Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 16th January 2016, 09:17 AM   #1
Aslan Paladin
Member
 
Aslan Paladin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Te Aroha, New Zealand
Posts: 121
Default Ivory Hilt Barong for Sharing

Greetings.

I've just won this ivory-hilted barong sword from a local auction site here in New Zealand. It was described by the seller as a bring back sword from Malaya/Borneo by a NZ officer and dates from the 19th century. The ivory hilt has a horn spacer after the silver ferrule with twine wrapping for easy grip. The hilt is carved in the form of a stylised dragon head or naga which I think is rather quite rare. The blade looks like a typical single-edged barong blade with probable lamination patterns. The pictures are from the seller.

Cheers,
Algelan
Attached Images
      

Last edited by Aslan Paladin : 17th January 2016 at 04:11 AM.
Aslan Paladin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2016, 02:12 PM   #2
Aslan Paladin
Member
 
Aslan Paladin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Te Aroha, New Zealand
Posts: 121
Default

Here are additional pictures. Comments are most welcome.
Attached Images
    
Aslan Paladin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2016, 03:24 PM   #3
CharlesS
Member
 
CharlesS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Greenville, NC
Posts: 1,780
Default

Thanks so much for sharing. This is one of the most unique Moro pieces I have seen in a long time! While I have seen hilt pommels with monster motifs, I have never seen one in that exact style. I think you have a "one of a kind" type hilt there.

I am curious about the way the grip cord is wrapped around the pommel. Why cover such lovely work? Can you tell if it has been that way a very long time, or perhaps, was done later?

Congrats on a great piece!
CharlesS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2016, 03:42 PM   #4
Robert
EAAF Staff
 
Robert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Centerville, Kansas
Posts: 2,196
Default

Wonderful barong and unbelievably with what looks to be no damage to the hilt. While these hilts are rare if I remember correctly I believe Kino has one in his collection that is very similar to the one you have just acquired. Hopefully he will see this and post a photo or two for comparison. My congratulations to you for winning this most beautiful and unusual piece for your collection.

Best,
Robert
Robert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2016, 03:47 PM   #5
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Morava - Olomoucký kraj - Czech Republic
Posts: 1,574
Default

Not my area of collecting but quality is recognizable in any area of arms and armour. Thanks for posting.
Iain is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2016, 08:31 PM   #6
Helleri
Member
 
Helleri's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Boulder Creek, CA.
Posts: 181
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Thanks so much for sharing. This is one of the most unique Moro pieces I have seen in a long time! While I have seen hilt pommels with monster motifs, I have never seen one in that exact style. I think you have a "one of a kind" type hilt there.

I am curious about the way the grip cord is wrapped around the pommel. Why cover such lovely work? Can you tell if it has been that way a very long time, or perhaps, was done later?

Congrats on a great piece!


Look at the 3rd picture down again. There is sun bleaching/weathering that has only occurred between the gaps of the cord. Looks like the cord has shifted around a bit as well. In any case I'd wager it's been like that for a long time.

Could it be original? I am wondering about how that cord is secured at the blade base end. I can't quite tell from the pictures. But it looks like that knot might be tied through a hole or notch in the blade?

All speculation just based on what I can actually see of course...But, if the blade or fitting have an accommodation that looks like it is specifically for tying that cord onto...then taking with the color difference of where the cord does and does not touch. I would really suspect that it may be an original wrap.

Beautiful blade...But the eyebrow raising thing for me is definitely that cord job. would be very interested to know more about that part of it specifically.
Helleri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2016, 08:54 PM   #7
Aslan Paladin
Member
 
Aslan Paladin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Te Aroha, New Zealand
Posts: 121
Default

I was really awe-strucked at first to see this barong being offered in an auction here as I realised this hilt style is rare, done in a quite identifiable dragon's head, and I haven't seen another one in ivory. Ashokaarts sold a monster head ivory hilted barong before but it was more stylised than this one. I know that Kino and Artzi have similar ones, both wooden hilt. The seller labeled it as a Dyak head hunter's head knife.

