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Old 15th October 2017, 05:59 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2013
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Default Unique Bagobo / Moro combo


What appears to be a nice old Bagobo sword and scabbard quickly reveals itself to be a bit more complicated. First we see the wavy Moro blade, then we see the words "WT Lewis" and "Broderick CAL" tapped into the brass hilt, and finally what appear to be random pitting on both sides of the upper blade is actually another spelling of WT Lewis on one side and Broderick CAL on the other.

The stated provenance of the piece places it being acquired in Mindanao in the very early 20th century. Assuming Mr. Lewis was in the Spanish American War, that would make sense.

The full sword measures 22 3/4" and the blade itself is 17 1/2". It's a lovely old piece but deserving of some insight and analysis from the experts on this forum. Thank you very much.
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Old 15th October 2017, 06:18 PM   #2
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What an interesting piece, thank you for posting.

This is a Bagobo piece in everything but the blade which is Moro, probably Maguindanao in origin.

The blade is also old, perhaps from the 1880s to 1890s. It seems that the base of the blade was cut down and modified to fit the usual Bagobo profile length.

Pieces like this are not uncommon since there was lots of trade within the area, and many times one will see Moro blades on Lumad pieces.
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Old 15th October 2017, 06:29 PM   #3
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Hi Marbel:

Interesting sword. It is not uncommon to see the Bagobo repurpose Moro blades, with their own hilt styles. Most of these blades were probably acquired through trade with nearby Maranao and Maguindanao groups. They also used T'boli blades and probably other Lumad weapons.

This sword probably does not relate to the Span-Am War. There was little involvement of Mindanao in that conflict--most of that fighting was in and around Manila. American conflicts with the Moro started in the early 1900s and continued for the next 20 years or so before an uneasy truce emerged, with just the occasional flare up after 1920.

I think your sword is probably from the era when American troops were most active on Mindanao, basically from about 1902-1915, although US military personnel were stationed in the area until the Japanese invasion in 1942.

It is possible your sword is more recent than the early 1900s, but I think your dating is probably correct. The blade looks older than the fittings, perhaps late 19th C.


P.S. Battara and I cross-posted simultaneously and I apologize for repeating much of what he said.

Last edited by Ian : 15th October 2017 at 06:36 PM. Reason: Cross-posted with Battara
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Old 22nd October 2017, 04:38 AM   #4
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Default Thank you

Battara and Ian,

Iíve been extra distracted with ďreal lifeĒ issues this past week, but along the lines of better late than never - thank you very much for your thoughts and insights on the sword. Iím learning, slowly but surely.

Thanks again!
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