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Old 1st October 2013, 03:58 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Default Two Very Good Datu Barongs, One With Shandigan Blade

Here are two beautiful and interesting Moro Datu-class barongs.

I believe the wooden pommel example to be late 19th century and the ivory pommel example to be early 20th century.

The wooden pommel example strikes me as a Sulu piece. The pommel is magnificent, big, bulky and well carved. The scabbard has seen some restoration to broken wood, but is magnificently carved with a lovely carved in and pierced chape.

The other example is an eye catcher, but more troublesome in terms of identifying its origin. It looks to be a Sulu style barong in a Samal or Tausug style scabbard(that has clearly been made for this blade). I believe this to be an early 20th century piece. Notice the ivory carving is good and impressive, but not quite as crisp and detailed as one might expect on a similar 19th century example. The ferrule may be all low grade gold, but the upper bands are gold plated. The scabbard's attached "accoutrements" are interesting.

Feedback, especially identifying tribal origins is most welcome!
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Old 1st October 2013, 06:34 PM   #2
carlos
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The first barong is very beatiful but the second is ...
One of the most beautiful barong I have never seen.
Congratulations
Carlos
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Old 1st October 2013, 06:47 PM   #3
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I AGREE WITH CARLOS EXCEPTIONAL BARONGS. CONGRADULATIONS
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Old 1st October 2013, 07:16 PM   #4
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Wow, smoking!!
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Old 1st October 2013, 07:46 PM   #5
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Hope that I one day will own one like the first one but will dream from the other one! Amazing!!
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Old 1st October 2013, 11:43 PM   #6
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Hello Charles, congrats!

Quote:
I believe the wooden pommel example to be late 19th century and the ivory pommel example to be early 20th century.

The wooden pommel example strikes me as a Sulu piece. The pommel is magnificent, big, bulky and well carved. The scabbard has seen some restoration to broken wood, but is magnificently carved with a lovely carved in and pierced chape.

This looks Tausug to me. I'd place it slightly later - about turn of the century.


Quote:
The other example is an eye catcher, but more troublesome in terms of identifying its origin. It looks to be a Sulu style barong in a Samal or Tausug style scabbard(that has clearly been made for this blade). I believe this to be an early 20th century piece. Notice the ivory carving is good and impressive, but not quite as crisp and detailed as one might expect on a similar 19th century example. The ferrule may be all low grade gold, but the upper bands are gold plated. The scabbard's attached "accoutrements" are interesting.

Hilt and probably blade appear to be Tausug; quite possibly a bit older: hilt maybe turn of the century (or even slightly older). There are some minor losses to the ivory which affect the flow of lines; I would certainly be happy enough with the workmanship if it were mine...

The scabbard looks indeed Samal to me - very nice to have it complete with all those textiles!

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Kai
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Old 2nd October 2013, 01:03 AM   #7
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Congratulations Charles! (grumble, grumble ). I'm so happy for you (grumble, grumble ).

I am referring to the ivory and gold piece.

I have studied this now for a while and checked out some things:

1. I agree that this maybe turn of the century, based on the chasing workmanship on the gold pieces near the pommel and the flared part of the bottom of the punto (sleeve). However, looks like either unusually good work on the punto or it is Maguindanao work (based on what I see of the okir/ukkil) (also gold plating is usually indicative of Mindanao work).

2. I also agree that the barong is Sulu. However, the scabbard could be Samal, but not necessarily. Starting in the early 20 century it appears that this type of scabbard was being adopted by Sulu groups as well.

3. The punto looks it is made of a gold/silver alloy. Also how did you find out that those pieces are copper based?

Finally, here is a close up picture of a similar hilted barong from Sulu, made of ivory, gold, and silver. This picture comes from "Gods of War" and originally belonged to George Stone, collected in 1935.
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Old 2nd October 2013, 03:46 AM   #8
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Two beautiful barungs no doubt, but yes, most definitely the ivory pommeled one for sure. I do have a bit of a layman's question. I can clearly see the ivory piece as a datu weapon. But i am not sure exactly why the other one is automatically designated as such. It is of course, lovely and i would welcome it in my collection in a heartbeat, but what makes it datu? The sheath is nicely carved (better than most) and has a jungayyan pommel. Were such pommels reserved solely for the datu class or could this simply be a barung owned by someone just a little further up the chain but not of the datu class?
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Old 2nd October 2013, 04:05 AM   #9
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A good question David.

