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Old 2nd July 2008, 05:48 PM   #1
Lew
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Default Southern Indian swords and The Moro Kris is there a Connection?

Hi All

I was just pondering if you think there could be any connection between the Southern Indian swords and the Moro kris? Here are a few pics for comparison. Notice the general shape of the blade and there seems to be some type of similar retaining band that anchors the blade to the guard?

Lew
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Old 5th July 2008, 01:57 PM   #2
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Question?

Does anyone know what kind of weapons were used in the Philippines prior to European contact. I have read that Ferdinand Magellan was killed by a kampilan wielding warrior another version says a bamboo spear. So what are the earliest weapons known to be used by the Moros and other groups and when did they appear? What I am trying to establish is some type of time line and migration of the use of steel weapons that seems to have started in India and spread eastward to the Indonesian archipelago and the Philippines.


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Old 5th July 2008, 02:23 PM   #3
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I have not found anything to help with your question. I did find this plate in The Philippine Islands
A Political, Geographical, Ethnographical, Social and Commercial History of the Philippine Archipelago
Embracing the Whole Period of Spanish Rule
With an Account of the Succeeding American Insular Government
By John Foreman, F.R.G.S.
Third Edition, Revised and Enlarged with Maps and Illustrations
London: T. Fisher Unwin
1, Adelphi Terrace.
MCMVI

Its interesting to me because the dress sword of the sultan here looks to have an indonesian flavor. Indian influence was present in Indonesia and could have come to the Philippines through there

I believe Lapu-Lapu (Kaliph Pulaka) was reported to use a Kampilan.
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Old 5th July 2008, 02:45 PM   #4
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This is an excellent topic Lew! and well placed questions. I have never really studied the weapons development in Indonesia and the Philippines in depth, but have always considered that migration and colonization from the subcontinent would have carried the weapons of the period to those regions. I believe Alan Maisey has written on the heritage of the keris with some important perspective dealing with this, and seems it is linked here. For information on the Moros, I would presume the book by Cato probably a good reference, but Rick will be the key source around here.

I think the key to ethnographic weapons diffusion is most always trade routes, and seems to be universally applied. As I have travelled through the Southwest and visited American Indian sites, it is amazing to see items from incredible distances that clearly show trade from far away. Tribes in the Four Corners traded not only with the west coast tribes, but from tribes deep in Mexico and Central America. In Mississippi, there was ancient trade between those tribes and those in the northeast as far as Canada.

With the depth of knowledge here on the weapons of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, I'm sure there will be some outstanding discussion on this subject, and RhysMichael is right on track!!!!
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Old 5th July 2008, 03:06 PM   #5
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And we need to remember that trade went both ways. I have a photo somewhere of the swords from an Aceh Teuku in a museum that include a kampilan
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Old 5th July 2008, 03:20 PM   #6
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Hi All,

We might want to be more precise about how weapons diffuse. The reason is that Indonesia and the Philippines are all on millenia-old trade routes (remember the Spice Islands), so a lot of people were moving back and forth through the region, and not all peacefully.

Thing is, there are a bunch of ways weapon designs can move, and I think if we distinguish among them (preferably with examples), it will be useful.

In no particular order, ways a sword design can move:

1. "Stealing with your eyes"--I love this phrase from the martial arts. Basically, someone sees a sword they like and order something similarl from a local smith. In this case, the shape of the blade comes from elsewhere, but the construction techniques are strictly local.

2. Shipwreck or trade: someone physically acquires a weapon, and either redecorates it (i.e. the ornamented spanish blades dug up from Indian graves on Catalina), rebuilds it (new sheath, hilt, etc--the classic trade blades), or reverse engineers it and makes copies (i.e. the Andrea Ferrara blades of Africa, complete with bogus markings).

3. Movement of smiths. In these cases, the whole technology and terminology moves. I'd suspect that in this case, it's more than the blade term (for instance "kalis" might become "keris"), but the mountings, steel type, and most importantly terminology, all move.

Obviously these blend in with each other, but I think there's something useful in distinguishing them. The thing to "watch out for" is "convergent design," where weaponsmiths independently come up with blades of the same shape to do the same job, without talking with each other. There are only so many ways to make a sword, after all.

Comments? Getting back to the thread, can we tell how blades moved, from the evidence?

