Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 22nd January 2022, 01:50 AM   #1
efrahjalt
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 19
Default A Flamberge Sword For Comments

Hi All

I have had this flamberge bladed sword for a few years and it's been a bit of a mystery to me. I would like to know more about it if possible. Some of the shapes on this blade remind me of weapons from the Philippines. The slanted guard for example reminds me of the slant seen on keris, and the flamberge blade of course is commonly found in SE Asian weapons. That said I haven't seen anything quite like it so have no idea where to place it in time or culture.

The blade is beautifully carved with very well done and crisp waves. Having done some blade making myself I have an appreciation for how much effort this would take to do nicely. The hilt however leaves something to be desired which makes be wonder if it is a later addition. The metal hilt parts are aluminum which makes it quite recent, but the blade appears to have a little more age to it. Hard to say for sure. Am I onto something?

The blade is 30-1/2 in and the total length is 36-1/2in, so it's not a small blade, and if it's from the Philippines it's quite large compared to typical swords from that part of the world.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this one if any.

Thanks!
Attached Images
    
efrahjalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2022, 07:19 AM   #2
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,424
Default

Hello efrahjalt:

Welcome to the forum, and thank you for posting this interesting sword!

As you note, this is probably a sword from the southern Philippines, with the blade forged by a Moro panday. The curves appear to be forged rather than created by stock removal. In total, I count 27 luk, which is an unusually high number for the Moro kris that this sword seems to be based on. I think the highest number of luk on a Moro kris that I have seen is 21. Also, a blade length over 30 inches is really uncommon. There were long swords developed during the Japanese Occupation Period (1941-1945). The blade is clearly missing its gangya (perhaps never had one) and might well be a custom made piece for a foreigner.

The hilt is highly atypical, of course, for a Moro blade. Is the hilt mostly horn or wood?

An interesting sword made for someone outside the Moro culture. Probably WWII-era manufacture, or shortly afterwards.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2022, 10:47 AM   #3
chmorshuutz
Member
 
chmorshuutz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Posts: 17
Default

Reminds me of those kris from Luzon and Visayas, those are much pointier than their Moro counterparts. Then there's also the absence of typical gangya found in Moro kalis, instead it uses the guard similar to Luzon/Visayan kris.
chmorshuutz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2022, 11:46 AM   #4
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,832
Wink

I agree: This blade doesn't look like Moro craftsmanship - much more likely one of the northern look-alikes. Only the slanted base is unusual...

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2022, 03:01 PM   #5
efrahjalt
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by chmorshuutz View Post
Reminds me of those kris from Luzon and Visayas, those are much pointier than their Moro counterparts. Then there's also the absence of typical gangya found in Moro kalis, instead it uses the guard similar to Luzon/Visayan kris.
I think you may be onto something with the Luzon Kris idea. I did some quick searching and there are definitely some more similarities - longer blades, more luk (thanks for that term Ian), similar guards, straight grips etc. Have a look at the examples in this older post I found while searching:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15997
efrahjalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2022, 05:58 PM   #6
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,424
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by efrahjalt View Post
I think you may be onto something with the Luzon Kris idea. I did some quick searching and there are definitely some more similarities - longer blades, more luk (thanks for that term Ian), similar guards, straight grips etc. Have a look at the examples in this older post I found while searching:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15997
efrajait,

Thanks for bringing up that old thread. I agree that a northern Luzon origin is a distinct possibility. However, as you will see from the comments of Battara in that thread, there are/were Moro craftsmen in northern Luzon/Ilocos Norte also. The example that I showed in that thread (post no. 14) lacks a central ridge to the blade.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2022, 09:46 PM   #7
Battara
EAAF Staff
 
Battara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,890
Default

I have also been recently informed that Tagalogs also made wavy blades as well.
Battara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd January 2022, 11:52 AM   #8
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,832
Post

Hello Ian,

Quote:
I agree that a northern Luzon origin is a distinct possibility. However, as you will see from the comments of Battara in that thread, there are/were Moro craftsmen in northern Luzon/Ilocos Norte also.
Yes, although by the time this blade got forged they most likely got acculturated (or left for good).

Note that for example the tip is distinct from what you see in genuine Moro blades (and size is often longer, too). There are enough wavy blades throughout the Christian part of the Philippines and there seems to be no reason why we need to attribute pieces like this to Moro bladesmiths (as opposed to just cultural ideas getting picked up by neighbouring communities).

