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Old 16th February 2005, 01:49 AM   #1
Federico
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Default How wide spread is the term Sundang

Ok, a while back when my father was still alive, I asked him,"Dad, what did you call bolo in Waray." And well he said,"Son your great-granpa called the bolo he carried everyday, polished/sharpened everyday, and used for arnis a Sundang." Well suffice it to say, the weapon he described was not a kris sundang. When asked to identify what his grandfather called a Sundang I showed him a bunch of pics of Philippine bolos. When I showed him a pic of a Garab/Talibong he said he had never seen such a bolo before. In the end he felt the blade shape that was the closest match was that of the tenegre, but from his descriptions, the hilt was not a diety hilt but a nob hilted bolo. So now we come to the question, how many groups of people use the term Sundang, and when they use it what are they describing?
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Old 16th February 2005, 01:57 AM   #2
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AFAIK kris sundang is not referred to as just a sundang, but as kris sundang, which seems like to say "sword kris".....
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Old 16th February 2005, 05:38 AM   #3
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to the yakans, they refer to the kris as sundang.

federico, i am tempted to share this experience. when i showed cato's pictures of yakan piras to an old yakan puhan maker, he called them gasa and insisted that is the proper term they used way back. the piras to him are the ones being made today.

by the way, he makes horn hilts for these "gasa."
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Old 16th February 2005, 01:41 PM   #4
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Default Maybe Malay originally

Federico:

I believe sundang is a Malay word originally. I've heard it used in Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, as well as in the Philippines. I think in the Philippines it is another example of a word widely adopted from a Foreign language, with variable local useage. Much like bolo.

Dave Henkel may have a better understanding of where the term originated linguistically.

Ian.
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Old 16th February 2005, 02:19 PM   #5
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i had the same problem when i lived in manila and pampanga.
in pampanga, they called long bolos a sundang. in manila, with the street vendors, most bolo's were called sundang. if it was moro looking, like a barong, it was called sundang. so, i came to the assumption, that outside of the moroland, a sundang was a generic term for a longer bolo (bolo=another generic term for swords).
very confusing.
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Old 16th February 2005, 02:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zamboanga

federico, i am tempted to share this experience. when i showed cato's pictures of yakan piras to an old yakan puhan maker, he called them gasa and insisted that is the proper term they used way back. the piras to him are the ones being made today.

by the way, he makes horn hilts for these "gasa."


argghhhh!!!!! more confusion!!!!!

has anyone else heard of the term "gasa"??
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Old 16th February 2005, 02:41 PM   #7
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Perhaps the term sundang doesn't necessarily apply to the sword style or type, but rather to its nature or intention. I've asked my father and other relatives about "bolos" and that term describes a number of different long-knife/sword types generally used for utility and work. But when the term "sundang" is used, it generally applies to a purpose made fighting weapon not a utility "bolo."
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Old 16th February 2005, 03:53 PM   #8
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I know it only adds to the confusion, but I in particular tend to find the history and artifacts of each particular tribe or tribal group and feel that, when possible, knowing/using the local name for a piece from the originators is 1) a sign of respect, and 2) that this tiny area of linguistics out to be researched and documented in connection to weapons and weapon/tools in particular as modernization draws more and more away from the tribes and into "civilization" these terms are lost to posterity at a rate that's truly mind boggling.
Speaking just for myself, Federico and Zamboanga, please pass on any local info that you can think of and I'll definitely try and incorporate it into my collection.
Having remote Native American ancestry on both sides of my family I find that what knowledge remains of Native American weaponry is truly shameful, with most a gone as if it never was.
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Old 18th February 2005, 12:46 AM   #9
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So we find locals in Pampanga, Leyte/Samar, Manila, add Nueva Ecija (just remembered mom using the term) using the term sundang. Anymore specific areas that use this term? The Malay root sounds like a very plausible reason for its diffusion in such a large area, but what does the sundang refer to in Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia (aside from the keris sundang)? I like Zel's interpretation that perhaps sundang refers to fighting blades, but then when my mom uses the term she uses it to describe just regular bolo. Is its meaning perhaps also rooted in time? Eg. in the past it refered to a weapon, but as modern times erase the commonness of weapons in Xtian areas, it joins the pantheon of generic bolo terms such as itak, tabak, etc... (in the kitchen my mom always tells me to pass her the itak when she wants a knife and the tabak when she wants the cleaver).
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