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Old 20th March 2010, 06:55 PM   #1
Maurice
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Default Twistcore Moro spear with provenance, collected in 1872!

Yesterday finally my spear arrived.
It is a 19th century spear, with a 46 cm broad tapered blade, with raised central ridge flanked by shallow chamfered fullers.
I was very surprised unpacking it yesterday, because immediately a beautifull twistcore pattern showed up, which was not to be seen on the images I had seen when I bought it.
The 25 cm brass socket with four fluted rings.
The top of the shaft is carved with a band of swags.
The butt of the shaft consists of a seperate octagonal horn piece, enclosing a wooden pipe, probably to attach some endcap that is missing now??

The total length of the spear is 277 cm.

It was collected by captain William Chimmo of the HMS Nassau on his trip to the Sulu Archipellago circa 1872.

I hope somebody can provide more information about this captain Chimmo and of his trip to the Sulu Archipellago.
Also I hope some of the forummembers have other trophees of him, because there were more pieces sold earlier in an auction of this collection.
Also any idea about the colour of the spearhead? It looks like it could be some sort of bronze forged in it??
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Old 21st March 2010, 01:24 AM   #2
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Hello Maurice,

Congrats, this is gorgeous!

Apparently, we're looking at a Sulu spear: There are quite a few stylistic differences to the usual Moro spears (from Mindanao) and their Lumad counterparts.

I'm at a loss regarding the butt end of this long spear...


Quote:
Also any idea about the colour of the spearhead? It looks like it could be some sort of bronze forged in it??

The blade needs a gentle cleaning and etching - that will help to show details. Brass inlay might be possible but silver would seem more suitable for such a status piece.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 21st March 2010, 06:09 PM   #3
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Default jstor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice
Yesterday finally my spear arrived.
It is a 19th century spear, with a 46 cm broad tapered blade, with raised central ridge flanked by shallow chamfered fullers.
I was very surprised unpacking it yesterday, because immediately a beautifull twistcore pattern showed up, which was not to be seen on the images I had seen when I bought it.
The 25 cm brass socket with four fluted rings.
The top of the shaft is carved with a band of swags.
The butt of the shaft consists of a seperate octagonal horn piece, enclosing a wooden pipe, probably to attach some endcap that is missing now??

The total length of the spear is 277 cm.

It was collected by captain William Chimmo of the HMS Nassau on his trip to the Sulu Archipellago circa 1872.



I hope somebody can provide more information about this captain Chimmo and of his trip to the Sulu Archipellago.
Also I hope some of the forummembers have other trophees of him, because there were more pieces sold earlier in an auction of this collection.
Also any idea about the colour of the spearhead? It looks like it could be some sort of bronze forged in it??



Hi Maurice,

Maybe its interesting to buy the article from Jstor it seems that the most closest information is in that article http://www.jstor.org/pss/1799566

Arjan
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Old 21st March 2010, 07:41 PM   #4
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Maurice,

Your spear had at one time an iron loop at the end. Similar to the one in the photo.

The color of the blade could be from laquer residue.
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Old 21st March 2010, 10:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Apparently, we're looking at a Sulu spear: There are quite a few stylistic differences to the usual Moro spears (from Mindanao) and their Lumad counterparts.
Are these differences somewhere explained here on the forum?
Could you otherwise give us some quick hints about the differences?


Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
I'm at a loss regarding the butt end of this long spear...
Yes Kai, I am also at a loss.....it was a real backstroke when unpacking the package of this wonderfull, provenanced, old and long twistcore spear...


Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
The blade needs a gentle cleaning and etching - that will help to show details. Brass inlay might be possible but silver would seem more suitable for such a status piece.
It will sure happen pretty soon. I will place some images when we did..

Quote:
Originally Posted by kino
Your spear had at one time an iron loop at the end. Similar to the one in the photo.

The color of the blade could be from laquer residue.
Thanks Kino, now I remember the thread again with these loops. However I can't figure out how the construction had been than..

The colour look real brasslike, and I don't think it is from laquer residue, but probably you are right and I am mistaken.
I think we will know after given the spearhead an etch..


Quote:
Originally Posted by mandaukudi
Maybe its interesting to buy the article from Jstor it seems that the most closest information is in that article http://www.jstor.org/pss/1799566
Thank you Arjan, I am sure going to buy that article...






No members with other pieces of this collection?????
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Old 22nd March 2010, 03:28 AM   #6
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Hi Maurice,

A very nice spear you got there, congrats.
As I noted by PM I did see this spear for auction and actually the second time in another auction house was when you bought it. I can't beleive another did not buy this initially, I know I would have if spears were cheap to ship from your areas.
From the initial auction there were several other items with this provenance but I cannot now remember them...but know there were no weapons from memory only artifacts and some very interesting ones, all were from the Sulu regions I do remember that, so the reference made to this spear being Sulu is I suspect very accurate.

Again, congrats, very nice.

