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Old 14th June 2017, 06:23 PM   #1
Robert
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Default Mandaya Dagger

This beautiful little Mandaya dagger was a gift from my good friend Detlef. I have been trying for years with absolutely no success to acquire one of these to fill an open spot in my collection. They were always too expensive, I was too late and they were already sold, or I would come in at second place on the bidding. This piece did need a bit of TLC when it first arrived with the hilt being split into three pieces lengthwise, but with a little work is now back in acceptable condition. The scabbard is next as the lower section where the end originally flared is in need of repair. there is a larger piece or wood split off and missing from the right side (when looking at the first photo) and a smaller section on the left. Where the wood has split can be seen in the last photos showing the sides of the scabbard. I believe that this is the first example of this style of dagger that I have ever seen where the center of the hilt used only a woven wrapping (instead of the usual silver band with two small rattan bands) where the rattan is still completely intact and in good condition. As for the age of this item, though only an opinion I would place this piece as possibly coming from the late 19th century.

The blade is 5-1/2 inches in length and 1-1/16 inches at its widest point. The hilt is 4-3/8 inches long including the tang and the center section between the blade and where the tang extends through it is 2-3/8 inches.

Any comments of information on this dagger would be greatly appreciated.

Best,
Robert
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Old 14th June 2017, 07:19 PM   #2
kino
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Very nice work Robert and you are fortunate to have a generous friend.
This dagger type has been eluding me. Congrats.
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Old 14th June 2017, 07:30 PM   #3
mariusgmioc
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A very beautiful piece, complete and in very good condition! I only saw a couple of them but they were in very bad condition and one without scabbard. Yours is truly a rare find!

I also think it may be from around 1900.
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Old 15th June 2017, 12:33 AM   #4
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Salaams and for this weapon Please see;

http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/na...hno/Dagger.html which states ~

Quote"The badao or winged dagger is a double bladed multi-purpose weapon used by the Mandaya of Eastern Mindanao. The dagger is a status symbol used among the Mandaya datu. It has a crown-like wooden pommel enclosed with a carved wooden sheath provided with red cloth. The red cloth symbolizes bravery among the Mandaya and it is usually seen among Mandaya hunters. The badao is 0.305 meters long and there are braided cloth belt and tassels provided to secure the dagger in proper place."Unquote.

Whilst Forum Library has other links and a great thread at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=5906

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 15th June 2017 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 15th June 2017, 01:24 AM   #5
Ian
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Very nice example Robert and again some good repair work on your part. These are very uncommon and difficult to find. I have only owned one and it was stolen in a break-in during the 1990s. Been looking for another good one at a reasonable price for many years. Congrats on your excellent gift.

Ian
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Old 15th June 2017, 06:20 AM   #6
Robert
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Thank you all for your kind words on the repairs that have been made to this point and for the links provided. In searching for what little information I could find on these daggers it seems that the ones with the earliest collection dates (like gunongs) appear to be of a smaller size and much less decorative than their later counterparts. I was wondering if anyone else has noticed this or come to this same conclusion, or am I trying to read more into this than the evidence supports
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Old 15th June 2017, 10:06 AM   #7
Sajen
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Hello Robert,

great work you have done so far on this little fellow. To glue the hilt without removing the rattan braiding was for sure a challenge, congrats!
I also think that it is a 19th century piece, maybe mid 19th century. It's also for me the first one I've seen without silver band at the waist of the handle. And like you I think that the small size could be a hint that it is a very early piece while the missing silver could just be hint of the lower status of the former owner. But the form of the wooden hilt could be again a sign of the great age of this piece. Just my thoughts.

Best regards,
Detlef
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Old 15th June 2017, 07:20 PM   #8
kai
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Hello Robert,

Thanks for showing!

Without any corroborating evidence that I know of, I'd be inclined to believe that these plain and smaller examples are more likely to be for people of somewhat lesser status: I'd expect early pieces of high status leaders to show at least better carving quality than seen with these examples...

AFAIK, there is also no shortage of silver with early antique jewellery - thus, I see no reason why the more embellished examples should not be at least as old; their workmanship is certainly of high quality.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 15th June 2017, 09:31 PM   #9
Jim McDougall
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Interesting dagger, and Ibrahiim thank you for the historical input and link. For those like myself who have little familiarity with these, it is great to have this kind of perspective to learn more on them. I honestly would never have known this was from the Philippines, and its good to know more on its features. Much appreciated.
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Old 16th June 2017, 12:14 AM   #10
Battara
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Nice job Robert and congratulations on getting a Mandaya knife.

Until recently I did not know how hard it was to get one of these. Part of the problem is that the scabbard wood seems to be made of a soft wood and may not survive.

Early examples vs lower status examples not having any silver - I don't know for sure. Not much evidence if any exists regarding early examples. What has been an established pattern (for the most part) is that upper status pieces seem to get the silver treatment.
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Old 16th June 2017, 05:32 AM   #11
Robert
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Quote:
great work you have done so far on this little fellow. To glue the hilt without removing the rattan braiding was for sure a challenge, congrats!


Thank you for your kind comment on this part of the restoration work on this piece. I must admit that it had taken me quite a few hours of head scratching to finally figure out how to re-align and hold the three broken sections of the hilt together, glue them back into one piece and keep them aligned until the glue had adequate time to dry all without causing damage to or making a complete disaster of the rattan wrapping. Though there is still much work to be done I am very pleased with how it has turned out so far.

Kai, I am not saying that the older higher end examples were not decorated. I was only pointing out that the pieces that I could locate that did have some provenance on when they were collected the ones collected earlier dating to the 19th century all appeared to be of a smaller size and less decorative than the ones collected in the 20th century. I only used the gunong as an example as they seemed to have evolved in their appearance in the same way. Earlier examples look smaller and less decorative than their later counterparts.

Jim, Thank you for your interest and comments on these unusual and rare daggers. I personally became most interested in them when I was preparing to do the restoration work on one of Detlef's examples before it arrived.

Jose, Thank you for your kind words as well. Like you I never knew just how hard it was to acquire one of these until I decided I needed one for my personal collection. All were either too expensive, already sold or in absolutely terrible condition well beyond my poor ability to help.
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