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Old 10th November 2021, 06:14 AM   #1
tanaruz
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Default TAUSUG BARUNG

Hello,

A recent acquisition. Sharing this vintage(?) Moro barung.

This was sold to us by the heirs of a retired Brigadier General of the defunct Philippine Constabulary(PC). He was assigned in the Zamboanga-Basilan-Jolo area.

My initial thought is that this is a Tausug barung(?) A vintage piece with a 'kastil' type blade profile.

The scabbard is sheathed with a yellow plastic band (as an anti-rain?).

Possible age?

All the best,

Yves
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Old 10th November 2021, 10:21 AM   #2
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The piece is recent, probably 80s, well below vintage (WW2 would be vintage). If one looks at the blade closely, one can see that it's 'molye' or monosteel, most likely leaf spring. The pommel is also of recent make; several Sulu-based outfit make that exact pommel nowadays.

"Kastil" as used by modern Tausug outfits is different from its old meaning. As with many terms, usage / definition may change per era. I personally don't use that to classify barungs.

Plastic bands were probably used due to scarcity of rattan. Other substitute, replacement or repair materials for rattan include colored tape, electrical tape, etc.

Last edited by xasterix; 10th November 2021 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 10th November 2021, 02:26 PM   #3
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I generally agree with Xasterix. I think it might be a little older than the 1980s, but not much. But we need to remember that "vintage" is generally 40 years or more and if this barung is from, let's say, 1980 that would put it at that 40 year old mark. So i would call it vintage. Certainly not antique though.
It is a shame someone went at that blade so aggressively with circular sander. Even mono steel deserves better restoration treatments than that.
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Old 10th November 2021, 02:49 PM   #4
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Default TAUSUG BARUNG

Hi,

This lovely barung is now up for proper restoration in my father's hometown of Zamboanga. Will post the same barung, post restoration.

Regards and many thanks,

Yves
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Old 10th November 2021, 04:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanaruz View Post
Hi,

This lovely barung is now up for proper restoration in my father's hometown of Zamboanga. Will post the same barung, post restoration.

Regards and many thanks,

Yves
Looking forward to seeing the restored barung.
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Old 10th November 2021, 04:24 PM   #6
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Hi Yves,

I am with David, I am pretty sure that your new toy is older than the 1980s. I would place it in the WWII area or short after.
Look to the wooden pommel, the piece never leave the Philippines so it has had every time the same climatic conditions regardless the wood get an age crack, for me a sign of good age.
I have a somewhat similar piece, sadly without scabbard, same material by the handle ferrules and same quality, similar detailed carving by the pommel.
By my example the blade is laminated and I wouldn't be surprised when it will be by Yves example also.
Compare!
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Old 10th November 2021, 04:36 PM   #7
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A picture from the light lamination and the handle today.
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Old 10th November 2021, 04:53 PM   #8
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PS: I wouldn't remove the yellow plastic band, see this kris from the collection of Mario Ghiringhelli. See the picture taken from the pictured book.
It's a part of it's history IMVHO.
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Old 10th November 2021, 05:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen View Post
PS: I wouldn't remove the yellow plastic band, see this kris from the collection of Mario Ghiringhelli. See the picture taken from the pictured book.
It's a part of it's history IMVHO.
The farthest I would go would be 70s though. I've held several locally-obtained pieces similar to the thread-starter's, provenanced from mid-70s all the way up to late 80s, hence my position on this. I chose the 80s as a conservative estimate. I'm OK to be proven wrong, if there's a provenanced WW2 / immediate postwar piece that would match the thread-starter's, with a definite date of acquisition.

As for the carving on the pommel, that same carving style exists until today, among newly-made barungs in Sulu. I have friends who make those.
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Old 10th November 2021, 08:17 PM   #10
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Hi Xas,

I am nearly sure that Yves will clean, polish and etch the blade, we will see, if it's from laminated steel the age will go rather in my estimation, when not more in the direction of your estimation.
Otherwise, I own much older pieces where the blade isn't laminated.
I go mainly with the overall patination with the later (60s-70s) addition of the yellow plastic band.
But you describe the problem well, since the 1940s the style until today doesn't change much.
PS: The horn plates at the scabbards are in the most cases from buffalo horn instead of turtel shell.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 10th November 2021, 08:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen View Post
Hi Xas,

I am nearly sure that Yves will clean, polish and etch the blade, we will see, if it's from laminated steel the age will go rather in my estimation, when not more in the direction of your estimation.
Otherwise, I own much older pieces where the blade isn't laminated.
I go mainly with the overall patination with the later (60s-70s) addition of the yellow plastic band.
But you describe the problem well, since the 1940s the style until today doesn't change much.
PS: The horn plates at the scabbards are in the most cases from buffalo horn instead of turtel shell.

