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Old 29th September 2018, 09:09 PM   #1
ashkenaz
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Default Did Lumads make their own Kampilans?

Hi! Back again..

I was wondering if the Lumads made their own Kampilans and not just refit Moro Kampilan with new hilts, and if so, how did they get the steel material? Did they trade it with Moros?

Thank you.
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Old 1st October 2018, 11:33 PM   #2
Ian
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Hello ashkenaz:

Thank you for the question about Lumad weapons. Yes is the short answer to your question, but not usually as long as Moro kampilan and with different hilt styles peculiar to their Lumad origin. The T'boli in particular had a short bladed version of the kampilan, that they called a tok or kafilan. There are also examples of similar short kampilan used by the Bagobo.

Swords of other Lumad groups are much harder to find and source. What little we know about Mandaya weapons, for example, does not seem to include a kampilan style blade.

If you search on this site for various Lumad names you will find a few examples of kampilan-like swords used by these groups. The blades of the shorter versions are made within the Lumad cultures—those of the T'boli are particularly respected for their quality and traded for by other groups. Exchange among the Mindanao Moro tribes and Lumad groups is known to occur with respect to kris blades, so I don't see any reason why that would not apply also to kampilan blades.

As far as sources of iron and steel, native groups are very resourceful. Although there is iron ore available on Mindanao, it is likely that Lumad smiths obtained some of their iron from other sources, including Moro, Spanish, and later the U.S.

Ian.

Last edited by Ian : 3rd October 2018 at 10:15 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 3rd October 2018, 07:32 AM   #3
Ian
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Ashkenaz,

Here are a couple of pictures of a T'boli and a Bagobo small kampilan. They are each shorter than the Moro kampilan and are more in the nature of large knives rather than swords. The tribal distinctions are in the hilts and the ikat wrappings of the scabbards, otherwise it can be hard to distinguish between the tribal origins because the blades are often similar. The top one is T'boli.

Ian.
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Old 4th October 2018, 12:44 AM   #4
Battara
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I agree with Ian. Mostly kampilan like blades seem to be used on Lumad tribes like the T'boli and the Bagobo.
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Old 4th October 2018, 05:25 PM   #5
kai
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Hello Ian,

Quote:
Thank you for the question about Lumad weapons. Yes is the short answer to your question, but not usually as long as Moro kampilan and with different hilt styles peculiar to their Lumad origin. The T'boli in particular had a short bladed version of the kampilan, that they called a tok or kafilan. There are also examples of similar short kampilan used by the Bagobo.

This may be a bit of a moot point: Yet these blades tend to resemble the Moro bangkung much more than they resembkle the Moro kampilan; even the minority of Lumad blades that exhibit a kampilan-like spike, does not show the fine details associated with the latter. I'd posit that the spike got copied into the local traditions merely as a decoration; however, the long Moro kampilan blade wasn't. Moro kampilan blades recycled for Lumad use seem to be exceedingly rare - can anybody show any examples? I'd guess that the bangkung as well as the Lumad chopping blades have a common origin with many of the similar chopping swords/tools from the Indo-Malayan realm.


Quote:
If you search on this site for various Lumad names you will find a few examples of kampilan-like swords used by these groups. The blades of the shorter versions are made within the Lumad cultures—those of the T'boli are particularly respected for their quality and traded for by other groups.

How about twistcore blades from the T'boli? The few known Lumad examples appear to be Bagobo - seems like the latter also were capable of very nice bladesmithing work. I believe we need to be very careful not to generalize from the very limited (and often singular) accounts from the colonial period (or later).


Quote:
Exchange among the Mindanao Moro tribes and Lumad groups is known to occur with respect to kris blades, so I don't see any reason why that would not apply also to kampilan blades.

Exactly, Moro kris blades were commonly adapted into Lumad use - there seems to be no reason that kampilan blades would not have been available, too. Thus, their absence/rarity must be related to Lumad preferences.


Quote:
Here are a couple of pictures of a T'boli and a Bagobo small kampilan. They are each shorter than the Moro kampilan and are more in the nature of large knives rather than swords.

From a regional perspective, it's the kampilan blades which are "too long" rather than the Lumad blades being "too short" - the latter may double up as machete-like tools (I would not call them knives though); most swords from the whole archipelago tend to be on the short side (from a western perspective): while some of the shorter blades may also be favored by limited resources, shorter blades do make sense in a dense jungle environment...


Quote:
As far as sources of iron and steel, native groups are very resourceful. Although there is iron ore available on Mindanao, it is likely that Lumad smiths obtained some of their iron from other sources, including Moro, Spanish, and later the U.S.

While local supplies were often limited, trade was pervasive all over the archipelago and getting raw material was mainly limited by funds (or rather gathering of suitable trade goods, especially precious forest products like timber, resins, or spices). Long-distance export from steel-producing industries in China and India has been known for centuries, too.

Regards,
Kai

Last edited by kai : 4th October 2018 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 5th October 2018, 09:08 AM   #6
Ian
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Hi Kai:

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Hello Ian,

This may be a bit of a moot point: ...
Yes, I think it is moot ...

Quote:
... Yet these blades tend to resemble the Moro bangkung much more than they resemble the Moro kampilan; even the minority of Lumad blades that exhibit a kampilan-like spike, does not show the fine details associated with the latter.
Not sure I agree totally with the bangkung analogy. The similarity to a bangkung is in overall length but not necessarily in blade profile. A defining feature of the Moro kampilan blade is that both the cutting edge and back edge are straight. The pictures of the two examples from Oriental Arms that I posted both show this feature. Bangkung may have straight or curved cutting edges, and the terminus of the bangkung blade is usually rounded to the tip, rather than straight as on kampilan.