I was also puzzled why there were cord wrappings on an apparent status sword. I would have to wait for a week at least for the sword to be sent to me by the seller, so I wouldn't be able to inspect it before my eyes till then. However, based on what I can see, I am of the opinion it was done a long time ago. Aesthetically it does seem to distract from the elegant beauty of the hilt. I was thinking at one point to remove it once I get the sword but has decided against it as I wouldn't want to tamper with the sword's history.

Thanks for the comments gentlemen.

Last edited by Aslan Paladin : 17th January 2016 at 07:36 AM.
Aslan Paladin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2016, 10:05 PM   #8
Aslan Paladin
Member
 
Aslan Paladin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Te Aroha, New Zealand
Posts: 121
Default

In response to Robert, here is a comparison with Kino's barong (the wooden one). The ivory hilted one Kino uses as his avatar would be nice to see.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Aslan Paladin : 17th January 2016 at 06:54 AM.
Aslan Paladin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2016, 03:47 AM   #9
DaveS
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 327
Default

Asian Paladin: I have a barong with the same kind of hilt, only in black horn. Handles like these are indeed very rare and you are indeed very fortunate to have acquired one of this type. Yes, i think Albert does have one of these with an ivory handle........Dave.
DaveS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2016, 06:47 AM   #10
VANDOO
(deceased)
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: OKLAHOMA, USA
Posts: 3,138
Thumbs up

THIS STYLE OF HANDLE IS RARE BUT I HAVE SEEN A FEW OVER THE YEARS. I HAVE ONE WITH A WOOD HANDLE, I WILL SEE IF I CAN TAKE A PICTURE TO POST HERE SOON. ONE FORUM MEMBER HAS ONE WITH AN IVORY HANDLE AND USES IT FOR HIS AVATAR. HERE ARE TWO PICTURES OF ONE WITH AN IVORY HANDLE I DON'T REMEMBER WHO OWNS THEM OR WHERE I GOT THE PICTURES. HERE ARE TWO PICTURES OF ONE WITH A WOODEN HANDLE THAT ORIENTAL ARMS HAD. YOU ARE A LUCKY MAN TO ACQUIRE ONE.
Attached Images
    
VANDOO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2016, 07:34 AM   #11
Aslan Paladin
Member
 
Aslan Paladin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Te Aroha, New Zealand
Posts: 121
Default

Vandoo - I think the ivory naga barong picture you just posted is the one that belongs to Kino and appears as his avatar. And that is the wooden-hilt naga barong Artzi has in his gallery item which I mentioned earlier.

Robert - Kino's barong and mine do look similar although mine has a broken top crest where part of the twine wrapping is anchored on and the horn spacer doesn't have circular inlays.

DaveS - I feel very lucky indeed and I was really on edge just as the auction was ending because I thought a serious collector wouldn't miss this and would go hard after it at all costs, massively outbidding me in the process. Luckily it was mislabeled so probably went under the radar. Only two other people placed bids on it but didn't mount a very serious challenge.

Helleri - I can't see any hole at the base of the blade or a notch for the twine wrap to pass through. I think it just loops around the base of the blade and then knotted. But I would definitely be able to tell and confirm what is the real deal once the sword arrives.

CharlesS - I guess my barong is more of 'two of a kind' along with Kino's. Probably it was a memory of seeing his posted somewhere around here which got me thinking "Haven't I seen this sword before?" I wonder if there are more distinctively identifiable (right down to the eyes) ivory naga hilt barongs somewhere out there.

Iain - It is a quality sword indeed.

Last edited by Aslan Paladin : 18th January 2016 at 05:47 AM.
Aslan Paladin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2016, 03:40 PM   #12
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 7,242
Default

Hello Aslan,

great catch! Also when a little piece of ivory is missing it's a most beautiful barong.

I think that the cord was attached by the native to have a better grip, please don't open it, it belong to the history of this sword.

Regards,
Detlef
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2016, 10:17 PM   #13
Robert
EAAF Staff
 
Robert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Centerville, Kansas
Posts: 2,196
Default

Quote:
I think that the cord was attached by the native to have a better grip, please don't open it, it belong to the history of this sword.