Regards,
Detlef
HI Detlef, you're right on the point that presence or absence of lamination will be unreliable - I've been told there were still laminated Sulu blades being made until the 90s, and there are pre1900s that are monosteel, as you confirmed.

Anyway whichever way it goes, I'm sure that's a reliable fighting blade, as barungs always are. Hoping the thread starter is able to restore it back to its full glory.
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Old 10th November 2021, 08:48 PM   #12
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I would say that it is impossible to tell from the current condition of this blade whether or not it is laminated. It would need to be polished and then etched to find out. So i personally will draw no conclusions there.
On the yellow plastic wrap, i would still say it would be nice to replace this with rattan. Yes, Vanna has a kris with pink tape wrapped around the sheath. But just because these materials are indeed being used in more modern times by actual indigenous users of these weapons i am not convinced that is a good excuse to preserve the plastic wrap. The plastic isn't in the best of shape anyway, so if you are restoring it should be replaced and it is just as easy and will look far better if you replace it with rattan. Either way, the black electrical tape has to go.
I do agree with Detlef that there is both older monosteel blades as well as newer laminated blades. So i am not convinced that can be used to verify the age of the blade. I think this is certainly post WWII, but how much later than that date is difficult to tell.
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Old 11th November 2021, 12:56 AM   #13
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The decoration of Moro barung and kris scabbards with exotic synthetic materials (including aluminum) is very much a phenomenon of WWII and later, and seldom seen earlier. I agree with Xas that the wrap on the scabbard of Yves' barung is most likely 1980s in manufacture. Similarly, the kakatua pommel is post-WWII, and especially used later in the 20th C until today. Sajen's example has a kakatua with a smaller crest. This style may have appeared shortly before WWII and predates Yves' example.

I can't tell if the blade is laminated and it probably does not matter a whole lot for reasons already discussed. If the dress on the hilt and scabbard are original, then the dates Xas has given are what I would estimate also, making this barung roughly 30–50 years old. It is possible that the blade may be older and was redressed in the late 20th C, but that would be hard to demonstrate.
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Old 11th November 2021, 02:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen View Post
A picture from the light lamination and the handle today.
Hi Detlef, this sample of yours reminds me of my own barung, a double-edged from Zamboanga estimated to be WW2 era (immediately before, during, or after WW2). The small-featured pommel is typical of that era, and is markedly different from the thread-starter's. It's monosteel.

Ian, thanks for your insights.
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Old 11th November 2021, 10:07 AM   #15
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Hi Xas,

Yes, the hilt on yours is very similar to Detlef's example. Immediately pre-WWII or WWII era would be my estimate. Nasty looking double edge befitting the time of conflict. I would think its owner favored stabbing, although I'm sure that back edge could be used for slashing too.

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Old 11th November 2021, 07:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xasterix View Post
Hi Detlef, this sample of yours reminds me of my own barung, a double-edged from Zamboanga estimated to be WW2 era (immediately before, during, or after WW2). The small-featured pommel is typical of that era, and is markedly different from the thread-starter's. It's monosteel.
Hi Xas,

Yes, you are correct, they are very similar and I agree with you about the both carvings at barung handles, the ones from our examples are a few decades earlier. Still have the feeling, judging by the patination, that Yves's example is a little bit older than the 1980s. Just my feelings.
BTW, a very nice and unusual example.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 11th November 2021, 07:59 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Sajen's example has a kakatua with a smaller crest. This style may have appeared shortly before WWII and predates Yves' example.
Hi Ian,

I think it's the other way around, Xas's example is earlier.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 12th November 2021, 03:08 AM   #18
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Hi Detlef.

I was making a comparison between your barung and Yves'. Yours and Xas' are roughly the same age, although Xas' might be a little older. In any case, both of them are older than Yves'.

Regards,
Ian.
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Old 13th November 2021, 01:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
I was making a comparison between your barung and Yves'. Yours and Xas' are roughly the same age, although Xas' might be a little older. In any case, both of them are older than Yves'.
Hi Ian,

I've got your point! Yves's is the youngest example, my is older and Xsa's example the oldest. And I agree with you and Xas.

Regards,
Detlef
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