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Old 5th December 2023, 09:05 PM   #1
Marius66
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Default Africans or dayak bronze hilted swords ?

Hello guys,

The seller told me these were two african small swords with bronze hilts
But scabbards and the blade looks something ''indonesian ''to me or reminds me dayak swords blades.

Heavy models,
One seems to have a brass hilt
Get them for a cheap price but I have to clean them, they were covered with mud ...
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Old 5th December 2023, 09:34 PM   #2
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Well, they are certainly not African, but they aren't Dayak either. I believe these come from the Philippines, more specifically Bagobo culture. One might consider them a form of Bagobo kampilan.
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Old 6th December 2023, 05:14 AM   #3
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Hello Marius,

As David has noted, these are from the southern Philippines. More specifically, they both come from the T'boli people of Cotobato Province in Mindanao. They are neighbors to several Lumad tribes (including the Bagobo and B'laan) as well as Maguindanao Muslims.

Your example with the knuckle guard is probably of relatively recent manufacture, post-1970, while the other one is likely older. The scabbards are of typical T'boli shape; many have incised carvings of geometric shapes and are often wrapped in ikat (patterned woven fabric) for which the T'boli are famous.

There are others on this forum who specialize in T'boli cultural artifacts and can give you more detailed information. You will find more about your swords by searching this Forum for other threads related to them. The T"boli call these swords tok or kafilan. The blades of these swords are generally very well forged, with good temper and hardened edge. You can see evidence of edge hardening in your pictures.

These swords have some market value, so you may have made a good deal. Although we don't dicuss prices on the forum, you may PM people to gauge their current value.
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Old 6th December 2023, 12:17 PM   #4
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Thank's a lot for your messages and detailled answers !!
I read that these blades were often laminated,
I will try to see if that is the case and post pictures.

Kind regards
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Old 6th December 2023, 06:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
More specifically, they both come from the T'boli people of Cotobato Province in Mindanao. They are neighbors to several Lumad tribes (including the Bagobo and B'laan) as well as Maguindanao Muslims.
Marius, just to confirm, since varying answers can be sometimes be confusing and you might be wondering what is the actually correct answer, i believe Ian's answer of T'boli is probably the correct one. I was actually trying to remember the name of that tribe when i answered and only Bagobo, which shares some resemblance to these T'boli blades, came to mind.
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Old 7th December 2023, 12:32 PM   #6
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David, I may have been a little hasty in saying both of these are T'boli. The one with the knuckle bow certainly is. The slightly shorter one has a hilt that might be Bagobo or B'laan. It is not the typical T'boli form. Both hilts appear to be cast from brass.

Similarly, the larger scabbard is typically T'boli. The other one could be T'boli but might be Bagobo or B'laan too. The "tubes" protruding from the end of the scabbard are found on several Lumad scabbards. The shorter scabbard is otherwise rather non-descript with regard to which group it may have come from.
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Old 7th December 2023, 03:12 PM   #7
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The one without the guard is Bagobo with a very nicely cast hilt and great scabbard. Nice score. The blade should etch nicely. I like the T'boli scabbard too.
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Old 8th December 2023, 12:41 PM   #8
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Hi Jeff,

The blade on the Bagobo hilted sword could be of T'boli manufacture. The T'boli blades are high quality and sought after. The Bagobo did use blades acquired from the T'boli because of their quality. This particular blade may have a heat quenched edge. Hard to tell without cleaning and etching.
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Old 8th December 2023, 08:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
David, I may have been a little hasty in saying both of these are T'boli. The one with the knuckle bow certainly is. The slightly shorter one has a hilt that might be Bagobo or B'laan. It is not the typical T'boli form. Both hilts appear to be cast from brass.

Similarly, the larger scabbard is typically T'boli. The other one could be T'boli but might be Bagobo or B'laan too. The "tubes" protruding from the end of the scabbard are found on several Lumad scabbards. The shorter scabbard is otherwise rather non-descript with regard to which group it may have come from.
Thanks Ian. These are just slightly outside my field of collection, though i do find them interesting and worthy of study. Nice to know i wasn't too far off.
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Old 8th December 2023, 08:34 PM   #10
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Good evening,
I cleaned the blades and hilts ,
Interesting in the bagobo model without guard, we now can see a part of the wood hilt under the brass.
For the blades, both really sharps, I cut myself twice while cleaning them 😁
I used vinegar , it darkened the blades but it don't seems there is a pattern,
Maybe is it useful to sand the blades and use a better etchant ?
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Old 8th December 2023, 08:38 PM   #11
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Here the knuckle guard and blade,
I will soon clean the scabbards...
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Old 8th December 2023, 10:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Hi Jeff,

The blade on the Bagobo hilted sword could be of T'boli manufacture. The T'boli blades are high quality and sought after. The Bagobo did use blades acquired from the T'boli because of their quality. This particular blade may have a heat quenched edge. Hard to tell without cleaning and etching.
There is a deep black side and a ''brighter''-""metallic'' on the sharp edge side of the blade without guard.
Is that what you call a '' heat quenched edge'' ?

Kind regards
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Old 9th December 2023, 11:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marius66 View Post
There is a deep black side and a ''brighter''-""metallic'' on the sharp edge side of the blade without guard.
Is that what you call a '' heat quenched edge'' ?

Kind regards
It could be. Your latest pictures seem to show differential hardening but etching would likely bring it out better. Heat and then quenching with oil or water will create a different crystalline structure and harder edge, which shows as a line along the edge that is a different color from the rest of the blade.
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Old 21st May 2024, 11:59 PM   #14
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Default New Tboli tok/kafilan

Iím the new owner of this nice-looking tok/kafilan. Looks to have some age? The scabbard retains some of the woven binding and the grass? component. Whatever ornaments were originally present on the hilt appear to be missing. Seller photos, will post this beauty when it arrives!
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Old 23rd May 2024, 03:16 AM   #15
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Default Tboli kefilan

Wildwolberine,

That’s a nice and very old Tboli kefilan. Terrific old scabbard as well, which I would identify as Blaan. Nice pick up and thanks for sharing.

Best,
Craig
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Old 23rd May 2024, 04:05 PM   #16
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Hi WW,

Nice old example. I agree with Craig, this one could well be B'laan, the people "over the hill" from the T'boli.


BTW, the blades on these swords are excellent—they are tough and hold a sharp edge very well.
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