I bet that the tang of this blade is not a typical Moro tang either...

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd January 2022, 01:00 PM   #9
chmorshuutz
Member
 
chmorshuutz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Posts: 17
Default

Yes, Tagalogs used to make "Luzon kris" as well, there are surviving samples from Batangas province. Kris is also one of the blades documented on the 1917 ethnographic paper of weapons and tools from Taal. Unfortunately, the tradition of forging long blades including kris in Batangas is pretty much dead, they only make balisong nowadays.

I also wanna share this modern "Luzon kris" from Tagalog region, but from Rizal instead. I'm not sure if it's indeed a successor of the older Luzon kris, or a modern acculturation, I suppose the latter. But there are still some features distinct from their Moro counterparts.
Attached Images
 
chmorshuutz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th January 2022, 07:47 PM   #10
Rafngard
Member
 
Rafngard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Minneapolis,MN
Posts: 292
Default As long as we're sharing...

Here's two of my non-Moro Kris.

The larger one has been estimated by another group member to be WWII era, and is clearly from Luzon

The smaller one has been discussed here before. It has elements that look Visayan (the scabbard with sheets of Carabao horn, the lack of a peened tang), and elements that look like Luzon.

Have fun,
Leif
Attached Images
  
Rafngard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2022, 02:31 PM   #11
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 6,536
Default

I have to say that i don't agree that any of these flamberge should be referred to a "kris". Regardless of spelling, a kris/keris/cris/etc is an asymmetric blade with a gonjo/gangya/etc, not simply any weapon with a wavy blade. I don't know what these northern swords with wavy blades are called within their cultures of origin, but somehow i doubt they called them "kris". Nor do i think it is necessary that these Northern Philippines swords needed to be made by Moro smiths.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2022, 02:51 PM   #12
chmorshuutz
Member
 
chmorshuutz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Posts: 17
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
I have to say that i don't agree that any of these flamberge should be referred to a "kris". Regardless of spelling, a kris/keris/cris/etc is an asymmetric blade with a gonjo/gangya/etc, not simply any weapon with a wavy blade. I don't know what these northern swords with wavy blades are called within their cultures of origin, but somehow i doubt they called them "kris". Nor do i think it is necessary that these Northern Philippines swords needed to be made by Moro smiths.
Thesea are also called "kris" in non-Moro areas of Philippines too, at least as early as 1917. But I'm not sure if the older ones are referred as such, but there's a possibility since trade with Sultanates in Mindanao and Spanish Philippines did happen.

Some languages in Luzon (i.e. Tagalog) did use the term "kalis" (the term Moros used as well) as evidenced in 17th century Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala. But as to what happened to kalis in the Christianized areas, it was never specified nor its connection with the non-Moro kris clearly established. The whole information and history about these non-Moro kris were quite murky.

Last edited by chmorshuutz; 26th January 2022 at 02:59 PM. Reason: Added comments
chmorshuutz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2022, 07:33 PM   #13
efrahjalt
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 19
Default

It appears from the examples posted and others that the handle may not be original. It doesn't seem to conform well to any forms associated with the blade type. There are some similarities to a few blades I have seen, but they are pretty distant. Here are some of the examples I'm referring to (first two images). They have a distantly similar pommel swell, and line motifs, but it's a bit of a stretch. The materials used also make me question as they also seems atypical for these blades. The handle appears to be made of 4 materials: aluminum, stacked leather, phenolic, and some kind dense hardwood or possibly another resin product similar to phenolic. The materials seem to all be very robust and completely solid in construction, so there is quality there, but they just seem off. Perhaps a bring back from the Spanish American war that was re-hilted?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Thanks for bringing up that old thread. I agree that a northern Luzon origin is a distinct possibility. However, as you will see from the comments of Battara in that thread, there are/were Moro craftsmen in northern Luzon/Ilocos Norte also. The example that I showed in that thread (post no. 14) lacks a central ridge to the blade.
Ian, Please tell me more about the significance of the central ridge.
Attached Images
   

Last edited by Lee; 27th January 2022 at 01:17 PM. Reason: Removed link to item currently being offered for sale
efrahjalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2022, 07:31 PM   #14
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 6,536
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by chmorshuutz View Post
Thesea are also called "kris" in non-Moro areas of Philippines too, at least as early as 1917. But I'm not sure if the older ones are referred as such, but there's a possibility since trade with Sultanates in Mindanao and Spanish Philippines did happen.

