What is it - Philippine?

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Feb 13, 2006
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This short sword or big knife was brought back from the Philippines or Korea by my wife's uncle, now long gone. Can anyone identify it?
unknownsml.jpg
 
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Oct 15, 1998
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Welcome to bladeforums!

You might want to post this in Bernard Levines knife collecting and Identification forum. Lots of knowledgable guys around here, someone is bound to have some info on it.
 

bwray

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Dec 2, 2005
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With the guard and centered point it looks like a westernized version of a Southeast Asian blade. Incidently, isn't that S-guard reversed from the usual orientation. Looks like it's on backwards.
 
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May 26, 1999
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Hi! It looks like a bolo-type sword from the Philippines. It’s hard to tell from the pic, but if the blade is chisel ground, it’s probably Visayan. Generally, I think you might call this style of sword a pinuti. I’m not very knowledgeable about Filipino weapons though, so maybe someone else can offer better info.
 
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We have a Filipino weapons forum right here... if you post that picture with the "what is it" question, you might get an astoundingly detailed answer!

Look under "Tactics & Training," then for the "Filipino Combat Arts Forum" for the discussion group.
 
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Jul 20, 2001
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it's a Filipino bladeware...a variation shape of a "Katipunan" era bolo. the "S" guard is backwards...i'm guessing the previous owner took it apart and put the guard back on the wrong way. if you look at the bottom of the pommel, it should be a take down piece and you can fix the guard.

nice piece...this normally comes with a leather sheath. Visayan or Central Islands bolo pieces normally come in with wooden sheath. this is surely a Northern Island piece.
 
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Thanks for the info, Saint! Are there any other ways to distinguish between Northern and Central Filipino swords? I was just looking at some pics online and it seems like Luzon bolos often have a tang that goes through the pommel (like the above sword). Also, their handles tend to have more of a swell and a metal ferrule.
 
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cerulean said:
Thanks for the info, Saint! Are there any other ways to distinguish between Northern and Central Filipino swords? I was just looking at some pics online and it seems like Luzon bolos often have a tang that goes through the pommel (like the above sword). Also, their handles tend to have more of a swell and a metal ferrule.

only the fighting bolos have the tang through the pommel. older pieces tend to be home-made glued into the handle, then rattan or other vine wrapped. it is difficult to catalog Filipino weaponry due to different Tribes and Regions.
some pieces travel quite a lot from island to island and go thru different modifications. modern pieces have completely changed and do not feel the same as the older pieces. even the "fake" tourist pieces are done so poorly or so poorly researched that they set a new trend or new pattern. for example a southern piece may eventually end up with a central handle or sheath. so the next maker will copy and produce about 100 of that pattern. special characteristics of tribal design helps in indicating the origins or history of modifications on older pieces. The Moro/Muslims tribes are well known for "ukir" designs...BUT...there are also variations within the tribes.
central islands are known for putting demon, dog, or animistic diety, design on the pommels, and floral type handles. the north...simple horn or wood handle, but the patterns of designs are a plenty as well. the only way to know this is to travel and be familiar with each region or tribes sultural artwork.

but generally...the antique pieces from Central and Southern are similar in design with its Indo/Malay counter parts. Northern bolos are influenced by the Spaniard style sabers except they are shorter and stouter. up by the Igorot (Indian) tribes...they almost never use a wooden or horn handle. most of their blades are "integral" then wrapped with rattan or vine for handle grip. if you've seen Tai Goo's work then you know what i'm talking about. even the wooden sheath / "hikot" is open on one side and tied to the waist with hemp or vine. half of the sheath is open so that no moisture will collect and rust the blades too quickly when stored. it is always easier to wipe-dry blades after use for them.

i hope this helps.

btw...another indication of that the piece above is from the Luzon (north) is the handle. it looks to be a horse's head pommel even though the handle is not clearly carved out. some pieces have the clenched fist pommel, and some are dog with pronounced ears.
 
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