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Old 14th May 2018, 03:25 PM   #61
David
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Thank you for that link. Interesting interpretation by Rose Schubert. I was hoping that this paper would have some data to support Ron's ideas, but it seems that Schubert was guessing as much as we are. Turning the hilt upside down, or switching the head for the tail as I suggested earlier in this thread, are different ways of looking at the representation, but we have no way of knowing if any of these interpretations are correct without clear data to support them.

Do we have any "clear data" to support that the pommel is a kakatau other than the say-so of Cato and what a few people have claimed they heard here or there? Clearly when you asked the question when you were in the Philippines you got a variety of answers for different dealers that you asks. Some seemed to think kakatau, some said eagle, others didn't know. I don't find it particularly surprising that they would be unaware that it might indeed represent a sarimanok. You could ask the average Javanese person about the deeper meanings of aspects of the keris and in this day and age you would indeed find that most would not be aware of any deeper significance, at least not anything specific. So much information about origins and symbolism has been lost in this region.
You wrote in response to Ron:
If Moro craftsmen did initially copy the style from more southern groups, and so far I know of no scholarship to suggest that they did not, then they may have chosen to keep the style for a variety of reasons. I have used a number of my kris and barung for cutting tests. The beak of the pommel forms a very comfortable resting place for the little finger, while the hypothenar eminence of the palm rests against the crest. This is an ergonomic design well suited to cutting and chopping, allowing the hand to firmly grasp the hilt and preventing slippage of the grip or twisting of the blade when striking. Thus, the adoption of the southern style pommel (kakatua) by the Moros may have had something to do with the ergonomics of the weapon.
Can you tell us what "southern style pommel (kakatau)" you are referring to here. AFAIK this style of pommel is of Moro origin. While it does sometime appear on Malay sundangs i don't believe i have ever seen one old enough on those weapons to be able to say the style originated in those areas. So i don't understand your theory here that this pommel form was adopted from a more southern area and then kept because its ergo dynamic design added in cutting and chopping.

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Old 14th May 2018, 06:43 PM   #62
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David:

All good points. I am not privy to any data Cato may have used. From the comment of van Duuren about the "general consensus" favoring a cockatoo, it appears that more than Cato have shared this opinion and that perhaps it was not his idea originally.

Just where the "cockatoo hilt" style may have originated is unclear. It could have been a migration northwards through Borneo similar to the wavy blade form of the keris. You say that there are no old examples of this hilt form that would support a southern influence. How old do they need to be? If we are talking about 17th or 18th C, then I believe that our forum host, Lee Jones, has an example from that era that was discussed on the old UBB forum (may it rest in peace). IIRC, that kris had a small cockatoo pommel in a style associated with Malaysia or Borneo. I'm away from my books at the moment, but again if I recall correctly Albert van Z. shows several Borneo kris with similar pommels in his book on the arms of the Indonesian Archipelago.

An alternative view is that the pommel style was a back diffusion, from north to south, with its origin in Moroland and then spreading back to Borneo and Malaysia. However, we need to look at the geopolitical forces operating a couple of hundred years ago. At that time the Sulu Archipelago was very much under the influence and control of the Brunei Sultanate. Influences tend to spread from those in power to the subordinate groups, rather than the other way around. How likely is it that a bunch of quarrelsome subordinate groups on the periphery of the Muslim world would influence weapons widely in the region? I don't know, and I don't think anyone else who might post here would know for sure either.

Frustratingly, we are left with a bunch of inductive ideas and very few ways of testing the hypotheses generated. We have one explanation for the shape of the pommel that another author has labeled a "consensus view." It seems to me that it is necessary to topple that idea before a new one can take its place. Which is to say that the "cockatoo hilt" idea stands until, through a deductive process, it can be shown to be wrong. [Obviously all ideas can be discussed and debated, but in the end there is only one that survives the test of truth.]

