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Old 9th January 2018, 12:03 AM   #1
Ian
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Default Modern barung

I've had these three barung for a while and I've been meaning to put them up for discussion.

The top one I purchased in Zamboanga in the late 1990s. I think it is Maranao or Yakan in origin (or perhaps a combination of both). The horn hilt is a flamboyant one, similar in manufacture to some of the modern pira that come from the same area in that it has a trapdoor at the end of the hilt. The pictures of the hilt show this feature.

The second one came from Manila and is Palawan in origin. A distinguishing feature of Palawano barung is often the absence of a metal punto which is replaced by rattan wrapping. The scabbard also has a distinctive style of wrapping with rattan that is also seen on their bangkung scabbards (there are examples of that sword and its scabbard elsewhere on this site). The scabbard on this barung has some nice carving showing dragons fighting. Palawan is the westernmost island in the Philippine archipelago and closest to the Chinese coast. It is not uncommon to find Chinese motifs in their crafts.

The third one I acquired in Davao City. It could be Maguindanao or Maranao in origin. The blade is a liberal interpretation of a barung. (Perhaps Jose can judge its origin from the okir work). Of the three, this is the best one with regard to quality of materials and workmanship.

Each of these barung is a departure from the more traditional forms seen in the Sulu Archipelago and Mindanao. These recent interpretations are interesting and reflect the ongoing skills of Muslim groups in the Philippines.

Ian.

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Old 9th January 2018, 11:08 PM   #2
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Interesting pieces, Ian.

The first barung might be Maguindanao from what little okir I can see.

I agree the second one is Palawan in origin, adding that this form of sipput barung mostly comes from that island.

The okir of the last barung looks Marano to me.
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Old 10th January 2018, 12:20 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input Jose.

Some of these modern interpretations of Moro weapons come on the market from time to time and it is hard to keep up with some of the newer styles.

This Forum could be a convenient way to keep an archive of newer styles.

Ian
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Old 10th January 2018, 08:56 AM   #4
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Very good pieces!

I strongly believe that being modern, doesn't make them less desirable as long as they are traditionally made and respect the ethnografic profile and trend.

Let us not forget that all the antique pieces of today, were modern some time ago.
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Old 10th January 2018, 02:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
... I strongly believe that being modern, doesn't make them less desirable as long as they are traditionally made and respect the ethnografic profile and trend.

Let us not forget that all the antique pieces of today, were modern some time ago.
Well said Marius. I agree that well made interpretations of traditional weapons are desirable and collectible. Respecting the ethnographic origins of the weapons is important too, as you note.

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Old 12th January 2018, 02:09 PM   #6
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Default Mid- to Late-20th C

These two are probably WWII era or later. Both have blades that are not as wide as the vast majority of older barung examples, and some people might not consider the top one a barung at all.

The top one has a suspension system for the scabbard that involves a rope passed through the hole running obliquely just below the throat. This is a traditional Visayan method for wearing a sword, while the Moro barung has traditionally lacked such a device and was worn thrust through a belt or sash or tucked into the waist of pants. The hilt is unusual in that it has a small disk guard, which has been identified on this Forum as a Maranao trait. A combination of Maranao origin and a Visayan suspension-style scabbard has been seen on other recent Moro weapons (see bottom example in the initial post of this thread), and might be expected given the large number of Visayans who live in Mindanao. That this was a well used barung is shown by the wear on the jute wrapping of the hilt, and the blade is still very sharp.

The bottom one is probably of similar age. It has the traditional MOP inlays on the scabbard that one associates with items sold in Zamboanga and nearby. The blade is traditionally leaf-shaped but not as wide as older examples. The brass punto on this one is short, a feature that has been attributed to Yakan weapons. Given the MOP on the scabbard and the short punto, I think this one is likely Yakan in origin.

Ian.
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Old 12th January 2018, 02:34 PM   #7
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Default Another late-20th C piece

This one was collected in Davao City in the late 1990s. It resembles the bottom one in the initial post of this thread in that the blade is an odd clipped form--something of a "barung/gayang" shape. The hilt has also been decorated with painted motifs on the kakatua pommel (see pictures). I think this one could be Maranao or Maguindanao in origin.

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Old 12th January 2018, 02:48 PM   #8
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Default WWII-era Palawano barung

This one has the appearance of a WWII-era barung. It has a narrow blade for a barung and is well worn and much sharpened, The scabbard is wrapped with cord in the manner of many WWII-era pieces. It is distinguished by an odd punto and a scabbard that is carved with "VICTORY" vertically, and with "Cuyo, Palawan" just below the top cord wrapping. The Cuyo Islands (capital Cuyo City) are a small archipelago of islands under the administration of Palawan Province that run between Palawan and Panay in the western Visayas. It is unusual to find and identify Palawano weapons by inscriptions of this type.

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Old 12th January 2018, 02:57 PM   #9
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Another one with a fairly short blade and a narrow profile that resembles a barung, but should it be called a barung? The scabbard has MOP inserts similar to other examples shown here.

OAL = 16.5 inches
Blade length = 12.25 inches

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Old 12th January 2018, 04:49 PM   #10
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Default And let's not forget recent N. Borneo barung

These are all WWII or later. The top three came from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. They date to the late 1990s. The bottom one of similar style is older and I think mid-20th C. It came from an online sale in 2001.

