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Old 30th July 2008, 02:29 AM   #1
kai
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Default Barung with blotchy pattern welding - Borneo?

Here is an antique Barung which exhibits a very distinctive pattern welding: Looks almost like bits of high-carbon steel were thrown into melted iron and slices of this material subsequently utilized for sandwiching the high-carbon steel core. Well, I expect this pattern to have been forged but I really have a hard time to understand how this was actually done by the bladesmith!

I have seen this pattern before but only with Barung and not any of the other Moro blades! It seems to be pretty rare, too. A more knowledgeable member commented that this pattern may suggest an Indonesian origin. My guess would be leaning towards one of the coastal Moro settlements of North Borneo, maybe Tausug or Samal?

total length 54.5 cm / 21.5 in
weight 760 g / 1 lbs 10 oz

blade length (without hilt) 39.3 cm / 15.5 in
max. blade width 66.9 mm / 2 2/3 in
max. blade thickness 7.5 mm
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Old 30th July 2008, 02:31 AM   #2
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More pics: warrior blade pommel with small piece of the crest missing. There also used to be a braided band between the silver sleeve and the pommel (either silver wire or lacquered jute twine).
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Old 30th July 2008, 02:33 AM   #3
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Bunti pommel - sorry for the blurry pic!
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Old 30th July 2008, 02:40 AM   #4
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Kai,
I have a Barung with a similar pattern though I haven't been able to highlight it as you have .

Nice work .
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Old 30th July 2008, 08:20 AM   #5
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Interesting.....I hope maybe Ben and Michael can tell us more about the answers if Borneo or not.
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Old 30th July 2008, 09:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice
Interesting.....I hope maybe Ben and Michael can tell us more about the answers if Borneo or not.


I can't anyway.
I don't understand why "A more knowledgeable member commented that this pattern may suggest an Indonesian origin" on a non-Indonesian weapon?
And I don't understand why everything odd from this region "probably is" Borneo?

I have also seen this pattern before on other barongs.
But so far I haven't read anything about specifically these barongs being either collected, or manufactured, in Borneo/Sabah.

Michael

PS Very nice barong btw!
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Old 31st July 2008, 02:17 AM   #7
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The hilt suggests to me Samal tribe of Moros.
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Old 31st July 2008, 03:32 AM   #8
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Hi nice Barong but I don t now if this one is from Borneo .

I don t think that the pattern has something to do from place off origine ,

it is more the style off Handle and scabbard . ( I think)


Ben
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Old 25th August 2020, 07:44 AM   #9
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Ok, let's try to resurrect this old thread!

The example I posted does seem to be Samal, indeed. (Unfortunately, no scabbard extant.)

From very limited information that has surfaced since I tend to believe that the hint at Borneo might be spurious. Not enough data for any decision though - and there have been Tausug and Samal settlements along the coast of northern Borneo for centuries.

I'd greatly appreciate if forumites were to add more examples to this thread - thanks a lot in advance!

Best wishes,
Kai
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Old 25th August 2020, 09:17 PM   #10
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Here is my Samal fossil ivory barong. I made the scabbard years ago in Samal fashion.
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Old 25th August 2020, 11:49 PM   #11
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Here's one of mine for comparison.
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Old 26th August 2020, 01:14 AM   #12
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Lovely barung Rick. It has a really interesting blade. I'm not at all an expert in how these are forged, but it seems that the initial billet was divided in two down the long axis of the blade where the long forging line appears, then forged out from there. It seems there was a central core of (? softer) steel or iron, surrounded by a (? hardened) steel layer. I've circled what I think are the area of "blotches," but are these really inclusions like on Kai's example? Am I looking at the right area? The edge has a lot of lamination activity, and its hard to know if the circled areas are just lamination or are inclusions.


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Old 26th August 2020, 01:17 AM   #13
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Thanks, folks, really sweet barung examples!

I was hoping for blades with these distinct blotches, i.e. a kind of mosaic pamor though (regardless of their ethnic origin).

Rick, I suppose you referred to another barung back then (in post #4)?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 26th August 2020, 02:55 AM   #14
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No Kai, it was this one; the patchy areas were the closest I could come to anything like the OP.
I know it's not quite what you were looking for, but there was also a request for photos of Barungs so I thought I'd throw it in there.
I'll be glad to remove it if you think it's off topic...

Ian, this one came from ebay back in the good old days when it was actually possible to score bargain prices on these 'unknown' knives/swords like this one and a certain twist core kris I bought for literally peanuts.
The forging pattern is interesting and indeed it may have been divided in the process; to me it resembles the inside of a flattened banana peel.

I wonder if it is also Samal like yours and Jose's example.
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Old 26th August 2020, 04:48 PM   #15
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Possibly Rick. The angle of the pommel is similar to my Samal pommel, though the back part is not as "abrupt" and the scabbard is more Tausug in style.
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Old 26th August 2020, 09:34 PM   #16
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Hello Rick,

The main pamor certainly is different; along the edge it does look more like the "clouds" of Ian's example in the other thread. A closeup of a full section of the blade would be good for trying to figure out the actual forging process. The pamor billet certainly got doubled over resulting in the cold shut (the single dark line along the middle).

Let's keep it here (also to show that the older response referred to a blade of different construction). I do hope we'll see a few more examples of the mosaic pamor sooner or later!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 26th August 2020, 09:42 PM   #17
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Hello Rick & Jose,

Quote:
Possibly Rick. The angle of the pommel is similar to my Samal pommel, though the back part is not as "abrupt" and the scabbard is more Tausug in style.

I've been mulling over this - the flow of lines at the pommel is more elegant than usual for Samal and might point towards Tausug, too.

Is there any area or possibly port town where somewhat intermediate pieces might possibly be expected from cultural crossover or cross-cultural influences?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 27th August 2020, 05:28 PM   #18
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Actually Kai the Samal are wedged in between the Tausug and the Yakan, in the chain of Islands between Basilan and Jolo. So must admit it would not be to hard to see crossovers. The difficulty is proving them, but certainly a possibility.

I think this is partly why in the 1950s we begin to see a more abrupt style and a slight change of the tilt of the pommel.
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