OT a Philipppine Kris, and a Bolo

Feb 21, 2001
I found this kris on Ebay and was pleasantly surprised after a clean and etch. Probably from the mid 20th century, it doesn't have a separate ganga. Overall length is 28 1/2" and the weight is 1lb. 14oz. Blade length is 23" Nice carving on the butt, and the handle wrap is in good condition. Scabbard wrap needs replaced, but the wood is in good condition, and has beautiful grain.
When polishing the blade with 800 grit wet-or-dry paper, she decided to take a bite out of my thumb, so I can testify to the sharpness of the edge!




The bolo was a gift from a very kind and generous friend. The blade looks Visayan, but I've never seen a hilt like this. Overall length is 18 3/4" with a 14" blade. Weight is 1lb. 3 oz. Blade thickness at the spine is .230" with a nice distal taper. Chisel ground with a convex edge. Very sharp.



Thanks for looking,

Steve Ferguson
Jun 3, 1999
Thanks for the pict. Specifically it is a 'Sundang'. Some spell it as 'Kris' (without character 'e') just to differentiate between Moro Keris with Malaysian, Indonesian or Southern Thai Keris. Unlike ordinary Keris which is a stabbing weapon, Sundang is functionally more for slashing. In the Keris family, Sundang is actually a different breed. There is a long Keris ('Keris Panjang') as long as a Sundang but still it is not a Sundang.

Some difference characteristic of Sundang are:

1) The blade is broader than ordinary Keris blade.
2) The average length is about 22 inches. We seldom see any short Sundang though it might exist a few.
3) Generally it is heavier than Keris. Keris is made light due to it's handling and application techniques in Pencak Silat MA.
4) The handle is fixed and glued to it's tang. The most popular handle shape is a Kakatua (cockatoo) head.
5) The head of the handle is positioned to face the sharp edge, while it is facing the flat side of the blade in Keris.
6) Most Sundang has a clamp (single or double) to tie the 'ganja' to the blade. So far I never see any Keris having a clamp.
7) Normally it is less wavy. Mostly the wavy part is only at the starting nearby to handle.
8) It is used as a slashing weapon.

Just my 2 cents knowledge to be shared with all forumites! I guess Steve already knows about it.
Feb 21, 2001
Thank you Mohd, I still have much to learn. Any information is always appreciated!

May 18, 1999
Beautiful Blades Steve!!!!:D

My Sundang came in a black condition such as one finds right after heat treating and like the dayumed young fool I was at the time I tried to clean the blade from all the black.:rolleyes: At least I think I was a young dayumed fool for doing it although looking at yours I could be proven wrong, maybe?;)
I didn't take all the black off as it was dayumed difficult to remove!
My only excuse besides being young and dumb is that I knew nothing of the Internet back then nor did I want too.:eek:

If It had of had any white too it at all it would've been a different story and cleaning would truly have been all right in that case methinks.
I've been led to understand that there is a difference between the "white" and "black" Sundangs, one is considered nothing but a war sword. But I don't know what the other ones are considered as, I actually thought they all had the same purpose.:confused:
Have you heard anything like that?

Mine doesn't have the seperate Ganja either and has some forgeing folds up near the wide part. I read somewhere the other day that in such cases the spirit was too strong for the sword and it escaped, but don't recall where I read that either. I'm gonna learn one of these days to make files and keep that kind of info in them. :eek: :mad:

Now that I have my camera batteries charged up again I'll have to try to take a pic or two of it and post them.
Looking at your beautiful example of the Sundang makes me want to etch mine but I'm almost certain it's just a plain homogenous blade and nothing fancy.
Federico has offered to make a new handle and Baca Baca for it as the originals are missing, but I just haven't got around to taking him up on it yet.:rolleyes: :eek:

One of these days. I'm old and slow and procrastinate a lot, my bad.:footinmou
Feb 21, 2001
Hello Yvsa my friend,

From the Kris Cutlery website, "A blade that has been cleaned and whitened (pinuti) is now considered by the Visayan warriors as a blade for war."

The Moro are an entirely different people from those of the Visayas, but they may have a similar practice. Maybe Federico or Mohd can speak to this.

That's the only thing I've ever read about white vs. black blades. But then, I'm a real newbie when it comes to Philippine blades. I just know that I like them! They seem to have a similar spirit as the khukuri.

You might be surprised if you etch your blade. Both of mine were completely white steel until I etched them.

May 24, 2003
Is that bolo a Talibon? I seem to get them confused. I have one and am not sure if it is a type of bolo or if they are all Talibons. Or vice-versa.
Feb 14, 2003
Nice! I've now got a couple (plus the Frankenkis with the 19th Century British hanger blade) of older ones (separate ganjas, bacabacas intact) and one is a complete basketcase of a blade:

The blade was broken, and at some point after it made its way to the US somebody decided that it would be a good idea to braze the broken parts back together. Then they ground a little of the brazing off with something coarse (and hit the blade as well :mad: ). It's also got a bit of rust. OTOH, the scabbard is pretty nice ... in spots. The top is broken on both sides but the curves match the guards well, it's got all manner of red cloths wrapped around it, and lots of woven fiber belts and wrappings. The tip end of the scabbard also has some nice carving.

Ferg, I've seen a couple of your posts now on "bringing back" a kris, so I might try my luck with Narsil ;) since it's already been violated. I'm just going to try to take as much rust off gently, and smooth out the grinding on the brazing and the blade.

Time to take some "before" pics...