Gav
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Old 22nd March 2010, 10:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebooter
Hi Maurice,

A very nice spear you got there, congrats.
As I noted by PM I did see this spear for auction and actually the second time in another auction house was when you bought it. I can't beleive another did not buy this initially, I know I would have if spears were cheap to ship from your areas.
From the initial auction there were several other items with this provenance but I cannot now remember them...but know there were no weapons from memory only artifacts and some very interesting ones, all were from the Sulu regions I do remember that, so the reference made to this spear being Sulu is I suspect very accurate.

Again, congrats, very nice.

Gav
Hi Gav,

Indeed I guess that the shipping of that long thing was the reason it wasn't sold earlier. However the twistcore was not visible on the images, and there were only images of the upper part of the spear. I bought it also more for the provenance as for the piece, which turn out to be very impressive and collectible also seeing it in real!
But this was the last time I buy such long thing out of my own country. It was quite a fuzz and hassle to get that thing home...(as you already did know).

Because you noted in your pm there were other trophees sold earlier in another auction of this Sulu trip, I was very curious, and only thought of other spears and blades..so I decided to ask other forumites to show them...that was a mistake I made because I am a weapon collector....
I guess than that I have the only weapon of the lot....

Maurice
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Old 24th March 2010, 09:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandaukudi
Hi Maurice,

Maybe its interesting to buy the article from Jstor it seems that the most closest information is in that article http://www.jstor.org/pss/1799566

Arjan
Thanks to another dear forumite, I have the article that Arjan tipped me, in my possession.
I will quote what I found about captain Chimmo's trip to the Sulu Archipellago, by Major-General Sir H.C. Rawlinson: delivered at the Aniversary Meeting on the 26th May, 1873.

The Eastern Archipelago. __ The Nassau, Commander Chimmo, has likewise just returned after an absence of something under three years; she had been employed during 1872 principally among the Sulu Archipelago, and in clearing away the dangers of the Sulu Sea. Many difficulties were met with which impeded the progress of this work, among them the hostility of the piratical tribes which infest these regions, and which obliged the parties to be always armed and on the look-out; on a late occasion one of the boats was attacked, and some of the officers and crew wounded, in return for which their town was destroyed and severe punishment inflicted upon the pirates.
The Nassau returned to Signapore by the Flores and the Java seas, examining the various dangers in the track of vessels by that route to Australia; she reached Malta by the Suez Canal in March, when she was put out of commission and is now being prepared for further surveying service on the eastern coast of Africa.

It is not much, but at least something about the provenance.
I hope more articles can be found!

Maurice
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Old 10th September 2010, 05:34 PM   #9
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Default cleaned budiak blade

Here images of the cleaned budiak blade, which I am really proud of to have in my collection!

Oh, and if anybody has additional info about captain Chimmo and his trip to the Sulu archipellago, don't forget to let me know....

Maurice
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Old 11th September 2010, 12:26 PM   #10
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Very nice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice
Here images of the cleaned budiak blade, which I am really proud of to have in my collection!

Oh, and if anybody has additional info about captain Chimmo and his trip to the Sulu archipellago, don't forget to let me know....

Maurice
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Old 11th September 2010, 02:29 PM   #11
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Well here is what the vessel looked like and a a chart of that particular voyage is available from the National Library of Australia here:
http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/...fset=49&max=931
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Old 11th September 2010, 02:31 PM   #12
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Here's a view of the chart.
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Old 11th September 2010, 03:50 PM   #13
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David, that is great to see two images of the ship of Chimmo.
One in calm weather, and one in heavy weather!
Where did you find it, also in the australian library somewhere?

Thank you for posting these images, also the great map!

An image of the captain himself would also be very nice...

Kind Regards,
Maurice
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Old 11th September 2010, 06:41 PM   #14
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Hi Maurice. Really, these are just simple google searches. Can't find any images of the good Capt., but here is a short biographical write up on him.
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1892MNRAS..52Q.233.
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Old 12th September 2010, 07:39 PM   #15
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Very nice and restrained clean-up of a fabulous old spear. It is so fortunate to have the provenance, as it is nice to have a better idea of where and when the different variations we see have arisen.
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Old 14th September 2010, 04:59 PM   #16
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Just a beautiful example Maurice!! I remain convinced that the Moros made some of the best quality spears anywhere in the world, of course most especially the budiaks.
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Old 17th October 2010, 04:09 PM   #17
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Default Two more old articles found!

When searching for more information of captain Chimmo and his expedition, I found two more old newspaper articles today.
Just to share the info with the one who would be interested.

One is of the Daily Southern Cross, 30 December 1872.
The second is of the Wellington Independent, 4 March 1873.

Maybe this spear is the one that ended up in Mr. White's neck???????

Regards,
Maurice
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Old 29th November 2017, 12:40 AM   #18
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Thumbs up A brief contemporary mention

Interestingly, there is a brief mention of Cpt. Chimmo and the Nassau in the log of the clipper ship Franklin written by its Captain John Drew:

Ship Franklin in the ____ Sea. July 21st 1871. 9 days day from (Ilo-ilo?). Latitude 5.30 degrees North. Long. 122.4 East

We have had some very pleasant intercourse with the Capt. and officers of the H.B.M. surveying Steamer, Nassau, which I have already mentioned. Capt. Chimmo, an Irish gentleman is in command and a very intelligent person. He called on me and we exchanged specimens of curious shells, etc. The ward room officers all came to breakfast one morning- and I was on board and then on to dinner. We compared charts- chronometers, which was of great value to me, and I was able to give them some new reports of shoals which they had not heard of. The artist on board was a young English Nobleman, The Hon. Mr. Verica. A real nice fellow, the first blooded gent, I have ever acquainted with. His drawings and water colors are very fine. They are engaged in surveying these seas, taking deep sea soundings, and making microscopic drawings of all that the lead brings up from the bottom of the sea. Also, making collections of everything that comes their way, in the natural history, etc. –live- I was able to give them some ferns which they very much prized. Good luck to the “Nassau”, I say.