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Old 14th May 2018, 08:15 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian

Gustav,

Thank you very much for bringing this interpretation of the hilt to our attention and for noting van Duuren's comments. It is interesting to read that Schubert's views in 1985 ran contrary to the accepted notion that the pommel represented a cockatoo. The German exhibition preceded Cato's publications and the "general consensus" of a cockatoo being depicted on Moro weapons appears to have been around longer than Cato's work. That raises the question of when and how the cockatoo attribution started.

Ian.


Ian,

to me it seems that the German exhibition preceded Cato's book, but not the comments by van Duuren. He surely was influenced by Cato's view writing he's article on Schubert, as in the same bibliography under Cato, R., Moro Swords, he mentions "the hilt knob in Cackatoo (sic) shape" and writes: "Moro Swords is - at the time of writing - the definitive work on the Philippine kris."

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Old 14th May 2018, 08:47 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Gustav
Ian,

to me it seems that the German exhibition preceded Cato's book, but not the comments by van Duuren. He surely was influenced by Cato's view writing he's article on Schubert, as in the same bibliography under Cato, R., Moro Swords, he mentions "the hilt knob in Cackatoo (sic) shape" and writes: "Moro Swords is - at the time of writing - the definitive work on the Philippine kris."

Regards,
Gustav
Thanks Gustav.

Van Duuren's comments seem off the mark if he expected that she would have known about the cockatoo hilt theory in 1985, and Cato did not publish his book until about 10 years later! I'm thinking he had something else in mind when he wrote: "However, her views fail to take into account the general consensus that the knob of the Sulu kris represents a stylised bird's head, more specifically that of a cockatoo." A consensus implies agreement among several people, and his comment seems to indicate she should have known this in 1985. Curious.

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Old 15th May 2018, 01:28 AM   #65
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Ron, you are being a little disingenuous here. Every Filipino knows that carabao (or sometimes kalabaw) is the every day common term for the domesticated water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis carabanesis). That carabao might get transliterated to "caribou" is hardly surprising, although clearly incorrect. Nevertheless, the intent of the description is true, some of these pommels were made from carabao horn.


it's true, every Filipino worth its salt would know the term, and yes, i'm with you that the term "carabao" was most likely been transliterated to caribou, but the thing is, Joe Public from Missouri back in the 1920's who collected these bringback souvenirs doesn't know any better, and i highly doubt any Filipino back then would be able to correct him, or Bannerman for that matter. Just like the term "cockatoo"...
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Old 15th May 2018, 01:33 PM   #66
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Hello Ian,

Thanks for your added info!


Quote:
My principal Manila antiques dealer (who was Tagalog) said he thought it represented a cockatoo, based on discussion with his Muslim suppliers of arms (I did not get information about where these suppliers were from). Two dealers in Davao City (both Cebuano) said they did not know, but one thought it might be an eagle. One dealer from Zamboanga thought it was based on a parrot but then said he really did not know. Who knows what to make of this information. However, no mention was made of a mythical rooster.

Was the dealer from Zamboanga of Moro origin? I reckon the others are not really authoritative informants on Moro culture and any Moro runners (bringing the pieces in) may well have been ignorant at that late time period (or rather chosen to not divulge cultural knowledge to outsiders).

It sure is like pulling good teeth...

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Old 15th May 2018, 02:02 PM   #67
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Hello Ron,

Quote:
the earliest i've seen these pommels being referred to as cockatoo were in the catalogs during first quarter of the 20th century. in my humble opinion, someone started labeling them as cockatoo, without knowing what exactly they represent.

That's certainly plausible - we've seen that happening with quite some collectors' terminology and also science is often trottling along with "published" ideas until they get challenged by critical thinking and, especially, facts...

Alas, could you please add data? (I. e. citing those references you've found, especially the early ones!) I assume these are dealers' cats like Oldman? TIA!

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Old 15th May 2018, 03:00 PM   #68
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Hello Ian,

Quote:
Thank you for that link. Interesting interpretation by Rose Schubert. I was hoping that this paper would have some data to support Ron's ideas, but it seems that Schubert was guessing as much as we are.

Sorrily, she does not clearly state whether this is her own idea or gleaned from another source. As she doesn't give any citations when explaining this idea (while doing so elsewhere in the paper), one would tend to believe this was her own deduction; she also does not mention the sarimanok.