Each of these shares a similar style: small kakatua hilts, short iron punto, a blade with a single fuller running its length, and engraved designs above and below the fuller. The scabbards all have hangers (unlike most Moro scabbards from the Sulu Archipelago and Mindanao). The blades are slimmer than most of their Filipino cousins and the spines are fairly straight with a slight upturn to the tip.

Ian.
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Old 16th March 2019, 02:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
I've had these three barung for a while and I've been meaning to put them up for discussion.

The top one I purchased in Zamboanga in the late 1990s. I think it is Maranao or Yakan in origin (or perhaps a combination of both). The horn hilt is a flamboyant one, similar in manufacture to some of the modern pira that come from the same area in that it has a trapdoor at the end of the hilt. The pictures of the hilt show this feature.

The second one came from Manila and is Palawan in origin. A distinguishing feature of Palawano barung is often the absence of a metal punto which is replaced by rattan wrapping. The scabbard also has a distinctive style of wrapping with rattan that is also seen on their bangkung scabbards (there are examples of that sword and its scabbard elsewhere on this site). The scabbard on this barung has some nice carving showing dragons fighting. Palawan is the westernmost island in the Philippine archipelago and closest to the Chinese coast. It is not uncommon to find Chinese motifs in their crafts.

The third one I acquired in Davao City. It could be Maguindanao or Maranao in origin. The blade is a liberal interpretation of a barung. (Perhaps Jose can judge its origin from the okir work). Of the three, this is the best one with regard to quality of materials and workmanship.

Each of these barung is a departure from the more traditional forms seen in the Sulu Archipelago and Mindanao. These recent interpretations are interesting and reflect the ongoing skills of Muslim groups in the Philippines.

Ian.

.


Hi sir Ian,

At first glance, I'd say the first and third barungs are Tugaya products. The second is a badung from the Palaw'an tribe in Southern Palawan.
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Old 16th March 2019, 02:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
These two are probably WWII era or later. Both have blades that are not as wide as the vast majority of older barung examples, and some people might not consider the top one a barung at all.

The top one has a suspension system for the scabbard that involves a rope passed through the hole running obliquely just below the throat. This is a traditional Visayan method for wearing a sword, while the Moro barung has traditionally lacked such a device and was worn thrust through a belt or sash or tucked into the waist of pants. The hilt is unusual in that it has a small disk guard, which has been identified on this Forum as a Maranao trait. A combination of Maranao origin and a Visayan suspension-style scabbard has been seen on other recent Moro weapons (see bottom example in the initial post of this thread), and might be expected given the large number of Visayans who live in Mindanao. That this was a well used barung is shown by the wear on the jute wrapping of the hilt, and the blade is still very sharp.

The bottom one is probably of similar age. It has the traditional MOP inlays on the scabbard that one associates with items sold in Zamboanga and nearby. The blade is traditionally leaf-shaped but not as wide as older examples. The brass punto on this one is short, a feature that has been attributed to Yakan weapons. Given the MOP on the scabbard and the short punto, I think this one is likely Yakan in origin.

Ian.


To note, some modern barungs have already adopted the suspension system, but it is still more common on badungs. I would estimate the top example to be from Southern Palawan, but possibly not tribal. The next one, I'm not yet sure if its origin. While the width of the leaf blade is a good observation, there's great variety of widths already in vintage to modern barungs and badungs, to the point that oftentimes the best way to determine which is which is by the tip's orientation.

...but then again there are times when badungs have exactly the same profile as a barung. Other times, it's the hilt or scabbard that's the deciding factor.
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Old 16th March 2019, 02:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
This one was collected in Davao City in the late 1990s. It resembles the bottom one in the initial post of this thread in that the blade is an odd clipped form--something of a "barung/gayang" shape. The hilt has also been decorated with painted motifs on the kakatua pommel (see pictures). I think this one could be Maranao or Maguindanao in origin.

Ian


I'm also researching on this badung form. Haven't ascertained its origin yet, could be anywhere from Zamboanga, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, or Southern Palawan

...or it could also be a Tugaya product, as a lot of blades sold in Davao are sourced from Tugaya
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Old 16th March 2019, 02:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
This one has the appearance of a WWII-era barung. It has a narrow blade for a barung and is well worn and much sharpened, The scabbard is wrapped with cord in the manner of many WWII-era pieces. It is distinguished by an odd punto and a scabbard that is carved with "VICTORY" vertically, and with "Cuyo, Palawan" just below the top cord wrapping. The Cuyo Islands (capital Cuyo City) are a small archipelago of islands under the administration of Palawan Province that run between Palawan and Panay in the western Visayas. It is unusual to find and identify Palawano weapons by inscriptions of this type.

Ian.


Badung also from Southern Palawan, non-tribal
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Old 16th March 2019, 02:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Another one with a fairly short blade and a narrow profile that resembles a barung, but should it be called a barung? The scabbard has MOP inserts similar to other examples shown here.

OAL = 16.5 inches
Blade length = 12.25 inches

Ian.


Also a badung. Note the upturned tip.
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Old 16th March 2019, 06:04 AM   #16
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Xasterix,

Thanks for the identifications. Very interesting stuff. I didn't realize so many of these fell into the badung category. The slightly upturned tip makes a useful identification point.

Appreciate your help with these.

Ian.
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