   #23
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Hello Ian,

Quote:
The pre-1800 designation comes from Cato following his study of museum pieces (including Spanish examples), plus statements he obtained from Moro informants.
I have the book; and was asking for the features your opinion is based on.

I believe we already established here quite some time ago that Cato's dating for archaic Moro kris needs to be reconsidered and probably revised.


Quote:
I agree that it would be nice to have a clear timeline, but we don't.
I wasn't asking for exact dating - that's tough to establish.


Quote:
to find a well developed Moro kris form attributable to the late-16th or early-17th C may be expected. I believe that is what we see in this sword.
I beg to differ: This is not a typical archaic blade and I guess this actually is a later variant. I base this on the separation line, the blade proportions, the pronounced luk, the greneng style, etc. In addition, this type of inlay also seems later.

It's a really nice, old status blade. IMHO not an archaic Moro kris though.


Quote:
As a corollary, I would not be surprised if we found prototypes of the Moro kris dating from the 14th C or 15th C, or even earlier.
As mentioned in my posting #20, this may be too much of a stretch.


Quote:
In thinking about the early development of the kris in the southern Philippines, I believe that we may underestimate just how old the kris and other weaponry may be. This reflects, in part, the general lack of extant written history for the era prior to the Spanish arrival in the mid-16th C, and the paucity of good archeological research conducted throughout the Philippines.
Due to the non-extant (Chinese) and non-existing (European) nobility/museum acquisitions, we'll have to wait for properly documented and dated archeological finds.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 18th June 2024, 12:03 AM   #24
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Hello Ian,

Interesting thoughts:
Quote:
We came to the conclusion that should a Waray have acquired this sword through means other than conflict (i.e., through trade, intermarriage, or as a gift) it would have remained in Moro dress. To re-dress a distinguished Moro sword with a local hilt and scabbard would be considered an "abomination" by the Moro, and definitely an unfriendly and insulting thing to do. Therefore, we might reasonably conclude in this case that the sword was taken from a fallen Moro as a result of armed conflict.

The quality and mysticism of the sword requires that it was owned by royalty or perhaps a panglima. This, in turn, suggests a significant battle between Moros and Visayans. Several such battles occurred in the Visayas between the Moros and Spanish forces during what has been termed the third phase of the Spanish-Moro War (see here). Between 1599 and 1634 several large scale punitive raids were conducted by the Moros against the Spanish-held areas in the Visayas:
<snip>

I believe that this 35-year period of Moro incursions against the Spanish is the most likely time for this sword to have been collected by a Waray during conflict with Moro raiders. We have no record of the Waray coming into conflict with Moros elsewhere. Collection of the sword in the early 1600s would likely mean it was made towards the end of the 1500s or early 1600s. So late-16th to early-17th C would be my estimate for age.
This all is based on quite a few assumptions. Just as an example, fittings will usually rot away within several decades; in such case, even a revered gift blade will get refitted in local fittings rather than new fittings made in the original style.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 18th June 2024, 01:09 AM   #25
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Hello Ian,

Quote:
Actually, I was going also on what Alan Maisey has written on his website about the origins of the modern keris and his reference to extant examples in monumental representations and in European collections:


Alan provides a fairly clear date of 1300 CE for the appearance of the keris in its elongated "modern" form. The examples in European collections that pre-date 1600 do show the Modern Keris form, little different from what we see in later Javanese keris and can be found today.
Actually, Alan argues for the modern keris to appear around mid-14th century, possibly/probably during Gajahmuda's role as main royal advisor and military lead. Convincing idea and a good working hypothesis.

During this period, the keris seems to have been limited to very select members of society (i.e. the ruling class).

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Kai
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Old 18th June 2024, 01:31 AM   #26
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Quote:
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Hello Ian,

Interesting thoughts:

This all is based on quite a few assumptions. Just as an example, fittings will usually rot away within several decades; in such case, even a revered gift blade will get refitted in local fittings rather than new fittings made in the original style.