I certainly would be cautious of her suggestion that the bird is actually meant to be carrying the sword (blade). Or at least to utilize this assumption to argue for a "correct" orientation of the stylized figural carving.

Even for a warrior society like the Moro groups, most of the time a sword pommel will on display while carried in scabbard (i. e. with the pommel pointing up). However, this certainly is not its most crucial use, even for a status piece. Thus, the jury is still out on how any of these possibly/probably talismanic features were assumed to "work" by traditional Moro cultures.


Quote:
Turning the hilt upside down, or switching the head for the tail as I suggested earlier in this thread, are different ways of looking at the representation, but we have no way of knowing if any of these interpretations are correct without clear data to support them.

We certainly can look for additional hints from genuine pommels. The only example with a pretty compelling figural style that comes to my mind would be Chris' sarimanok kris (pics in post #50 above) and even that is stylized/ukilized enough to leave room for arguing if one wanted to play devil's advocate.


Quote:
The suggestion that having the wavy blade (naga) positioned above the representation of the bird would be inconsistent with the naga interpretation of the blade offered by Alan and Ron.

Not necessarily inconsistent IMHO. (And the other orientation would be not work out nicely as well.)

Undoubtably, there is lots of carry-over from earlier cosmologies into the Moro tradition(s); however, one would expect details to change/(d)evolve over time and there usually is enough flexibility to add another bonus feature or two...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 15th May 2018, 04:09 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by Ian
Frustratingly, we are left with a bunch of inductive ideas and very few ways of testing the hypotheses generated. We have one explanation for the shape of the pommel that another author has labeled a "consensus view." It seems to me that it is necessary to topple that idea before a new one can take its place. Which is to say that the "cockatoo hilt" idea stands until, through a deductive process, it can be shown to be wrong. [Obviously all ideas can be discussed and debated, but in the end there is only one that survives the test of truth.]

I'm afraid i completely disagree here. IF Cato's theory actually had been clearly sourced and references for his kakatau theory had been disclosed in his writings i might well agree. But simply because his idea is the only one published or that occasionally someone has mentioned that the kakatau theory is a "consensus view" (Consensus of whom exactly? When? Where? Why?) is not enough in my mind to validate it as the superior theory. It does not seem that the kakatau theory has been any more "tested" than the sarimanok one. I see no reason why both these theories should not be given equal standing as theories since neither can be seen as anything more than an inductive idea at this point. There is no substantial fact to be toppled here.
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Old 15th May 2018, 05:12 PM   #70
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I'm afraid I completely agree with David here.

We should compile data for both hypotheses (as well as looking out for additional claims) and compare their respective standing in due time.

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Kai
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Old 15th May 2018, 07:29 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by kai
I'm afraid I completely agree with David here.

We should compile data for both hypotheses (as well as looking out for additional claims) and compare their respective standing in due time.

Regards,
Kai

Hey Kai, maybe neither of us should be afraid. Peaceful co-existence of theories is not something that we need fear. LOL!
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Old 15th May 2018, 08:30 PM   #72
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Hello Ian,

Quote:
From the comment of van Duuren about the "general consensus" favoring a cockatoo, it appears that more than Cato have shared this opinion and that perhaps it was not his idea originally.

It sure wasn't his idea - Ron traced the notion back to the early 20th c.
It would be more interesting whether he had Moro informants confirming this view - he did not wrote that down though...


Quote:
Just where the "cockatoo hilt" style may have originated is unclear. It could have been a migration northwards through Borneo similar to the wavy blade form of the keris.

Well, the keris migrated over the sea. There are enough Malay coastal settlements around Borneo as well as other islands to allow for convenient "stepping stones" and keeping in touch.


Quote:
You say that there are no old examples of this hilt form that would support a southern influence. How old do they need to be? If we are talking about 17th or 18th C, then I believe that our forum host, Lee Jones, has an example from that era that was discussed on the old UBB forum (may it rest in peace). IIRC, that kris had a small cockatoo pommel in a style associated with Malaysia or Borneo.