I totally agree with Detlef on this point, removing the cord to me would be removing part of the history of this beautiful barong.

Best,
Robert
Robert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2016, 10:56 PM   #14
Spunjer
Member
 
Spunjer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Witness Protection Program
Posts: 1,720
Default

Wow! It truly is a one of a very rare piece. And yes, I'm pretty sure the blade is laminated, no doubt. Regarding the cord; IMHO,is original. Notice where it's looped; around the neck of the Naga.. it appears to me as if it's a form of symbolism, as in the owner has a leash on the Naga.
Congrats!
Spunjer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2016, 12:28 AM   #15
Battara
EAAF Staff
 
Battara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,688
Default

Congratulations! I am so happy for you (grumble, grumble, envy, envy ).

Indeed a crazy rare barong example. Your's is now the 3rd I have seen (Ashokaarts sold one years ago).

What is also nice is that the naga head on yours has 2 horn eyes. And I agree that the blade is laminated - I can see some already. And again I agree with Spunger (don't get a big head Ron! ) that the cord should stay put and is original. Take it off, and the rest of the wrapping may fall apart.


One day when I grow up, I may get one too...(grumble, grumble, envy, envy ).........


Again congratulations and thanks for posting this. Perhaps more close up pictures after you receive it.
Battara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2016, 02:32 AM   #16
kino
Member
 
kino's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 769
Default

Congrats on winning the Barung.
There is no mistaking the carving for other than a Naga.

Here is a photo of the hilt on my Barung beside the hilt on DaveS example, (which is published in Cato's book). Almost a negative image of each other.

All three are so similar that it makes me wonder if they're the products of the same carver.
Attached Images
 
kino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2016, 04:09 AM   #17
Aslan Paladin
Member
 
Aslan Paladin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Te Aroha, New Zealand
Posts: 121
Default

Detlef - Yes, I agree. I think the cord wrap was done by a native a long time ago and so culturally appropriate (and makes it more interesting). The missing piece of ivory crest tells an interesting story as well.

Robert - Don't worry, I value and respect history so I wouldn't tamper with the cord wrapping. It also gives this sword a more unique identity among the known existing ivory naga-hilted barongs.

Ron - That's an interesting perspective, the cord looped around the neck of the naga symbolizing mastery of the sword wielder over the power of the mythic monster. So this makes it "The Bound Naga".

Battara - I was also thinking that the way the cord wrapping was done might not only to provide a better grip but also to stabilise the hilt, so I would leave it alone. I'll post pictures of it together with the rest of the 'family' when it arrives.

Kino - I was also thinking that, maybe a master carver made all three hilts. Would the well-defined hilt as an animal form indicate that the carver was a non-Moro, like a Chinese perhaps (as a lot of naga hilts are anamorphic in depiction)?
Aslan Paladin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2016, 04:47 AM   #18
Aslan Paladin
Member
 
Aslan Paladin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Te Aroha, New Zealand
Posts: 121
Default

Here are all three nagas side by side.
Attached Images
 
Aslan Paladin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2016, 09:33 AM   #19
carlos
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 705
Default

wowww !! Congratulations with this great piece !! To me one of the most beatiful pommels to a barong.
Thanks for sharing
carlos
carlos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2016, 06:27 PM   #20
VANDOO
(deceased)
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: OKLAHOMA, USA
Posts: 3,138
Default

MY EXAMPLE IS A BARONG BUT IT HAS A MUCH LONGER THINNER BLADE THAN THE OTHERS PICTURED HERE. IT IS 27.25 IN LONG IN SCABBARD WITH A BLADE 18.75 IN. LONG BY 1 AND FIVE EIGHTS INCHES WIDE. I HAVE HAD IT SINCE 2006 IT DOES HAVE WEAR AND PATINA AND PERHAPS A WATERED STEEL BLADE BUT NOT OBVIOUSLY SO. THERE IS IVORY INSET FOR THE EYES AND ALONG THE BACK OF THE NAGA'S NECK. SILVER FERRULE WITH DESIGNS AND CARVED DESIGNS ON THE SCABBARD. IT WAS SAID TO BE MORO COMING FROM THE SULU AREA MINDANAO ISLAND. BANTI WOOD HANDLE AND OKIER CARVED DESIGN ON FERRULE AND SCABBARD. SORRY FOR THE PICTURE QUALITY, SHADOWS AND COLOR BEING OFF A BIT BUT ITS THE BEST I COULD DO.
Attached Images
       