According to Cato, junggayans where allowed to be worn by datus. In fact, they had several. This one might be considered a datu "working" barong. Obviously the ceremonial or "parade" pieces had the "bling" we all love so much.
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Old 2nd October 2013, 12:08 PM   #10
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Yowza!!! excellent pieces, bro! pretty neat that the upper bands on the the ivory pommeled junggayan are made out of gold as well. the scabbard on the same barung looks to be newer though; notice the median ridge sticking out and the toe similar to those on the WW2 types. hey, as long as the blade fits, right?
they're definitely both Sulu, no doubt, but as far as tribal affiliation

congrats!!!
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Old 2nd October 2013, 01:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Two beautiful barungs no doubt, but yes, most definitely the ivory pommeled one for sure. I do have a bit of a layman's question. I can clearly see the ivory piece as a datu weapon. But i am not sure exactly why the other one is automatically designated as such. It is of course, lovely and i would welcome it in my collection in a heartbeat, but what makes it datu? The sheath is nicely carved (better than most) and has a jungayyan pommel. Were such pommels reserved solely for the datu class or could this simply be a barung owned by someone just a little further up the chain but not of the datu class?



David,

I think Battara's term "datu working" barong may be just perfect for the first one.

Spunjer and I have discussed this type of thing many times...essentially who got what in terms of quality and 'bling'. He has several old period pics and postcards of weapons sellers' stalls(maybe he can find them and post them here)...blades just hanging all over the place that are for sale to the locals(....if only we could go back in time...and assume a return with our heads and limbs attached!!). These pics indicate a variety of size, quality, and types of blades, from the most mundane to the blingiest ivory, etc. We have both sort of concluded it was just a matter of what you could afford, and that said, it's logical the datus could afford the higher quality pieces. As Battara mentioned, I am sure there were some social rules involved as well. I don't think it was too terribly different than modern society....status and wealth reflected in what was bought and worn. We most also factor in such things as gifts and representation pieces from datu to datu that would have been meant to impress.
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Old 2nd October 2013, 01:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spunjer
Yowza!!! excellent pieces, bro! pretty neat that the upper bands on the the ivory pommeled junggayan are made out of gold as well. the scabbard on the same barung looks to be newer though; notice the median ridge sticking out and the toe similar to those on the WW2 types. hey, as long as the blade fits, right?
they're definitely both Sulu, no doubt, but as far as tribal affiliation

congrats!!!



Spunjer,

I agree at first glance the scabbard appears like the WW2 era ones, and it may be. There is no doubt this scabbard was made for this blade.
The quality of this scabbard is not typical of WW2 era pieces which we tend to find broken and cracked quite often as they were made from a softer more easy to carve wood. The front panel of this scabbard is made from a hardwood with clearly flashing grains, really something I would more expect to see on an Indonesian keris.

I am not so confident about putting a date on it, but clearly it was attempt to create and upgraded, even exotic, look....especially compared to what we see in typical Moro barong scabbards and the wood that is used for some of them, most especially the later ones.

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Old 5th October 2013, 04:37 PM   #13
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Really nice!
I like the way they used a black horn spacer with the ivory.
The accoutrements adds flair to the scabbard.
It amazes me how delicate looking the carvings are on both pieces and how they stayed intact thru time.
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Old 5th October 2013, 11:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kino
It amazes me how delicate looking the carvings are on both pieces and how they stayed intact thru time.

That is so true Kino! All that carving on both are totally intact. INSANE!
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Old 6th October 2013, 05:26 PM   #15
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To be fair, as mentioned in the opener, there was some restoration to the wood on the first one, and some of that involved the carved top(right top edge).

The second one is untouched and I especially love the carving on that one, though both are intricate.
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