Quote:
I'd posit that the spike got copied into the local traditions merely as a decoration; however, the long Moro kampilan blade wasn't. Moro kampilan blades recycled for Lumad use seem to be exceedingly rare - can anybody show any examples?
The kampilan spike as a decorative element may be true, but we have no evidence for or against that idea. As far as longer kampilan, perhaps recycled from Moro use, I have seen What I think are two such examples. One was in a shop in Manila in 1998. The other is in my collection that has been held in customs by the Australian Government since April of this year. The latter is a most unusual kampilan with a traditional blade but highly atypical hilt. I posted pictures on the old UBB Forum, but they are now gone.

Quote:
I'd guess that the bangkung as well as the Lumad chopping blades have a common origin with many of the similar chopping swords/tools from the Indo-Malayan realm.
Who knows The origins of so many tools/weapons of the area are lost in time.

Quote:
How about twistcore blades from the T'boli? The few known Lumad examples appear to be Bagobo - seems like the latter also were capable of very nice bladesmithing work. I believe we need to be very careful not to generalize from the very limited (and often singular) accounts from the colonial period (or later).
I'm not familiar with twist core techniques being used by T'boli or Bagobo smiths. That some weapons used by these groups may have twistcore elements would be unusual (and not necessarily surprising), but I think it is more likely these were acquired by trade or by commissioning a Moro crafstman to make it for them. I have not come across any reference to twistcore being made by the Lumad tribes.

Quote:
Exactly, Moro kris blades were commonly adapted into Lumad use - there seems to be no reason that kampilan blades would not have been available, too. Thus, their absence/rarity must be related to Lumad preferences.
Quite likely

Quote:
From a regional perspective, it's the kampilan blades which are "too long" rather than the Lumad blades being "too short" - the latter may double up as machete-like tools (I would not call them knives though) ...
Why do you think the kampilan is "too long?" Although certainly longer than many other swords of the region, it is no longer than, say, some panabas. The kampilan is purely a fighting sword, not a multipurpose tool/weapon. As such, it may have been the perfect length for that purpose.

Quote:
While local supplies were often limited, trade was pervasive all over the archipelago and getting raw material was mainly limited by funds (or rather gathering of suitable trade goods, especially precious forest products like timber, resins, or spices). Long-distance export from steel-producing industries in China and India has been known for centuries, too.
Production of iron from iron ore on Mindanao was likely quite substantial based on ore deposits near Zamboanga, which are still being mined today. It would be much easier for the Lumad smiths to acquire smelted iron to work with rather than extracting the metal themselves. I agree that local trade was a likely source of iron for their tools and swords.

Ian.
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Old 5th October 2018, 02:27 PM   #7
Ian
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Default A little more on T'boli metalworking

In thinking about Kai's comments, I was prompted to refer back to a classic book on T'boli culture: T'boli Art in Its Socio-Cultural Context, by Gabriel S. Casal (Ayala Museum, Makati, 1978, 228 pp). Chapter XI of this book is titled "The Legacy of Ginton." Ginton was one of D'wata's seven sons and is an important figure in the T'boli creation myth. Ginton is the god of metal working, and had the same status as the gods of life, death, mountains, and forests. Ginton bequeathed "singkil (brass anklets), blonso (brass bracelets), hilöt (women's chain mail girdles), t'sing (ring) and all kafilan and tok (T'boli swords) as his gifts to mankind ..."

Casal notes:
Quote:
The T'bolis give no indication of having ever possessed any knowledge of mining their own metals. These, they seem to have always obtained from old broken agong (gongs) or any of their other metal objects that break, and which they melt and re-employ for new substitutes. Besides, outside sources—the Muslims, for instance—are not to be discounted. Thus, the balatok (ordinary metal, iron, steel) out of which a tau-maso'ol (metalworker) now forges the blades of tok and kafilan (T'boli swords) or that of dado (T'boli plows), is often obtained from the springs of trucks abandoned along some highway in the lowlands.
The term balatok is usually reserved by T'bolis for the tempered steel for which T'boli swords are famous. ...
Casal goes on to describe the forge (gono lumubon) used by the tau-maso'ol and the processes of tempering and polishing the blade, concluding with this generalization:
Quote:
These T'boli blades are among the best in the Philippines. They are so finely tempered that, though sharp enough to shave with, T'bolis even used them for cutting down trees. They are not, by any means, merely decorative. In fact, the more they are used—and they are nearly impossible to break—the more beautiful they become.
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Old 5th October 2018, 03:46 PM   #8
CharlesS
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Kai,

I think the relative size of Moro weapons has as much to do with their being the weapons of seafarers and raiders, and to their stature, as much as a jungle environment. In period photos I am often surprised how Americans(supposedly shorter then than now) seem to tower over their Moro counterparts, say a datu and his entourage.

Shorter blades are a characteristic of most SE Asian cultures, with some exceptions, and they are not all jungle dwellers, nor seafarers and raiders for that matter, so I think physical stature played crucial role in decisions about sword lengths. Even the kampillan, the longest of Moro swords, was capable of being welded with one or two hands.

I know as a short guy myself I am more comfortable with a med-sized to smaller blade. Longer blades are awkward for me to handle.
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Old 13th October 2018, 04:32 PM   #9
xasterix
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Hi everyone. I'm not well-versed in Lumad weapons, but this is all I can do to help- been to the National Museum of Anthropology here in the Phils lately, this is what I saw. Apologies if I wasn't able to get all the labels.
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Old 13th October 2018, 04:34 PM   #10
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Hi everyone, I'm not well-versed in Lumad weapons, but this is what I can do to help- here are some pics from our National Museum of Anthropology.
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Old 14th October 2018, 01:38 AM   #11
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Greetings. While I'm not knowledgeable on Lumad weaponry, here are some pieces from the National Museum of Anthropology. Enjoy!
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