Some languages in Luzon (i.e. Tagalog) did use the term "kalis" (the term Moros used as well) as evidenced in 17th century Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala. But as to what happened to kalis in the Christianized areas, it was never specified nor its connection with the non-Moro kris clearly established. The whole information and history about these non-Moro kris were quite murky.
Frankly i am not sure that "kris" is even a word that had much indigenous use at all even with Moro blades. Each Moro tribe has it's own terminology for what we call the kris. But the Moro kris is obviously derived from it's Indonesian cousin. It is larger and became a slashing rather than a stabbing weapon, but the parts are in the same form. Asymmetrical blade (either straight or wavy) and a separate "guard" piece (gonjo or gangya). A keris/keris is not determined by a wavy blade and i believe that calling everything with a wavy blade a kris is a bit of a misnomer. I am sure that these wavy blades from Luzon and other northern Philippines areas had a local name at some time that was not simply "kris".
Attached Images
 
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2022, 09:04 PM   #15
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,122
Default

I have been under the impression for many years that correct terminology for a weapon with a waved blade is that this type of weapon has a "flamboyant" blade. Thus, a "flame-like" blade (Oxford).

A keris, spelt in any way but referring to the same type of weapon that sometimes has a waved blade, does have a flamboyant blade when it is waved.

But all weapons with flamboyant blades are certainly not keris, or even keris-like.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2022, 11:37 PM   #16
Battara
EAAF Staff
 
Battara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,890
Default

It depends on the tribe and the time period. Some do use "kris" and others use "sundang" among other terms for example.
Battara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th January 2022, 07:19 PM   #17
RobT
Member
 
RobT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 312
Default Another Slanted Guard/Serpentine Blade

Hi All,

I have a dagger with a slanted guard and a serpentine blade that I always thought came from the Philippines. The hilt of my dagger is composed wide bands of horn and four clear plastic washers (Japanese aircraft windshield perhaps). The horn pommel section is slanted parallel to the guard. The through tang is held by a knobbed and rimmed brass washer but the one piece guard/ferrule is some sort of non-ferrous white metal (maybe aluminum). The dagger OAL is about 13.25" (33.65cm) with a blade length of about 8.75" (22.22cm). I never doubted that the hilt and blade were made in the Philippines at the same time during or after WWll.
If efrahjalt's blade dates from on or before the Spanish-American war (1889), it is a lot older than the hilt because, back then, aluminum was so rare that, at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1855, a bar of it was exhibited alongside the French Crown Jewels. As of 1890 it still had 20% of that value. Given the careful quality of the hilt, I believe that, if the sword was rehilted, it was done by a Filipino during WWll. There was plenty of aluminum from downed aircraft lying around and plastic resins were also available.
I have to say that I agree with David and A. G. Maisey. Calling any serpentine blade a kris (or a keris), unless it has the qualifying morphological characteristics can only lead to confusion.

Sincerely,
RobT
Attached Images
 

Last edited by RobT; 28th January 2022 at 07:27 PM. Reason: addition
RobT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th January 2022, 07:52 PM   #18
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 6,536
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara View Post
It depends on the tribe and the time period. Some do use "kris" and others use "sundang" among other terms for example.
Can you tell me what research this is based upon?
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th January 2022, 04:27 AM   #19
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,424
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by efrahjalt View Post
... Ian, Please tell me more about the significance of the central ridge.
Hi efrahjalt,

A central ridge is created on an initially straight blade, and then the waves (luk) are forged back and forth along its central axis (reflected by the ridge)—the central ridge thus becomes wavy during the forging process.

This is in contrast to stock removal. Again, one starts with a straight blade and a central ridge, but the waves are ground directly into the edge of the blade. In this case, the central ridge remains straight and the luk have a pointed appearance.

If a blade is forged from flat stock a central ridge is absent. This is probably the norm for most Moro kris, but some do have a central ridge.

Many wavy bladed knives and swords made elsewhere in the Philippines often have a central ridge. This is particularly true for those made in northern and central Luzon. Flat bladed, wavy swords are relatively uncommon from Luzon.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 02:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.