Given the scarcity of well-provenanced pieces from the early colonial period, I doubt we'll ever know for sure. I also believe we should be very cautious with estimating the absolute (rather than relative) age of any pieces! With a lot of work, we may be able to establish lines of evolution but reliably linking those to "real" historical events will be more than tough IMVHO.

Also note that hilt types we currently associate with Malaya, may not have been confined to Malaya in earlier times nor necessarily being of Malay origin!


Quote:
I'm away from my books at the moment, but again if I recall correctly Albert van Z. shows several Borneo kris with similar pommels in his book on the arms of the Indonesian Archipelago.

The examples shown in Albert's book are not particularly old; most appear to be Moro blades that ended up in East Borneo.


Quote:
An alternative view is that the pommel style was a back diffusion, from north to south, with its origin in Moroland and then spreading back to Borneo and Malaysia. However, we need to look at the geopolitical forces operating a couple of hundred years ago. At that time the Sulu Archipelago was very much under the influence and control of the Brunei Sultanate. Influences tend to spread from those in power to the subordinate groups, rather than the other way around. How likely is it that a bunch of quarrelsome subordinate groups on the periphery of the Muslim world would influence weapons widely in the region? I don't know, and I don't think anyone else who might post here would know for sure either.

Well, knowing for sure sets the benchmark very high.

I'd posit that the keris sundang melayu got heavy influence from their Moro cousin till pretty recent times: You see a lot of Moro blades in Malay fittings but hardly any the other way around!

I also believe that you underestimate the Malay trading network which allowed for a continuous flux of trade goods all over the archipelago (additionally aided by traders of many other ethnic groups including Bugis, many Chinese groups, Arab, etc.): The most busy ports were true melting pots with wealthy inhabitants always on the look for cool stuff to display their status! This was going on despite political struggles and Machiavellian strategies. And, of course, more active Moro groups were all over the place with raiding parties and settlements (18th-19th c.).

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Kai
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Old 15th May 2018, 08:34 PM   #73
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Hello Ron,

Quote:
i'm with you that the term "carabao" was most likely been transliterated to caribou

Nowadays we'd blame autocorrection...

I believe this to be a mere printing error, i. e. a glitch/lapsus introduced during type-setting. Usually proof reading was done by competent specialists; however, this type of mistake is difficult to catch. And a mere catalog might have got less attention (and less funds allocated, too).

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Kai
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Old 20th June 2018, 04:19 AM   #74
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Ron,

I was looking through some old reference books and browsing Levine's Guide to Knives and Their Values, ed. Bud Lang, 5th edition, Krause Publishing:Iola, WI, 2001.

Several foreign knives are included in this encyclopedic book, and I have reproduced below the page that shows some Philippines knives. On p. 488 it shows a "Philippines (Northern Mindanao) Moro Dagger" (number G.8). In the description it refers to an "elaborate bird-head ("sarimanuk") hilt of a silver-copper alloy." It further notes that this knife has a "19th century blade in 20th century mounts." I have enlarged that item and posted it below--the pics are not very good owing to the low quality of the original printing.

The hilt style does seem 20th C. to me, maybe post-WWII, and resembles a style that I think was developed for marketing to tourists. Typically, these knives have elaborate hilts and guards with lots of curls. The copper alloy of the hilt and guard is often repeated in the scabbard, which is usually all metal. These highly decorative knives are fairly common and often have thin, poor quality blades made from sheet steel--wavy blades are found on them, and these have sharply pointed luk that likely indicate the waves have been ground rather than forged.

The ornamentation of these hilts resembles to me the depictions of feathers on the mythical sarimanok that you have referenced, and I wonder if this is where the idea that the hilt represents that creature may have arisen.

This is the only reference to a "sarimanuk hilt" I have been able to find.

Ian.


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Old 20th June 2018, 01:59 PM   #75
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When i search for "Sarimanok hilt" i find a good number of hits lead me to these very old (10-13 century) gold hilts. I do not believe these swords were kris per se, but this does seem to help establish the symbolic use of the Sarimanok within the culture as hilts and pommels for swords going back centuries ago.
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Old 20th June 2018, 04:47 PM   #76
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Hello David,

Quote:
When i search for "Sarimanok hilt" i find a good number of hits lead me to these very old (10-13 century) gold hilts. I do not believe these swords were kris per se, but this does seem to help establish the symbolic use of the Sarimanok within the culture as hilts and pommels for swords going back centuries ago.

