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Old 3rd March 2021, 09:47 PM   #19
Ian
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,195
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Mike,

Like several others, I think your sword is most likely from 1880-1900. I also believe it is from the Sulu Archipelago rather than Mindanao.

Here's why I think it is late 19th C. The blade is not an archaic style. While it has some resemblance to an archaic (pre-1800) style, the high number of luk would be most atypical for a pre-1800 kris, and the blade width is greater than early kris. Blade length depends on the owner's preference and is neither here nor there in determining age (although the preference among archaic kris seems to have been for shorter blades than those of the late 19th C). For me, the blade just lacks the elegance and refinement of early kris. That's not to say this kris is not elegant--it is in its own way--but just not elegant in the way early kris are. Instead I think your blade is of a style that was emerging in the last quarter of the 19th C--best seen in Mindanao, but also in the Sulu archipelago--with a somewhat heavier blade and a "chunkier" kakatua (such as seen on your example).

As to why Sulu? First, the elephant trunk, which Rick has found unusual, is a style seen sometimes in the Sulu Archipelago and can be found on some archaic Sulu kris. It is seen too on some Malay kris (as distinct from keris). This elephant trunk style does not indicate an archaic origin, however, because it can be found occasionally on 20th C kris as well. The scabbard is clearly Sulu, despite missing half its sampir. The kakatua on your piece is in a style used in Sulu, but not until the second half of the 19th C in my experience.

Those are the reasons for my opinions. I hope you find them helpful.

Regards,

Ian
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