Last edited by Lee : 29th November 2017 at 07:18 PM. Reason: adding relevant text from the linked site
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Old 29th November 2017, 12:58 AM   #19
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This piece also strengthens my argument that Moro twist cores where dying out by the last quarter of the 19thc and basically gone by the turn of the 20th.
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Old 29th November 2017, 02:01 PM   #20
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Hello Jose,

Quote:
This piece also strengthens my argument that Moro twist cores where dying out by the last quarter of the 19thc and basically gone by the turn of the 20th.

Could you develop your hypothesis, please? Not trying to pick on you, just curious!

I don't see how this spear collected around 1872 has any impact on this topic? Very rare to have such well-documented provenance, especially for pieces in a private collection; the collection date is neither particularly early nor late though.

The Moro economies had been steadily declining during the 19th century and also the Span.-Am. war certainly did take its toll as did the US colonial presence afterwards well into the 20th century. Thus, it is to be expected that orders for high status pieces were declining. Numbers of swordsmiths and their experience/skills probably, too...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 29th November 2017, 02:01 PM   #21
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Thanks for the link, Lee!
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Old 29th November 2017, 07:28 PM   #22
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Question Dating of Moro Twist-Core Blades

I wonder even more about at what time the twist-core pattern-welding first appeared in this area. In the example I presented in this thread, when I removed the broken shaft elements, the tarry mastic was still in place and there was old brown rust on the tang - and no evidence of recent corrosion products or of debris to suggest that this was also its state when it was mounted - likely a century ago. The nature of the oxide layer on the tang resembled the same patina often seen on a Japanese swords that are several centuries old.
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Old 29th November 2017, 08:34 PM   #23
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Beautiful spear with a fantastic lineage.Was the loop on the end of the spear for cordage and retrieval; obviously one would not want to lose such a valuable item.
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Old 29th November 2017, 11:44 PM   #24
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Quote:
Was the loop on the end of the spear for cordage and retrieval; obviously one would not want to lose such a valuable item.

Budiak were mainly intended for close-range hand-hand combat rather than being thrown.

Such a loop is not unusual but far from universal. Apart from allowing to place the non-business end on soggy soil, I'm wondering whether it also may have helped storage by keeping it in a vertical hanging position (i. e. not prone to bending the pole)?

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Kai
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Old 30th November 2017, 12:04 AM   #25
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Well Kai, you have a good question. My thoughts are these:

1. One sees more twist cores in kris, barong, spears, kampilan, etc. the further back in time one goes. In fact, by the time of the early 20th century, twist cores in the Philippines disappear.

2. Early twist cores seem to be of better quality than those by the end of the 19th century.

3. As gun technologies improved and the acquisition of these weapons grew, the quality of bladed weaponry seems to have declined due to declining reliance on bladed weaponry. When the demand drops, so does the supply and the trained smiths (who often go to make other things for a living). Thus even the training for making a twist core properly is lost, especially after the American ban of large bladed weaponry in the Morolands after 1915.

So far these are some of my observations, but I admit I need to see more provenance examples and more research to back these thoughts.
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Old 30th November 2017, 12:05 AM   #26
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Hello Lee,

Quote:
I wonder even more about at what time the twist-core pattern-welding first appeared in this area.

Based on their state of preservation, the oldest extant Moro blades appear to be kalis; twistcore is very common among these archaic examples. Thus, the technique has been around from the very beginning - possibly since the formation of the Islamic Moro culture or at least during the development of the Moro kalis!

I can't remember having seen any budiak that seemed to come close to such an age by a wide margin. No idea whether these were more easily replaced or were of lesser esteem. Obviously these were part of any Datu's inheritance and possibly regalia; maybe they were not regarded as a personal token though?


Quote:
when I removed the broken shaft elements, the tarry mastic was still in place and there was old brown rust on the tang - and no evidence of recent corrosion products or of debris to suggest that this was also its state when it was mounted - likely a century ago. The nature of the oxide layer on the tang resembled the same patina often seen on a Japanese swords that are several centuries old.

Resin may slow down corrosion but it can't prevent the development of rust in the long run (I doubt these got mounted with corroded tangs originally).

Compared to Japan, the average temperature is 10-20°K higher in Moroland. Thus, rust is at least 2-4 times faster! And the pervasive influence of high humidity is way stronger in a tropical climate compared to the moderate Japanese climate. Moreover, the coastal settlements experience continuous presence of corrosive seawater aerosols and microscopic salt crystals. Very difficult to compare...

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Kai
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