There seems to be no extant sources corroborating that these hilts really were attributed to the same "mythological beast" originally nor has it been established that there is any continuous line of cultural descent. Arguing that the Maranao figurines are similar enough to the gold hilts to prove any connection seems overly enthusiastic to me to say the least.

Thus, I'm far from convinced that this attribution holds any water! I'll ask Lorenz - maybe he can point us to the origin of this attribution/story...

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Kai
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Old 20th June 2018, 04:58 PM   #77
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Thanks, Ian!

Quote:
I was looking through some old reference books and browsing Levine's Guide to Knives and Their Values, ed. Bud Lang, 5th edition, Krause Publishing:Iola, WI, 2001.

Several foreign knives are included in this encyclopedic book, and I have reproduced below the page that shows some Philippines knives. On p. 488 it shows a "Philippines (Northern Mindanao) Moro Dagger" (number G.8). In the description it refers to an "elaborate bird-head ("sarimanuk") hilt of a silver-copper alloy." It further notes that this knife has a "19th century blade in 20th century mounts." I have enlarged that item and posted it below--the pics are not very good owing to the low quality of the original printing.

The hilt style does seem 20th C. to me, maybe post-WWII, and resembles a style that I think was developed for marketing to tourists. Typically, these knives have elaborate hilts and guards with lots of curls. The copper alloy of the hilt and guard is often repeated in the scabbard, which is usually all metal. These highly decorative knives are fairly common and often have thin, poor quality blades made from sheet steel--wavy blades are found on them, and these have sharply pointed luk that likely indicate the waves have been ground rather than forged.

The ornamentation of these hilts resembles to me the depictions of feathers on the mythical sarimanok that you have referenced, and I wonder if this is where the idea that the hilt represents that creature may have arisen.

I'm not aware of a single antique example of this (hilt) type. Chances are that this is a modern invention by Marawi craftsmen (most likely post-WW2 as you suggest) which received a well-selling attribution...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 20th June 2018, 07:35 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by kai
There seems to be no extant sources corroborating that these hilts really were attributed to the same "mythological beast" originally nor has it been established that there is any continuous line of cultural descent. Arguing that the Maranao figurines are similar enough to the gold hilts to prove any connection seems overly enthusiastic to me to say the least.

I am arguing nothing here Kai, simply presenting information for consideration. That is why i said that these images "seem to help establish" rather than "here is the evidence that this is true."
I do believe, however, that one can find a great deal of commonality between these old bird-like gold hilts and various depictions of the Sarimanok. They do indeed seem to be abstract bird heads and they look quite similar to many established depictions of Sarimanok.
Here is some further information about the Sarimanok gathered from the internet. There are numerous origin stories so it is difficult sorting out what the actual development of this mythological beast actually is, but it is clearly an old and important symbolic creature to the region while one can find little to nothing showing the importance of kakatau (cockatoo) to the Moro.
BTW, it does seem that most sources of information that i encounter seem to define the word "Sarimanok" as Sari-article of clothing, usually colorful and Manok-chicken or bird. So the Sairmanok is seen as a colorfully dressed bird. In some stories it seems to have its roots with the Maranao totem bird called Itotoro who has an invisible spirit twin called Inikadowa and together they act as a medium to the spirit world.
Another theory is the the Sarimanok came from the Garuda and then developed into its own creature. It does appear, however, that it did exist in Maranao lore before the arrival of the Spanish.
The FMA blog linked here cites its use as a symbol of resistance against the Spanish. Perhaps another reason why such a symbolic presence might end up being represented on a kris used to fight in such resistance.
And yes, none of this is particularly back up by any strong extant sources that Kai (and i believe all of us) would like to see. But i must remind you Cato's hypothesis that the pommel of the kris that we speak about here might represent a kakatau does not really have any more evidence behind it either.

http://pinoy-culture.com/the-sarima...-of-lake-lanao/

http://12fma.blogspot.com/2008/06/s...ino-spirit.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarimanok
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Old 20th June 2018, 10:26 PM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Thanks, Ian!

