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Old 23rd July 2020, 07:43 AM   #1
tanaruz
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Default BARUNG BLADES

Hi all,

3 barung blades from my father's collection. They will be properly hillted and given a proper scabbard.

The 2nd (from the top) and 3rd blades are angkung barungs.

The 2nd and 3rd one I believe are Tausug ones. What about the topmost blade?

Enjoy,

Yves
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Old 23rd July 2020, 09:43 AM   #2
Ian
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Hi Yves,

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.
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Old 24th July 2020, 10:36 PM   #3
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Default antecedents of blade forms

Here are two types of traditional Chinese knives still in current use which have a distinctly barong-ish blade profile.

The smaller one is for mincing pork and vegetables, using a "rocking" motion on the cutting-board. Thin, very acute edge, asymmetrical profile with a shallow dorsal curve, raising the point above the handle-tip axis.

The larger one is massive, about 1/4 in. thick at spine, used by butchers for breaking-down carcasses of cattle and hogs. The handle-tip axis is more centrally located on this one.

Both blades are of laminated construction, with the hard edge steel inserted into the body as is also typical on most SE Asian blades as well.
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Old 24th July 2020, 10:50 PM   #4
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Default another possible precursor ?

A leaf-shaped blade, don't know where exactly in Asia it comes from, was a gift from a friend in Hawaii who thought it could be Filipino. Hand made blade, I replaced the grip and saw that it has a tapered stick tang (just like the top example in the image in post #1, that goes partially into the handle. Not all the way to the end as with Chinese knives, and no rivet holes as you might expect in a Western style attachment.

I really don't know the age of it, early 20th cent. is my guess, and thus have no idea how far back this particular design goes. Am just listing it as a possibly related form.
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Old 25th July 2020, 03:26 AM   #5
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Hi Philip,

Thanks for posting these contemporary knives. I think the main distinction between these knives and a barung is that the tang comes of the blade closer to the spine on your examples, whereas the tang of a barung is located pretty much centrally on the blade, with both the edge and the spine curving towards it.

The one you rehilted (from Hawaii) could be from Thailand. There is a similar blade from N. Thailand/Laos that may have originally come from Yunnan.

Ian
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Old 25th July 2020, 04:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Hi Philip,

Thanks for posting these contemporary knives. I think the main distinction between these knives and a barung is that the tang comes of the blade closer to the spine on your examples, whereas the tang of a barung is located pretty much centrally on the blade, with both the edge and the spine curving towards it.


Ian


True, its reasonable to take account of a modification of design in the transition from tool to weapon just as the medieval pruning-hook morphed into the roncone.

I do note, however, that in all the cases of Moro blades with Chinese, or Chinese-ish markings (there is an example on another thread whose markings I half-jokingly suggested might be Cyrillic) that I have seen, they are all barongs. Has anyone seen these marks on any other southern Philippine blade forms, such as the campillon, bangkung, or panabas? (Please post them if you have images of such, as they must be rare). How about central and northern blade forms so marked -- tenegres, talibons, etc. I've never heard of them but that doesn't necessarily mean that one doesn't exist somewhere in a collection.
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Old 26th July 2020, 05:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
... I do note, however, that in all the cases of Moro blades with Chinese, or Chinese-ish markings (there is an example on another thread whose markings I half-jokingly suggested might be Cyrillic) that I have seen, they are all barongs. Has anyone seen these marks on any other southern Philippine blade forms, such as the campillon, bangkung, or panabas? (Please post them if you have images of such, as they must be rare). How about central and northern blade forms so marked -- tenegres, talibons, etc. I've never heard of them but that doesn't necessarily mean that one doesn't exist somewhere in a collection.
I have not seen blades on other Filipino weapons with Chinese characters--only on barung so far.
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