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Old 24th October 2008, 01:31 AM   #1
ariel
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Default Moro Kris: what did I buy?

Never been into Moro weapons, but this one caught my eye for some reasons: looked old to me.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...#ht_2912wt_909
Can you look at it and either pat me on the back or recommend a suitable place for it on my Wall of Shame?
After all, in this day and age of trillion dollar rescue plans , $86 doesn't look very painful....
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Old 24th October 2008, 01:48 AM   #2
Bill
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Doubt it's Moro, looks like a Malay Sundang.
Try removing the hilt & let's look at the tang. It's on backwards, anyway.
Well worth the money, for the chance it's a oldie.
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Old 24th October 2008, 01:57 AM   #3
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Hello Ariel,

That's an interesting piece - good grab!

Of course, the hilt is upside down and I guess this is a later replacement which doesn't seem to be from the southern Philippines. I'm not sure that the blade is Moro either - the base features would be exceptionally simple for a Moro kris. If I had to guess, I'd be tempted to consider a Lumad origin.

Please polish and etch the blade when you receive it and posts pics - that may help to get a better perspective on this piece!

Regards,
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Old 24th October 2008, 02:54 AM   #4
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Lumad, maybe. I'm more in the Indonesian camp at present. Not really Moro for sure.
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Old 24th October 2008, 03:06 AM   #5
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Agreed with Battara...nothing about this says Moro. Looks like a reworked Indonesian blade to me, but I do think it's interesting that the hilt seems to show a nice patina, meaning somebody must have used it for something.
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Old 24th October 2008, 04:13 AM   #6
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Be interesting to see if any of the Borneo people may want to comment.
Small village work or from a group that normally didn't do detailed file work on their blades.
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Old 24th October 2008, 08:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill
Be interesting to see if any of the Borneo people may want to comment.
Small village work or from a group that normally didn't do detailed file work on their blades.
The kerisses that were found in Borneo were essentially Malay weapons. They were no Borneo natives weapons, although met with in Borneo because of the Malay people brought it there. You found them most were the malay were settled at that time in Borneo (coastal ereas or a little upstream the rivers, such as Banjarmassin).
They were in general not to be found in the deep forests at the dajaks.

Krisses in ,Moro, style were found most of all in North Borneo (Sabah). Because philippines travellers (and, or pirates) settled overthere or traded there with the dajaks.

I read about some dajaks in the hart of Borneo wearing a keris. But they were in contact with malays and obtained it by trade or by gift, or as payment for some decent or less decent work they did for a malay person.

That is what I know about kerisses, krisses in Borneo. However I can,t tell anything about the kris in this thread. I think there will be others who will.

Maurice
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Old 10th November 2008, 02:26 PM   #8
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OK, guys, I need to be enlightened: why is it Lumad and not old Moro or a transitional stage between the Indonesian and Philippine styles? I got it but had to go to a resort in the Dominican Republic for a week ( feel sorry for me, please: sun, sea, grilled fish, mangoes, sangria galore, gorgeous blondes getting even tan all over their flawless torsos....), so I did not have time to polish it.
However: the blade is heavier and more massive than Indonesian krisses, the gangya is separate, the dividing line is straight with just a hint of a "knee", the fretwork is rudimentary. To me it looks just like the Fig 161 in the " History of steel" ( written by some of our esteemed colleagues). The handle is mounted in a wrong fashion, but I could not take it of: rock solid connection. It is old, the bone is heavily and deeply patinated.
Please educate me.
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Old 10th November 2008, 05:19 PM   #9
David
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Well Ariel, i can't tell you why it might be Lumad, or even that it is, but i will go out on a short limb here and say that it ain't Moro. The features just aren't right, even for early Moro. And if that hilt is original the motifs are all wrong for Moro. As for a missing link piece, i doubt this kris is old enough for that and given the form of what we know as "archaic" early form kris you would think that a transition piece would carry more of the Indo features that the early kris had such as a well defined sogokan.
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Old 11th November 2008, 04:10 AM   #10
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Thanks for the reply, but I want to learn more.
The handle is a replacement, no doubt, so it is not an evidence.
I always thought that the gangya/blade joint was the most important indicator of the age. The really old ones ( 18th cen) had almost straight line, relatively old ones ( late 19th to mid 20th) were noticeably angled, and new models had a one-piece construction ( with or without a scratched imitation of the joint). I also remember a discussion here that the very old ones might have had a one-piece construction, too. Based on that, mine must be old, if it is a Moro.
Does the same rule apply to non-Moro swords?
Are there any other good indicators of age?
Could you spell for me what exact features would differentiate a large/heavy Indonesian kris from a light and shortish Moro one? I cannot see the tang and even x-ray is not going to help here. I do not wish to break the handle.
Don't get me wrong: I am not disputing your conclusion, I just want to learn.
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Old 11th November 2008, 04:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
I always thought that the gangya/blade joint was the most important indicator of the age. The really old ones ( 18th cen) had almost straight line, relatively old ones ( late 19th to mid 20th) were noticeably angled, and new models had a one-piece construction ( with or without a scratched imitation of the joint). I also remember a discussion here that the very old ones might have had a one-piece construction, too. Based on that, mine must be old, if it is a Moro.
From what i can see the line on yours is NOT straight, but takes a 45 degree angle in the tail. This would place it in the 19th to 20th C category based on this particular indicator. This is certainly far too recent to be any kind of transition piece. Frankly i am not so sure this is the best rule of thumb even with Moro blades, but i think it applies even less with a non-Moro keris such as this one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Does the same rule apply to non-Moro swords?
Not necessarily.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Are there any other good indicators of age?
Could you spell for me what exact features would differentiate a large/heavy Indonesian kris from a light and shortish Moro one? I cannot see the tang and even x-ray is not going to help here. I do not wish to break the handle.
Why won't x-ray help? And how is the hilt attached? Often heating the blade will loosen a hilt without damage.
For me what really speaks to this not being Moro is the manner in which the sekar kacang or "elephant trunk" is formed. The whole gandik area of this sword just does not have the care and detail that i expect to see in a Moro sword, even one of lesser quality. All i can suggest to you Ariel is that you look at a whole lot of photos of kris identified as Moro and then look at this one. The cross-section looks wrong as well, though that might just be the photos. But it reminds me of the way some Bugis keris are formed with a high middle section that falls away quickly at the edges. This might be of Indonesian origin or it might be Lumad or some other group trying to copy a Moro style kris, but IMHO it is not Moro.
You should take some detailed photos of your own to give us a better look.