I'm not aware of a single antique example of this (hilt) type. Chances are that this is a modern invention by Marawi craftsmen (most likely post-WW2 as you suggest) which received a well-selling attribution...

Regards,
Kai
Hi Kai:

Yes, I agree. The fanciful metal hilts and sheaths with baroque-like flourishes seem to be late 20th C. and made in Mindanao. When I visited Zamboanga in the 1990s I found them in the markets and tourist areas where they were moderately inexpensive souvenirs. The blades were disappointing and some were not even sharpened. They were also to be found in tourist outlets in Metro Manila (Intramuros, Makati, Quezon City, etc.) around the same time.


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Old 20th June 2018, 10:50 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by David
I am arguing nothing here Kai, simply presenting information for consideration. That is why i said that these images "seem to help establish" rather than "here is the evidence that this is true."
I do believe, however, that one can find a great deal of commonality between these old bird-like gold hilts and various depictions of the Sarimanok. They do indeed seem to be abstract bird heads and they look quite similar to many established depictions of Sarimanok.
Here is some further information about the Sarimanok gathered from the internet. There are numerous origin stories so it is difficult sorting out what the actual development of this mythological beast actually is, but it is clearly an old and important symbolic creature to the region while one can find little to nothing showing the importance of kakatau (cockatoo) to the Moro.
BTW, it does seem that most sources of information that i encounter seem to define the word "Sarimanok" as Sari-article of clothing, usually colorful and Manok-chicken or bird. So the Sairmanok is seen as a colorfully dressed bird. In some stories it seems to have its roots with the Maranao totem bird called Itotoro who has an invisible spirit twin called Inikadowa and together they act as a medium to the spirit world.
Another theory is the the Sarimanok came from the Garuda and then developed into its own creature. It does appear, however, that it did exist in Maranao lore before the arrival of the Spanish.
The FMA blog linked here cites its use as a symbol of resistance against the Spanish. Perhaps another reason why such a symbolic presence might end up being represented on a kris used to fight in such resistance.
And yes, none of this is particularly back up by any strong extant sources that Kai (and i believe all of us) would like to see. But i must remind you Cato's hypothesis that the pommel of the kris that we speak about here might represent a kakatau does not really have any more evidence behind it either.

http://pinoy-culture.com/the-sarima...-of-lake-lanao/

http://12fma.blogspot.com/2008/06/s...ino-spirit.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarimanok
David:

Thanks for the additional research. I found the article on the Pinoy-Culture site particularly helpful in setting out diverse theories about the origins of the sarimanok. The blog comments are interesting opinions but offer less than the other article.

Because Filipino web sites tend to disappear over time, I downloaded these article and post them here as PDF files for future reference.

Ian.

--------------Attachment: Copies of Sarimanok Articles---------------
.
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File Type: pdf Sarimanok.pdf (1.77 MB, 21 views)
File Type: pdf Sarimanok 2.pdf (91.5 KB, 25 views)
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Old 21st June 2018, 12:09 AM   #81
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David:

Thanks for the additional research. I found the article on the Pinoy-Culture site particularly helpful in setting out diverse theories about the origins of the sarimanok. The blog comments are interesting opinions but offer less than the other article.

Because Filipino web sites tend to disappear over time, I downloaded these article and post them here as PDF files for future reference.

Ian.

--------------Attachment: Copies of Sarimanok Articles---------------
.

I agree Ian. What i did find relevant about the blog article was that it had a martial arts perspective and spoke about the Sarimanok as being used as a symbol of resistance against the Spanish. But as i also pointed out, there are no points of reference for these observations so it's hard to say what the truth is here.
Thanks for copying them though. I hate when links disappear.
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Old 21st June 2018, 04:26 AM   #82
A. G. Maisey
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This Sarimanok thing has got me intrigued, but I cannot speak the Maranao language, and since it appears that the Sarimanok first appeared within Maranao culture it is essential that anybody attempting to fathom the original meaning and intent of the word "Sarimanok" must begin by gaining a knowledge of the language, then the culture and society.

