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Old 22nd September 2023, 05:23 PM   #1
drac2k
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When I post, I'm not always sure what the Forum is interested in so this time I've posted 2 items and we will see.
The first item that I acquired is a Panabas; what was unusual to me was the length of the handle and that is made of bamboo.
The next item is a sword that I discussed with several forum members .While we agreed that it was Colonial Spanish and was thought to be originally Philippine, the guard and the heavy machete type blade made me wonder whether it was Colonial South Western, Mexican or Caribbean.
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Old 22nd September 2023, 07:13 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
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The Spanish colonial weapon noted appears to me to be from Filipino context and the Spanish East Indies viceroyalty (of Mexico City) situated in Luzon.
The trade routes from the Americas to Manila and the 'Manila Galleons' most certainly carried the influences of the edged weapons in New Spain into the Spanish Philippines.

The 'Spanish Fight' , the mysterious school of swordsmanship followed by the skilled swordsmen of Spain known as 'destreza' survived in New Spain well through the 18th century and became one of the central influences on Filipino martial arts.

As one of the ports of call of these Manila galleons was in San Blas, in Baja, California, it is easy to see how the distinct styling of the espada ancha of Mexicos northern frontiers influenced Filipino edged weapons.

In the case of this example, the heavy 'machete' type blade might be regarded perhaps in the broadly termed 'bolo' groups, but the widened forte resembles the klewang types (in my limited knowledge on these forms).

Whatever the case, this example may be a 19th century version of these Filipino 'espada ancha' types (as my example, pictured) but this one seems earlier as mine is quite rudimentary in construction.
In Luzon, with Manila of course the capital, one of the main ports was Cavite City in Nueva Castila, and the typical center for the traffic in these Manila galleons.
Many Mexican soldiers and sailors were situated there, and apparently many became mercenaries who went to French allied regions in SE Asia, notably Cochin China (Vietnam) . Perhaps these heavy machete type weapons were among those carried into these circumstances.

It does not seem these were particularly present elsewhere in the 'Spanish Main' such as the Caribbean or the Americas, so in my thinking, if outside the Filipino context, SE Asia would be the most likely secondary possibility.

The first two pics are my example 'bolo' (?) and next, a northern frontier example of espada ancha (early 19th c) showing the characteristic hilt style with drop down forward quillon.
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Old 22nd September 2023, 09:16 PM   #3
drac2k
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Thank you Jim for your insightful observations. I hadn't thought(nor did I know), of the connection of sword types and martial art skills being exported from Mexico to the Philippines via Mexican Mercenaries.
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Old 22nd September 2023, 10:30 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
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Originally Posted by drac2k View Post
Thank you Jim for your insightful observations. I hadn't thought(nor did I know), of the connection of sword types and martial art skills being exported from Mexico to the Philippines via Mexican Mercenaries.

Absolutely my pleasure, I always appreciate the opportunity to learn more from examples shown. The diffusion of forms was as complex as the networks of trade routes themselves. There are swords in the Spanish colonies in Morocco which reflect influences from the Philippines and other archipelagos in the Spanish East Indies sphere. The martial arts skills (destreza) traveled with those on trade vessels. The mercenary forces out of Spanish Luzon were much as mercenary forces have always been, broadly honed in many fighting skills and these men found their way to allied forces of France in SE Asia...Im sure these martial arts skills were included.

It is interesting to see further Spanish influences such as morions and mail used by moros etc as well.
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Old 23rd September 2023, 01:20 PM   #5
Ian
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Hi drac.

Thanks for posting these two interesting examples. I think Jim has provided an excellent account of how Spanish Colonial styles moved around the Pacific. I agree that the example you show may well have a Phlippines connection. The long, single, down-turned quillion was also a feature of some Chinese maritime short swords/large knives encountered in the South China Sea.

Your other item which resembles a small-bladed panabas with a longish handle is most likely a tabas. This is an agricultural tool mainly, and some believe that the panabas was developed from such a tool/axe.

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Old 24th September 2023, 10:33 PM   #6
Jim McDougall
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Thank you Ian!
Well noted on the drop down quillon and its presence in many Chinese sword types, including the hudiedao (often in pairs) and used by river 'pirates'. The Chinese influences in the Philippines and archipelagos definitely found some degree of diffusion in vessels returning from their trade missions.

We know the espada ancha itself evolved from hangers often used on these vessels, so it does not seem surprising that this feature might have been absorbed into many of them. It is very difficult to fully comprehend the dynamics of these kinds of diffusion through trade networks, but the outcome can be seen in these kinds of similarities.

It is interesting on the panabas, as Ian has well noted, the dual purpose of edged weapons as both tool and weapon is not only common, but often inevitable.
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Old 25th September 2023, 05:18 PM   #7
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I thought that the panabas was a little unusual in that it had a 22" long handle (longer than normal in comparison to the length of the blade),and it appears to be made from bamboo which reminded me of a mak .Due to the fact that the handle is bamboo, easily replaceable, and not adorned, I agree that it was probably an agricultural tool.
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