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Old 21st August 2018, 07:53 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Centerville, Kansas
Posts: 2,182
Default Copper And Brass Philippine Dagger

As I have not posted anything for awhile I thought that I would start by posting one of my latest additions to my Philippine copper and brass bladed dagger and knife collection. A beautiful little copper bladed dagger absolutely loaded with symbolism.
Below are the measurements as well as part of an ongoing discussion I have had with Lorenz on this piece. Any further information or observations that anyone would care to share on this piece would be greatly appreciated.


Total length = 9 inches
Blade length = 5 inches
Blade Width At Hilt 7/8 inch
Blade Thickness At Hilt = 1/8 inch
Length of hilt = 3-1/2 inches
Width of guard = 1/2 inch

I have included some photos of the last copper bladed dagger I was fortunate enough to acquire for my collection. A rather interesting
piece with the hilt panels carved with different scenes. One is of a bladed weapon, two are of different plants, one of which I believe could
be a catmon flower. There is one of a person with a rather evil look on the face, another with four diamonds and the last I believe is meant
to represent a naga? The butt plate on the is in the shape of sun rays and when you look at the construction the metal parts (starting with the
blade) alternate between copper and brass. Copper blade, brass guard, copper front ferrule, brass end cap with a copper cover plate,
a brass sun ray butt plate and with the sun itself being the end of the copper tang. Again I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this item.

Everything you said is right on the money (except for the 'catmon' flower which I'm not familiar with, or whether there's a local equiv. of such).
In any case it's a flower which is a symbol of the middle world. In summary, the dagger represents once again the old local religions --
(a) the ancestral spirits via that man figure, and (b) the nature spirits, via the sunburst, the naga, the plants, etc. One panel also appears
to show a fish chasing (or swallowing?) a bird, which is also of course all about the underworld and upper world icons. The panel that shows a
dagger is also about the upper world - it's a well-documented ethnographic finding, here in the Philippines and Indonesia, wherein a bladed weapon
is a symbol of the upper world and is masculine, while pottery is a symbol of the underworld and is feminine. The two ends of the guard can also be
interpreted as sun symbols, while the wavy blade is of course a naga. There's always a tendency to have a profusion and multiplicity of symbols and
icons because the common belief then was that the potency of the talisman (and the weapon then was also often regarded as a talisman and not
necessarily for actual fighting, meaning the mere possession of it made the person felt secure already) was dependent on the number of symbols that
can be embedded on the item, whether the item is a blade, or textile, woodcarving, etc.
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Last edited by Robert : 22nd August 2018 at 04:58 PM.
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