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Old 21st August 2006, 09:20 PM   #1
Bill M
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Default Huge Moro Panabas

Just got this huge Moro panabas. It is 32" long and weighs about five pounds. The blade is in excess of 3/8" at the thickest part. It is razor sharp.

According to Robert Cato in his book "Moro Swords," the panabas "began as an agricultural tool in the Philipines as a composite of a sickle and an axe. Used to cut through jungle, branches, thickets, any kind of unwanted flora that the farmer of jungle traveler might encounter.

"The panabas was popular with the Mindano Moros who showed a preference for longer, heavier swords such as the kampilan. The panabas fits well in this category especially in its more robust forms.

"Noting the potent chopping capabilities of the panabas tool, the Moros perceived new and more sinister possibilities for its use. It did double duty as a heavy wartime sword/axe and instrument of execution.

"Islamic law mandates the loss of a hand for thieves, as well as capital punishment for those who commit severe infractions of is codes and traditions.

"In the earlier traditions of Muslim Filipino history both the kris and the kampilan were used to execute condemned men. However as time porgressed, the Moros began to ornament both types of swords to a greater degree and in so doing endowed them with ceremonial status. They were no longer merely instruments with which to kill.

"A more efficient tool was needed to sever limbs and administer the death sentence. In many cases the sword of choice for these ugly tasks was the panabas; hence the nefarious reputation.

"Maguindanao sources report that panabases still exist whch are known to have taken over a thousand lives."

While I can not be certain that this panabas was used for execution, it is of the size and vintage of those that were used.

The first picture shows it with a very large Moro kris to give you an idea of size. The last picture shows it next to Cato's book. It is from his collection and is the one pictured here on page 94.
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Old 21st August 2006, 11:43 PM   #2
Battara
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Bill, I see the "X" talimanic marks on the spine. I would not think these were needed for a plain agricultural tool. War and executions would better justify the need better IMHO.
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Old 21st August 2006, 11:49 PM   #3
Bill M
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Bill, I see the "X" talimanic marks on the spine. I would not think these were needed for a plain agricultural tool. War and executions would better justify the need better IMHO.


Jose,
Did not mean to imply that this was an agricultural tool. Just that Cato said the war and execution panabases evolved from them.

But I bet this one would fell a fair sized tree, or enemy.
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Old 22nd August 2006, 02:14 AM   #4
Ian
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Default Nasty beast ...

Until you handle a massive brute like this it is hard to conceive the cutting power of a large panabas. Congrats Bill on finding such a monster.

You'll have to use it to trim the hedge -- afraid it doesn't have much further use here in the US.

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Old 27th August 2006, 11:27 PM   #5
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Bill, Your Panabas' smaller brotha is living with me. How about you send the big one over for a visit.
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