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Old 13th December 2011, 09:53 AM   #1
blindside
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Default writing on a sansibar hilt

I was cleaning the hilt on this beat up old sansibar and it accentuated some writing on the hilt. I am curious if anyone can interpret what it means. I am showing two of the three lines, the third face is so hard to discern that I can't make much out even in the best of light. I am showing two versions one is under normal light, the second is my attempts to enhance the writing to make it more distinct.

Even if nobody can make heads or tails of this, is this sort of thing common or uncommon? Once again, thanks in advance.
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Old 13th December 2011, 10:36 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
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I am wondering where the 'Zanzibar' designation comes from on this.
The wood hilt is quite unusual and the blade seems to recall some of the heavier 'flyssa' type sabres from Algerian Berber regions in 20th c.
Not sure on the writing which hopefull our linguists might recognize.
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Old 13th December 2011, 11:36 PM   #3
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hello. that looks like a luzon tabak (war sword). similar examples are below. as for the engraving, the repetition of the words/abbreviations makes it a good candidate for an anting-anting incantation, which is usually rendered in pig latin. thanks for sharing the pics!
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Old 14th December 2011, 02:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
hello. that looks like a luzon tabak (war sword). similar examples are below. as for the engraving, the repetition of the words/abbreviations makes it a good candidate for an anting-anting incantation, which is usually rendered in pig latin. thanks for sharing the pics!
I was thinking possibility of it being an anting-anting as well. The partial remains of the scabbard has what may be a Sacred Heart on it, I will see if I can get a decent picture of it.

My naming of the blade comes from martial arts references (which I am perfectly sure aren't always accurate) regarding the common blade term, it is entirely possible I am off a region or dialect. I have frequently seen (and heard) references to the Sansibar, and I thought it was based off of blade shape, and that the term was common to the eastern Visayas. Speaking of which, I have also seen this type of blade (and that tabak) called a "matulis."
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Old 14th December 2011, 02:32 AM   #5
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Thanks. Here are some sample anting-anting imageries & scripts, coming from this book. I'll also look for heart-shaped images.
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Old 14th December 2011, 05:08 AM   #6
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Here is the image from the scabbard:
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Old 14th December 2011, 05:58 AM   #7
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I would like to return to the blade nomenclature if you don't mind, I've been poking around trying to figure out why I am calling this a sansibar and admittedly trying to get good sources is difficult with lots of references going to various retail outlets, but one seemed somewhat credible. The Macau Museum of Art display from 2006 lists the images as Tenegre and Sansibar and sourcing out of the Visayas, the following image sources blades from Luzon including what it is calling a tabak (first blade on the left). I understand members of this forum contributed to the display, were these blades misidentified by the Museum? I am perfectly happy to be wrong, I just want to know why I am wrong.
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Old 14th December 2011, 05:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blindside
I would like to return to the blade nomenclature ...
the commonly used terms at present in luzon for work and/or self-defense blades are sundang/sondang, itak, gulok, and tabak.

sundang, itak, and gulok (which are synonyms) are more of the dual-purpose blades (work and self defense). a tabak on the other hand is purely a weapon.

thus the ones exhibited being apparently 'side arms', should be properly called tabak. 'sansibar' is not used at all in luzon, incidentally.

historically, a lot more terms are used. we can see some of them in the pages below of san buenaventura's excellent 1613 spanish-tagalog (i.e., luzon) dictionary. an online version is here.

in that dictionary, we can see that the tagalog word for sword (espada in spanish) is 'kalis'. in other parts of the philippines, it's 'karis', because 'l' and 'r' are sometimes interchangeable to us (ilanun/iranun, lanao/ranao, balangay/barangay, etc.).

in indonesia/malaysia which are next door to us, our kalis/karis is 'keris' if i'm not mistaken. thus the cognates kalis/karis/keris (and presumably, 'kris' is their contraction) is the ancient philippine/indonesian/malaysian term for the common sword.

for the short sword (alfange/alfanje in old dictionaries), the luzon equivalent is 'tabak', as can be seen in that 1613 dictionary.

in summary, the luzon short swords we are seeing above are definitely called 'tabak', even from the olden days.

by the way, can any of the our spanish-speaking friends do us a favor, by translating the spanish portions below of the definitions of "alfanje/tabac" and "espada/kalis"

i'm sure we will learn more, that way. thanks in advance!
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Old 14th December 2011, 05:35 PM   #9
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as an aside, we can also see above (san buenaventura) that 'calis' (pls. refer to the spanish entry 'esgrimir', i.e., fencing/ sword fighting) has a second meaning -- 'kalis' is the name of the precolonial fighting art of our islands.

the elaboration of 'kalis' in the definition states that reeds and canes ('palos y caņas') are used in that fighting art. but 'kali' can't be found anywhere in those old dictionaries, which are many. thus it's really 'kalis' (or 'karis') that's the term for the ancient martial arts, aside from being a term for the bladed weapon itself.
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Old 14th December 2011, 05:55 PM   #10
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Hi blindside, I am aware that migueldiaz (Lorenz Lasco)is one of the few who had done intensive research on the names of such weapons. I have no doubt with regards the accuracy of his statements.

Hi Lorenz, the "alfanfe/tabac" is described it as a machete with a sheath that is attached to a belt.
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Old 14th December 2011, 09:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
as an aside, we can also see above (san buenaventura) that 'calis' (pls. refer to the spanish entry 'esgrimir', i.e., fencing/ sword fighting) has a second meaning -- 'kalis' is the name of the precolonial fighting art of our islands.

the elaboration of 'kalis' in the definition states that reeds and canes ('palos y caņas') are used in that fighting art. but 'kali' can't be found anywhere in those old dictionaries, which are many. thus it's really 'kalis' (or 'karis') that's the term for the ancient martial arts, aside from being a term for the bladed weapon itself.
I have read an article regarding the etymology of kali that cited that "calis" reference, one that I was highly interested in given that I am a student of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali.

And thank you for the information on the Luzon blades nomenclature.
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Old 14th December 2011, 11:50 PM   #12
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@nonoy, thanks for the compliment and the translation as well.

@blindside, thanks too for the reply. the fma group i belong to also uses 'kali' in its name. and i also don't think that the closeness of the two words (kalis & kali) is a mere coincidence. in this little article i wrote, i was speculating that the dropping of the 's' in 'kalis' over time might have been due to the way baybayin is written (like what paul morrow illustrated, below).

on the heart-shaped symbol on the scabbard, i see that motif from time to time. but i have yet to figure out what it is
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