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Old 23rd November 2007, 10:48 PM   #1
RobT
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Default Philippine Bowie info requested

Hi All,
I picked up this Philippine Bowie at a small flea market and would like to know more about it. The blade is 12" long and a tad over 1.5" wide. The spine at the ferrule is 3/8" thick and tapers distally to the point. The tang goes completely through the hilt and is very neatly peaned over the butt cap. The initials "MG" in script face graven into the blade next to the hilt. The seven sided hilt is 5.875" long, 1.24" thick, and 1.5" deep. The ferrule and the butt cap (sorry for the soft focus on this detail) are brass. Alas there is no sheath. All in all it's a hefty and well made piece. I really like it and I'm sure Paul Hogan would agree, "that's a knife". Does anyone know the area of the Philippines this blade comes from and how old it might be?
Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 24th November 2007, 08:03 AM   #2
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reminds me of my slightly larger Bolo Tusok, (16in. blade)
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Old 25th November 2007, 04:40 PM   #3
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RobT,
Has the blade been damaged on the sharpened edge side right above the hilt? Not really sure of the age but I would guess it to be the second quarter of the 20th century and possible from Luzon. Maybe Jose will chime in with a more definite time-line and place of origin. All in all very nice knife.

Robert
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Old 25th November 2007, 07:39 PM   #4
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Default Thanks for the response

Hi, kronckew & Robert,
Thanks for the kindness of your responses. I don't think my knife can be considered a bolo because it doesn't have the requisite weight forward characteristics, rather it balances back into the hilt for a quick point. To me it looks more like a Bowie blade with a Turkish clip. The horn hilt on my knife indicates a bit more age than the hilt you show kronckew and the shape is really different. Your piece appears to have been designed as a well crafted blade that would appeal to native and international buyers alike. I don't believe seven sided hilts, although not unusual in Indonesia, are too common in the Philippines and for that reason I suspect my knife was crafted for a particular native niche market. I'm inclined to agree with Robert's 2nd quarter of the 20th century age assessment (although the good condition might indicate a 3rd quarter 20th century date). I also agree with Robert that there may have been some damage to the edge next to the hilt. Not only do many Philippine clip point blades flair out at the hilt, the blade overhang on my piece seems a bit skimpy to prevent the hand from sliding up the blade during a thrust. My blade also appears to have some rather sloppy file work in that area as if someone made a hasty repair. To conclude, I believe this knife is unique to a single area in the Philippines and hope that the Philippine blade fans in this forum will be good enough to weigh in with their expertise.
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RobT
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Old 25th November 2007, 08:11 PM   #5
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Ok, I'll say later in agreement and definitely Luzon. I like the work on the butt end. I wonder if it could be a later Pampangan piece -
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Old 25th November 2007, 08:21 PM   #6
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I would definitely like to see a better picture of the butt cap. Very nice work from what can be seen.

Robert
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Old 26th November 2007, 12:33 AM   #7
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Default This week for Butt cap

Hi All,
Yeah, the butt cap is as nice as the photo is lousy. I'll try to get a better shot on Monday. By the way, the work on the ferrule is really good also since the hilt was carved away to match the scalloped edges of the ferrule so that the metal is flush with the horn. Whoever MG was, he wanted good work.
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RobT
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Old 26th November 2007, 10:55 PM   #8
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Default Butt Cap Photo

Hi Robert,
Here's a clear photo of the butt cap. It's too bad that the flash washed out the patina. In reality, the butt cap is a mellow gold color with a hint of verdigris. You know, in a way the hilt looks like a reinterpretation of a Balinese Bondolan keris hilt. If the piece is indeed Pampangan work its Indonesian roots might be showing.
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RobT
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Old 27th November 2007, 12:44 AM   #9
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Here is an example of my tabak from Pampangas - though it is pre-1900. Note the similarities of the hilt to your own.
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Old 27th November 2007, 04:25 AM   #10
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Rob,
Very nice work on the butt plate and over all nice addition to your collection.. Now if I have this right this piece is probable third quarter 20th century, Luzon and possible a late Pampangan piece?
Jose, as usual your tabak is a beautiful example and with the original scabbard I'm jealous!

Robert
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Old 27th November 2007, 09:37 PM   #11
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I would agree with your summary Robert and thank you - I got it long ago with another piece that I sold (again long ago). Interesting enough for me to keep for while......
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Old 28th November 2007, 12:55 AM   #12
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Default Butt Cap matches

Hi All,
Battara, your butt cap and mine match very well so, even though the hilts (and blades) are shaped very differently, I think that a Luzon and Pampangan origin is an inescapable conclusion. Thanks very much for the id. Your piece is obviously older than mine but I think mine could just as likely be late 2nd quarter 20th century as 3rd quarter. My knife is in very good shape but that condition could be accounted for if it was a WW2 bringback. Are there some characteristics that you are looking at that place it solidly in the third quarter?
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RobT
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Old 28th November 2007, 07:49 PM   #13
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For me, it is the freshness of the edges and especially the shape of the blade (along with patina). Pampangans seemed to use the blade shape that is on mine until after 1900. In fact, I think this type of blade shape displaced (?) this type of traditional blade in later decades.
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Old 2nd December 2007, 01:33 AM   #14
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Default Thanks for the tip

Hi Battara,
Thanks for the tip on blade shape transformation as a clue to age. One thing you and I agree on is my blade was made well after the turn of the 20th century. For my part, whether the date of manufacture was 3rd quarter or late 2nd quarter is too close to call so I am inclined to entertain both estimates as equally likely.
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RobT
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