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Old 12th January 2019, 02:43 PM   #1
Bill M
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Default #1490 Panabas - Robert Cato's "Moro Swords."

Thought you would also like this. One of my very favorite pieces. We also acquired the shield in the picture.
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Old 12th January 2019, 05:11 PM   #2
kai
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Hello Bill,

That's a neat set you snapped up from Fred - it's been a while!

This panabas surely looks like meant for some heavy chopping...


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We also acquired the shield in the picture.

I like that shield even better - a really old example!

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Old 12th January 2019, 05:24 PM   #3
Marbel
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Hello All and a belated Happy New Year,

Iím wondering about the markings/pattern along the top edge of the panabas blade near the handle. Has anyone done a study on these designs relative to them being a marker for a certain specific maker or group, time period or of any other significance aside from decoration?

Thank you,
Craig
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Old 12th January 2019, 05:54 PM   #4
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Hello Craig,

Quote:
Iím wondering about the markings/pattern along the top edge of the panabas blade near the handle. Has anyone done a study on these designs relative to them being a marker for a certain specific maker or group, time period or of any other significance aside from decoration?

These are usually assumed to be talismanic. Kind of a tough subject to dig into though.

You find these markings over pretty much the whole archipelago; I don't know of any study which tried to explore these over space and time.

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Kai
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Old 12th January 2019, 07:53 PM   #5
CharlesS
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This is a lovely, period, panabas.

The shield I am less convinced is Moro. Fifteen years ago I would have insisted it was Moro as a result of the hand and arm grips, but now I have seen far too many of the same type of shields from all over SE Asia, including Burma, Thailand, and Indonesia. Their construction is generally similar to what you see here but may alter in detail to some degree. Note the example in this old photo of Balinese warriors. The shield is virtually identical in construction, but with a central spike. Indeed, the one Bill has pictured has a central hole where perhaps a spike of that type may have been, or perhaps some other type of plug.

If there is specific provenance to identify the shield then we know it is Moro, if not, until I see period photos of Moros with such shields, or better references, I will be tempted to believe it is from elsewhere in SE Asia.
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Old 12th January 2019, 08:33 PM   #6
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Hello Charles,

Thanks for your comment!


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The shield I am less convinced is Moro. Fifteen years ago I would have insisted it was Moro as a result of the hand and arm grips, but now I have seen far too many of the same type of shields from all over SE Asia, including Burma, Thailand, and Indonesia. Their construction is generally similar to what you see here but may alter in detail to some degree.

You certainly have a point here - rattan shields are known from many cultures in SEA. It would be great to see details, especially from the backside to allow for some detailed analysis! Certainly a dedicated thread would be best as not to detract from the panabas.

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Kai
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Old 12th January 2019, 09:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marbel
Hello All and a belated Happy New Year,

Iím wondering about the markings/pattern along the top edge of the panabas blade near the handle. Has anyone done a study on these designs relative to them being a marker for a certain specific maker or group, time period or of any other significance aside from decoration?

Thank you,
Craig


Hi Craig,
I am glad to see someone interested in the markings found on these weapons, which is a topic so esoteric that it is seldom addressed in the literature, or here for that matter. Typically most seem to regard such designs as being talismanic, in mostly a 'catch all' sense, without deeper explanation. Many presume 'aesthetic' value on such designs as simply favored in the manner of 'arabesque' motifs used to fill empty space.


These designs are common on the back of SE Asian and many edged weapons of the archipelagos. I once had a dao which was a Viet Nam bringback, and in researching similar designs on it I reached an anthropology professor who had written a book on the Hmong tribes of Montagnards. She then reached some of the tribal elders she was in contact with, who recognized the weapon from photos as 'one of theirs, actually even to a distinct region of Laos. They described some of these and other marks as having certain tribal identifiers and symbolism, however I felt uncertain of any deeper meaning. They did not see to signify makers or time period etc.


I am with you in these interests in markings etc. which are too often overlooked in the study of weapons. It seems like there were some notations in Cato's book but cannot recall. The best place to find more on these things is references on arts and crafts of the culture or regions being studied, as these authors often offer more depth from artistic perspective.
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Old 12th January 2019, 11:36 PM   #8
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Fred was certain it was Moro. He called it especially rare as rattan was more fragile than wood. My first thought was the handles were added later. The shield construction is first rate and the handles much more crude.

Starting new thread.

Last edited by Bill M : 13th January 2019 at 10:46 AM.
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