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Old 4th February 2020, 01:33 AM   #1
xasterix
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Default Luzon blade - looking for similar samples

Greetings! I got this nifty, modern Luzon blade. I'm wondering if forum members have older samples. I'm trying to pin down the origin-location and oldest possible sample of this piece. Pictures (and possibly stories or providence) of blade samples are highly appreciated.

The blade is 13 inches in length, chisel-grind. The hilt is made of carabao horn. There is a leather throat-piece, and the scabbard is made of kamagong with accented metal bands.

I'm from Luzon, and I'm trying to go back to my roots by checking out both modern and dated blade pieces. Maraming salamat (thanks very much) to those who will share!
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Old 4th February 2020, 11:01 AM   #2
kai
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Hello Xas,

I haven't come across any additional antique examples.

To put things into perspective for the other forumites, here some examples that appeared in earlier threads:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=24672
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=24694

It would be really nice, if we were able to narrow down their origin(s) within southern Luzon (possibly including Batangas, too?).

Regards,
Kai
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Old 4th February 2020, 09:23 PM   #3
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Hi Kai, thanks for that heads-up- and yes I agree with you, I believe this piece originated somewhere from Southern Luzon, particularly in the CALABARZON area. I'm just curious why it's relatively scarce as compared to the other Luzon blades I've seen featured in this forum.

Still hoping someone else has an older sample somehow, somewhere...
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Old 10th February 2020, 11:34 PM   #4
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Well since people seem to not have the blade I asked about previously... I'll ask about this other sword instead. Does anyone have similar examples? It's found in Luzon as well. That sample is 23-inch blade, 6-inch hilt. Wondering if there are antique or vintage samples that would match this modern make.
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Old 12th February 2020, 10:13 AM   #5
Ian
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Hello again Xasterix:

Thanks for posting these two examples. I have gone back through records of swords and knives I have now or have owned in the past and came across a few that may be helpful. The first one relates to the knife you show at the top of the thread.

The blade in my first picture has a very similar profile to yours. The spine is relatively straight for most of its length before curving quite sharply to the cutting edge, while the edge itself is recurved. The blade on mine is laminated (as is obvious in the picture) and heavy. I don't have a measurement on record, but from memory the thickness just in front of the hilt was about 7 mm. The hilt was old dark horn that had been carved, flanked by two iron ferrules. The full length tang was peined over an end plate. The hilt was angled down, consistent with it being mainly a chopping implement. Judging from its appearance I would say this large knife was from the very early 20th C (perhaps a little older). My records show that I purchased it from a seller in the U.S. but I have no further provenance. The hilt to me shows a Spanish influence, and I am inclined to think it came from the Manila area or thereabouts and is probably Tagalog in origin.

The second blade from the top in the second picture and the second blade from the top in the third picture show narrow bladed pointed swords with "horse hoof" pommels on the hilts. The sword in my second picture (LUZ-1106) is the older of the two IMHO, pre-WWII and perhaps early 20th C. This sword has features suggesting to me that it is of Ilocano manufacture:
  • a multi-faceted ferrule, with those facets carried into the carving of the horn hilt;
  • a carved out "collar" before the horse hoof pommel, providing a notch for the little finger of the sword hand to rest in;
  • a small "button" capping the full length tang; and
  • a small bump at the end of the blade that serves like a mini-guard and prevents the forefinger from slipping forwards on to the cutting edge.
Some of these features are seen on swords and knives from other groups, but when found in combination like this on an older sword I believe they are highly suggestive of the Ilocano style and likely come from Ilocos Sur or Pangasinan. I have no provenance for this sword.

The sword on my third picture (LUZ-1062) was brought back to the U.S. by a USAF officer in the 1950s. I do not know where he bought it, but likely somewhere near the old Clark Air Force Base in Pampangas. Knives similar to the Ilocano style were certainly made in Pampangas (for example, in Apalit) and we have talked about those here. This sword has a hilt with some of the features noted above for Ilocano swords, but also has initials "JC" stamped at forte and we have seen those initials on swords and knives from Apalit, perhaps referring to one of the members of the Castro family who forged knives and swords there from the early 20th C up to at least the 1950s.

As far as the horse hoof pommel on your sword, I'm not sure if it is truly in the Ilocano style. The "pinky notch," which seems to be a regular feature on Ilocano swords and knives, is missing. However, the long slender blade is consistent with the examples I have shown, and I think your sword is at least in the same general family.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Ian.

P.S. You might also consider Tinguian as a possibility for your original knife (and my first picture). The little cut out (Spanish notch) on the blade adjacent to the hilt was discussed previously in the context of Tinguian/Ilocano knives. That discussion is here. Note the hilt in the example shown in that thread--horn flanked by two (brass) ferrules, with a full length tang.


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Last edited by Ian : 12th February 2020 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 12th February 2020, 03:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Hello again Xasterix:

Thanks for posting these two examples. I have gone back through records of swords and knives I have now or have owned in the past and came across a few that may be helpful. The first one relates to the knife you show at the top of the thread.

.



Dear Ian:

Thanks very much for generously providing me with samples! I know it'll probably take a while for me to connect the dots together, but it might interest you to know that I got both modern samples from Southern Luzon, not Northern. The blade hunt continues!

Sincerely,
Xas
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