VANDOO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2016, 08:01 PM   #21
CharlesS
Member
 
CharlesS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Greenville, NC
Posts: 1,780
Default

Well, so much for my idea of a 'one of a kind' pommel, but certainly these must be among the rarest of Moro barong hilts. I wonder if anything similar can be found on a kriss??

All beautiful pieces, by the way!
CharlesS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st January 2016, 01:44 PM   #22
Battara
EAAF Staff
 
Battara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,688
Default

I wouldn't say that the carvings are by non-Moro artisans. I have seen some great carving done by them as well as Chinese descent Moros.

This naga is very Moro.

Charles - not seen any of this type on a kris so far.
Battara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2016, 03:30 PM   #23
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,100
Default

Vandoo:

Thanks for sharing your slim barung with the Naga hilt Barry. I would suggest another possible origin for this one. The slim barung style is occasionally seen on swords from Palawan, and the okired scabbard with a Visayan-style hanger is also found there. I have seen similar barung from there but not with a Naga hilt. The silver(?) ferrule on yours is also a little unusual and consistent with a Palawan origin.

A rare piece in my experience.

Ian.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th December 2016, 03:34 PM   #24
Aslan Paladin
Member
 
Aslan Paladin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Te Aroha, New Zealand
Posts: 121
Default

Better late than never. As promised here are photos of the ivory naga barong with the best of my Moro weapons collection. Enjoy.
Attached Images
  
Aslan Paladin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th December 2016, 09:56 PM   #25
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 7,242
Default

Very, very nice!
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th December 2016, 12:11 AM   #26
zeus74
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 7
Default

that's badik, in sulawesi. maybe crafted batoala style. i'm indonesian.
zeus74 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th December 2016, 02:56 AM   #27
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,100
Default

Lovely collection and the naga hilt is a rare find. Ian
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th December 2016, 08:57 PM   #28
ArmsAndAntiques
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 80
Default

Hello,

I may be out of my league in the Moro area but can someone more knowledgeable comment on whether the blade displays some signs of watering or wootz.

The last photo of the original post shows what I would characterize as wootz, but perhaps this is not known on Moro origin pieces, and is reflective of other forging used on Moro barong blades.

Regards
LL
ArmsAndAntiques is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th December 2016, 09:13 PM   #29
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 7,242
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmsAndAntiques
.....the blade displays some signs of watering or wootz.

The last photo of the original post shows what I would characterize as wootz, but perhaps this is not known on Moro origin pieces, and is reflective of other forging used on Moro barong blades.


This will be a fine lamination.
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th December 2016, 09:40 PM   #30
ArmsAndAntiques
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 80
Default

I attach a photo from the original poster highlighted. This to me, from this photo, looks like strong contrast kara taban wootz.

I've seen quite a few Moro pieces, and though not an expert in that region, cannot say I've seen similar lamination on those kinds of sword, or quite frankly many other blades that are laminated as opposed to watered.

Perhaps Asian Paladin can post some more images of this part of the blade.

One would imagine that if Indonesian parangs were mounted with Persian or Indian wootz blades and that Moro smiths were skilled enough to make exceptional quality twistcore then a wootz forged blade would be in the realm of possibility.

If combining that with the fact that barongs often had Chinese smith forged blades and there is strong evidence of the Chinese using wootz billets to make blades then could such an exceptional, perhaps Datu's barong, have been forged with wootz to signify the importance of the owner?
Attached Images
 
ArmsAndAntiques is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 09:49 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.