Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
I think all three are from the Sulu Archipelago, with the one in the middle being the oldest blade and the top one being the youngest. The prominent width of the middle blade is of an older style of barung and it bears Chinese characters. One theory of the origin of the barung is that it came from a leaf-shaped Chinese utility knife of the form shown in the middle example. I think this one could be mid-19th C. The one below it, also a Chinese blade, is slimmer but has more symmetry than the middle one, with the point lying along the middle axis of the blade. I think the bottom example is likely late 19th C (and the hilt is consistent with that period). The top one is slimmer still, with little convexity to the spine or cutting edge. I think this one is from the Sulu Archipelago also and could have been made from the late 19th C up to recently; it's a common blade form.
As to which tribes these came from, that's hard to say. They could all be Tausug. Some think that a wide, short-bladed barung might be more associated with the Samal, but the evidence for that is sketchy.