Last edited by David; 11th November 2008 at 05:09 AM.
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Old 11th November 2008, 07:47 AM   #12
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Hello David,

Quote:
For me what really speaks to this not being Moro is the manner in which the sekar kacang or "elephant trunk" is formed.
Ariel has a point though that this feature is similarly plain as in the archaic style piece #161 from the HOS catalog. Despite some flaws in the latter blade, general workmanship is still much more detailed than in Ariel's kris (considering effects of wear for both pieces to be fair).

Quote:
All i can suggest to you Ariel is that you look at a whole lot of photos of kris identified as Moro and then look at this one.
The more fancy ones won't help as a comparision - the fairly simple ones (regardless of age) are few and far in between. Will try to look for some pics...

Quote:
You should take some detailed photos of your own to give us a better look.
Yeah, I second the request for more pics of this piece. An etch will also reveal more forging details which will help evaluation.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 11th November 2008, 08:22 AM   #13
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Hello Ariel,

Quote:
I always thought that the gangya/blade joint was the most important indicator of the age. The really old ones ( 18th cen) had almost straight line, relatively old ones ( late 19th to mid 20th) were noticeably angled, and new models had a one-piece construction ( with or without a scratched imitation of the joint).
There are quite a few archaic ones with angled separation line which would be more typical for 19th c. examples; there also seem to be a few later examples with almost straight separation line. The late 19th to early 20th c. kris usually have a very pronounced/longish angle. There are indications that pieces with separate gangya have been continued to be produced, especially in the Sulu archipelago. Nowadays, I see quite a few new but artificially aged pieces with separate gangya coming out of Mindanao again...


Quote:
Does the same rule apply to non-Moro swords?
No. Malay (and even modern repros by the Madura guys) seem to have been almost always been done with separate gangya.


Quote:
Are there any other good indicators of age?
Hilts and grip binding can help (if original); blade size and form, too. Workmanship may also help; telling old pieces of low quality from decent 20th c. examples may pose problems though...


Quote:
Could you spell for me what exact features would differentiate a large/heavy Indonesian kris from a light and shortish Moro one?
The Indonesian/Malay keris (i.e. the dagger type in its many incarnations) is not a problem; the (ethnically) Malay keris sundang (sword or large dagger) can be tough to tell apart from Moro kris though: no hard and fast rules apply - there have been several discussions touching on this issue if you turn on the search engine (Moro + Malay/Sumatra/Borneo).


Quote:
I cannot see the tang and even x-ray is not going to help here. I do not wish to break the handle.
Repeatedly heating the blade with a candle and letting it cool down again will eventually loosen up any blade not glued with epoxy nor other modern glues... Try once or twice a day and just gently "tweak" the hilt when the blade is hot (if you don't apply excessive force, the hilt will be fine).

Regards,
Kai
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Old 11th November 2008, 04:12 PM   #14
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Something else that I have found that sometimes works well to remove grips that are fixed with pitch is extreme cold. You might try putting this in your deep freeze (if you have one) overnight and see if the grip comes loose. Hope this helps.

Robert
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Old 11th November 2008, 04:20 PM   #15
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I use a hair dryer aim it at base of the blade it may take a while but it worked for me. I am posting the pics so we don't loose them.
Attached Images
   

Last edited by LOUIEBLADES; 11th November 2008 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 11th November 2008, 06:21 PM   #16
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A couple of observations , I think this blade is really old (the pitting); it also looks like it hasn't seen very much if any warangan .

It looks also as if it were made by a smith of average talent; the village smith perhaps ?


Things to think about .....
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