So, rather than assemble all of the possible meanings for the two words "sari" and "manok" why not home in on the language of the people who first gave birth to the Sarimanok?

The word "sari" is found in Malay, Indonesian, Javanese, Old Javanese, Sundanese, Balinese. In these languages it has a number of meanings, some related, some unrelated, and it can also be a woman's name.

It would surprise me if it did not have a number of meanings in the Maranao language also, and the probable meaning to choose then becomes a matter of context.

Incidentally, the word "sari" with various accented pronunciations, as well as "sati" and "sara" with a similar number of accented pronunciation variations also appear in Sanscrit. The origin of the word "sari" is far from a settled matter amongst those people who make the study of language their profession.

The word "manuk/manok" appears to be indigenous Malay, and again, where it appears in an Indonesian language it can have a variety of applications, but principally it means "bird".

What is the correct meaning of the word "manok/manuk" in the Maranao language?

When it is understood clearly exactly what the word "Sarimanok" means within an enlightened Maranao cultural context, then perhaps it may be possible go behind this first level of understanding by probing the Maranao cultural understanding of the idea of "Sarimanok".

Possibly when the matter is thoroughly understood, we may find that there is a relationship between the Sarimanok as a pommel and ancestor/dewa/dewi as ancestor that applies with weapon hilts of other Indianised SE Asian states.

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Old 21st June 2018, 09:10 AM   #83
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Alan,

I agree with much of what you say about understanding the Maranao language and culture. However, the present discussion refers back to the shape of the hilt that Cato has termed kakatua. This shape is not peculiarly Maranao and features prominently among all Moro groups--including the Maguindanao, the various groups in the Sulu Archipelago, and those in N. Borneo and the Brunei Sultanate. The style has also been identified in Malaysian examples.

It would seem that we need to look beyond the Maranao if Ron's thesis is to be tested. That's a substantial task if we are to understand the meaning of sarimanok among all these groups, or even whether sarimanok has a significant meaning for groups other than the Maranao.

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Old 21st June 2018, 11:47 AM   #84
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Yes Ian, I do understand that the discussion concerns the shape of the hilt and whether it actually represents a kakatau or a sarimanok.

I have no intention at all of getting involved in this, simply because I believe I would need to devote far more time than I have available to assemble a cultural, societal and linguistic base that would permit me to provide a defensible opinion.

However, to my way of thinking, and I acknowledge that my way of thinking is very often out of synch with most of the people who contribute to this Forum, to my way of thinking it is absolutely essential to gain an understanding of exactly how the Sarimanok is understood by the people within the Maranao community who have the indigenous cultural knowledge that would enable those people to form a valid opinion in respect of the way in which the Sarimanok can be legitimately understood.

Once that understanding, which is the cultural property of the people who originated the idea of the Sarimanok, is available to people who are outside the framework of Maranao culture and society, then, and only then might it become possible for those "outsiders" to attempt to understand sufficient to form an opinion on the validity of Sarimanok or of kakatua.

I know virtually nothing of Maranao culture, but I do have a pretty solid grasp of the belief patterns of the peoples of the Indianised states of SE Asia. It is my feeling --- I emphasise "feeling" --- that when this matter finally comes to an acceptable conclusion that we shall be able to see connections between the cultural relevance of these Maranao hilts, and the cultural relevance of other weapon hilts throughout Maritime SE Asia, most especially in those parts of SE Asia that can be regarded as having been subject to influence from the Indian Sub-Continent.

But before any of that can happen I believe it is necessary to come to a valid understanding of exactly what it is that is under discussion, and the core of this discussion is centered around two physical things that in their cultural settings have become ideas. My approach to this riddle would be to first attempt to understand those ideas from a Maranao perspective. I would not focus on form and personal opinion, these could come later.

In any case, it is an interesting discussion, even if it seems to be going nowhere. I'm enjoying it.
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