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Old 5th June 2022, 04:44 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Default ART IN FORGED STEEL: A Yakan Moro Twistcore Barong/Barung

This elegant Yakan Moro barong exhibits a lovely blade forged from panels of twistcore steel that essentially make up the entire blade. It creates an amazing effect and is one of the finest examples of twistcore...on anything...I have seen. As has been pointed out before, I believe we should especially respect the craftsmanship of this blade remembering the conditions under which it was forged.

The hilt is from wood with a small silver ferrule and an accompanying horn ferrule typical to Yakan Moro work. The pommel is carved horn.

The new scabbard was created by Philip Tom based on three historical examples, and painstaking attention to detail. I finished it with the rattan.

Dimensions:
Overall length: Just under 22in./56cm.
Blade: 13in./33cm.
Width at the blade's widest point: just under 3in./7.2cm.
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Old 5th June 2022, 05:10 PM   #2
Gustav
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Fantastic indeed! Remarcably well controlled twisted bars while twisting and forging, nearly impeccable pattern as final product.

Congratulations!
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Old 5th June 2022, 05:44 PM   #3
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One of the best so far in my opinion. I agree with the craftsmanship relating to the era and conditions.
Some might say that it’s hails from N.Borneo.
How thick is the spine nearest the hilt?
We think we’ve seen it all until a different one pops out of the woodwork.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 5th June 2022, 06:41 PM   #4
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Wow, fantastic indeed!
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Old 6th June 2022, 06:06 PM   #5
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That thing is scary good!
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Old 7th June 2022, 12:21 AM   #6
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Gentlemen,
Thank you all for your very kind words. This is a very special piece for me and I feel very fortunate to have it. Thanks again for your input and insights.
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Old 7th June 2022, 12:12 PM   #7
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Definitely one of the best barungs I've ever seen.

However, I'm not sure if it was made by the Yakan.
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Old 8th June 2022, 12:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
Gentlemen,
Thank you all for your very kind words. This is a very special piece for me and I feel very fortunate to have it. Thanks again for your input and insights.
Charles,

That is an incredible find!!! Congratulations and glad it has found a good home.
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Old 9th June 2022, 01:41 AM   #9
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On the one hand I see Charles' point of the horn punto sleeve being Yakan, and yet on the other hand the pommel is shorter than the usual Yakan barung pommel.

Hmmm..........
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Old 9th June 2022, 02:52 AM   #10
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To elaborate on my previous assertion that it may not be Yakan:

Estimating place of origin or ethno group without verified provenance is a tricky business. Consider the following:

a) Not to belittle Cato or his research, but how many provenanced pre-1900 Yakan samples did he really encounter? Was there a commonality between features of pieces from a particular era? Remember- PH and Moro sword features vary per era, sometimes a later era radically departs in features as compared to the previous one.

b) Swords sometimes end up in places far away from their origin location or ethno group The possibilities are diverse- they may have been looted from the enemy (remember, the Tausug and the Yakan were at conflict pre-1900), stolen/smuggled/bought from the original location/ethno tribe, inherited due to intermarriage, left behind by a traveler, etc

c) This is often missed: a sword is an assembled piece. PH and Moro swords in particular can be disassembled, pieces replaced or swapped, either during a previous or current era. Some collectors have done this. In assessing a piece- how can we tell if it's "pure?" Would, say, having a Yakan blade but with a Tausug hilt and scabbard and assembled in Jolo- would you call the barung as "Yakan?"

d) In reading Cato's reference and others- there was no in-depth assessment of the Yakans' smithing / artisanship capabilities at certain eras. In the Sulu area, the Tausugs' (and to some extent, the Sama) are documented- sword production locations, smithing traditions, artisan craftmanship, materials, and practices, etc. But with regard to the Yakan, there's no mention in formal documentation- thankfully there's still oral tradition to go by.

TBH, most of the barungs that are supposedly "Yakan" in this forum are actually not so.

Sorry I can't divulge more at this point, as I respect the wishes of a Yakan culture-bearer that he be the one to formally publish the information- but just to emphasize, my points above must be considered before reaching a conclusion.

Last edited by xasterix; 9th June 2022 at 03:05 AM.
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