Regards,
Kai
Yes, scabbards and hilts do wear out and need replacing. However, there are examples where very old hilts remain and scabbards can be well preserved for centuries, even in the tropics. As far as a lot of assumptions, I think the arguments are plausible and provide the most coherent story for this sword. I doubt that we will find "smoking guns" for the history of the Moro kris. Rather, it will be like this one, drawing inferences based on history and judgement. There may be some items hidden away in Spanish or Filipino collections that could help, and one always hopes to find a gem in an auction. The information contained on this Forum's pages may be a rich source for future researchers also.

What I'm trying to do is put out reasoned ideas (hypotheses) that others can support or refute with new evidence. My main message with this sword is that the elements of what Cato calls "archaic kris" might be traced back to early in the 17th C, and possibly before. That's about 200 years earlier than Cato's "pre-1800" statement might suggest. I think that is an important point to pursue when thinking about the development of the Moro kris.
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Old 18th June 2024, 03:25 AM   #27
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... I beg to differ: This is not a typical archaic blade and I guess this actually is a later variant. I base this on the separation line, the blade proportions, the pronounced luk, the greneng style, etc. In addition, this type of inlay also seems later.
Hi Kai. Care to elaborate on these various points. I have been going through a number of online sites looking at what might be considered archaic kris. It is difficult to define a "typical" archaic kris based on the criteria you listed.

As to Cato's description, he did research older kris, visiting museums in various countries, talking to Moro informants, etc. While there are areas where he may be a bit off the mark, I don't think he was wildly off with his view of archaic kris. The man put in some serious hours getting his book together, probably more than you or I have in actual research of items in hand and in collections.

I understand your skepticism. However, the concerns you raise are not well validated and carry assumptions also. As mentioned earlier in this thread, I see a lot of cautious statements about the age of Moro weapons, lumping many into late-19th C or early-20th C pieces, when they may well be considerably older.

Returning to the sword at the top of this thread. There are several questions to answer if an alternative time frame is proposed. Most importantly is how and when did this old kris get re-dressed in an old-style Waray scabbard and hilt? I have pointed to the fact that such an action performed on a nobility kris would be seen as a hostile act by Moros. Why was this done? What was the historical relationship between Waray and Moro at that time? IMHO these questions are no less important in answering how old this kris may be than the finer details of the features of the kris itself.
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Old 18th June 2024, 03:42 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by kai View Post
Hello Ed,


There is lots of underlying meaning: However it apparently changed through time and, especially, between cultures. This would need a really long essay to do the topic justice...



The Moro kris has been an all-out fighting blade into at least the 1990s; during the colonial period, US soldiers considered kris wounds more deadly than those inflicted by the formidable barung.

The Indo-Malay keris was readily utilized in (very) close quarter fighting, too. Obviously, it's a specialized dagger and not designed to excel at chopping/cutting/etc.

Regards,
Kai
Halloo Kai, I was going to write a long response to discuss the "all-out fighting blade" part, but I decided to just write an article about it (it'll take some time, but when I'm done I'll link it here).

Although in summary, not all Moro krises were meant to be fighting blades. While all Moro krises (except for the tourist ones) were functional and sharp and capable of killing, not all of them were built with battlefield purpose in mind.
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Old 18th June 2024, 03:44 AM   #29
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Regarding archaic kris, I understand that there may be different views on what would qualify as "archaic" with regard to timeline, blade build, etc; however I believe that a round tang would automatically qualify a Moro kris as archaic.

That being said- it's not a foolproof indicator, as I've seen krises which had their tang replaced at a later era.
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Old 18th June 2024, 10:14 PM   #30
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Just a couple of facts to regain some attachment to reality:

I have looked into Spanish museums for some time now. Until now I haven't found any Kris from Phillipines in their collections that would predate 1800.

There, as Alan has pointed out many times, is a Kris, which probably everybody nowadays would call an "archaic" Moro Kris in its pure form. It comes from Brunei and was made in 1842.

-------------------

We have two tendencies. The first one I would call academic, it works with available dates, and treats these dates as facts. Everything else ranges between hypothesis and speculation.

The second is amateurs approach and is based on speculations going beyond the available dates.

The possible truth often enough is situated somewhere between these viewpoints in my opinion.


----------------------

What I personally see in the Kris from this thread is an old blade with very possibly reworked fretwork (Greneng in Javanese Terminology), conservatively datable from first half of 19th cent., in a dress from the turn of 19th/20th centuries.
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