F
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Old 5th July 2008, 03:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
Hi All,

We might want to be more precise about how weapons diffuse. The reason is that Indonesia and the Philippines are all on millenia-old trade routes (remember the Spice Islands), so a lot of people were moving back and forth through the region, and not all peacefully.

Thing is, there are a bunch of ways weapon designs can move, and I think if we distinguish among them (preferably with examples), it will be useful.

In no particular order, ways a sword design can move:

1. "Stealing with your eyes"--I love this phrase from the martial arts. Basically, someone sees a sword they like and order something similarl from a local smith. In this case, the shape of the blade comes from elsewhere, but the construction techniques are strictly local.

2. Shipwreck or trade: someone physically acquires a weapon, and either redecorates it (i.e. the ornamented spanish blades dug up from Indian graves on Catalina), rebuilds it (new sheath, hilt, etc--the classic trade blades), or reverse engineers it and makes copies (i.e. the Andrea Ferrara blades of Africa, complete with bogus markings).

3. Movement of smiths. In these cases, the whole technology and terminology moves. I'd suspect that in this case, it's more than the blade term (for instance "kalis" might become "keris"), but the mountings, steel type, and most importantly terminology, all move.

Obviously these blend in with each other, but I think there's something useful in distinguishing them. The thing to "watch out for" is "convergent design," where weaponsmiths independently come up with blades of the same shape to do the same job, without talking with each other. There are only so many ways to make a sword, after all.

Comments? Getting back to the thread, can we tell how blades moved, from the evidence?

F

Good points I would add captured/trophy blades from battles, perhaps that would fit in with your #2
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Old 5th July 2008, 04:53 PM   #8
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Very well said RhysMichael and Fearn, these are well placed points on the diffusion of weapons, and of course movement would be both ways, as they were trade routes dealing in exchange. What is most interesting is the compounding of the points of contact via ports of call along the route by sea and various centers and stations on routes by land. In many ways, rather than single extended routes, trade was accomplished essentially by relay at these points. The dimensions of diffusion resulting clearly can be confounding, but is really what makes the detective work in studying ethnographic weapons so fascinating.

Returning to Lew's excellent question concerning the relationship between southern India's weapons and the Moro kris. In looking through Robert Elgood's "Hindu Arms and Ritual" the author discusses the associations between India, Ceylon and Java with the kris. While the material deals of course with southern India and Ceylon, the trade here involved many powers including China, and movement to the Philippines and these principles of diffusion would certainly apply. I guess the key is to discover which historical resources support this.
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Old 5th July 2008, 08:16 PM   #9
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The spread of the Islamic faith may also be a factor in sword similarities...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filipino_Muslim

Last edited by katana : 6th July 2008 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 5th July 2008, 08:48 PM   #10
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Interesting thread, and one of the places to look for a hint could be in books like; R. C. Majumdarís Ancient Indian Colonies in the Far East. 2 vol. Lahore. 1927-44.

[font=&quot]I donít have the books, so I donít know if they will give any clues, but they might.[/font]
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Old 5th July 2008, 09:56 PM   #11
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From an article in the Inquirer on Arroyo's visit to New Dehli

Arroyo cites ancient Philippines-India ties


By Michael Lim Ubac
Inquirer
First Posted 01:54am (Mla time) 10/06/2007



Quote:
Indian cultural influence reached the Philippines indirectly via two great Indo-Malayan empires which traded with the Philippines. The Sriwijaya Empire (7th to 13th centuries) based in Palembang, Sumatra, was a mix of Buddhism and Hinduism. The Majapahit Empire (1293 to 1527) was Hindu, and centered in Java in what is now Indonesia. Indian hegemony over Southeast Asia ended with the decline of the Majapahit in the 14th century and the rise of Islam.

Scholars believe that Indian cultural influence on Filipino culture has been underestimated. It extended through the indigenous religions, epic folk literature, myths, social customs, arts, crafts, traditional dress and Sanskrit roots of pre-Hispanic script and numerous contemporary words.



And as far as spice routes the Philippines were on the cloves route.

Quote:
Cloves from Maluku and the southern Philippines went north to South China and Indochina and then south again along the coast to the Strait of Malacca. From there the cloves went to India spice markets and points further west. This north-south direction of commerce through the Philippines has recently been recognized by UNESCO as part of the ancient maritime spice route.from http://asiapacificuniverse.com/pkm/spiceroutes.htm
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