Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 30th January 2023, 12:55 PM   #1
milandro
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 323
Default My Maguindanao Kris

I have acquired this Kris some time ago, it is one of my favourite pieces in my Kris collection but the only kris from the Philippines.

I believe this is a Maguindanao kris.

It is a large blade, measuring 62cm the blade alone (77 from tip to heft finial ).

It has 13 luks and shows signs of laminations ( which may be brought to show more but I am unsure on how to go about staining this kris).

Weight about 1,1Kg (without the scabbard)

It would have required a warrior to be well built to wield this sword.
Attached Images
   
milandro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th January 2023, 06:41 PM   #2
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 6,895
Default

Does this blade have a separate gangya? In the photos it appears to just be a well incised line.
If you want to try to bring out the lamination i believe most folks use vinegar for a light etch.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th January 2023, 06:53 PM   #3
milandro
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 323
Default

No the ganja is not separated.
milandro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 02:02 AM   #4
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,747
Default

Milandro,

I think you will find that the gangya is, in fact, separate. It can be hard to tell without taking the piece apart. Almost all of the ones I have seen without a separate gangya were made of monosteel and the asang asang were either missing or very crudely made--definitely lower grade examples for the most part. Your kris is a nice one, and first half 20th C. IMO.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 03:18 AM   #5
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 6,895
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by milandro View Post
No the ganja is not separated.
Can you confirm this one way or the other. To me i see a dark incised line on one side of the first hole in the "greneng" area, but it does not seem to continue on the other side of the hole. Close-ups of the area would be helpful.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 03:59 AM   #6
Battara
EAAF Staff
 
Battara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 7,073
Default

I'll agree with Ian, with one addition - at the mounts appear a little more recent that that, and might even be later Maranao (Marawi) made mounts on this Maguindanao piece.
Battara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 08:18 AM   #7
milandro
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 323
Thumbs up

Thank you all!


The " cutting" line appears to go through the last hole too, but this may be completely vestigial (I will ad up a picture at some point). Certainly cannot figure how to detach it , and the hilt is firm in place. So, I'd go with a vestigial line.

If this was made into two different pieces fitting it together with such a precision would have been a work of art in itself.

While researching this kris, on the forum and elsewhere, I found a large number of krises such as mine (or so they look to me) all indicated as Maguindanao from several auction houses (although the style of the picture taking appears to be very similar).

Most if not all seemed (to me) to have some age to it and showed what appears to be a vestigial incision of the ganja. (am I at liberty to post pictures of these krises since all the auctions seem to have been completed?)

I have seen that on previous thread here too there is a debate on the meaning of this cutting line ( real or vestigial) in terms of timeline.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=22272

In this one there was a blade without even a vestigial line and it was probably bought in the '30


http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...separate+ganja


Whichever the period when my kris was made, it wasn't made yesterday. I am very happy with my kris anyway, whether this was made early in the 20th century or later in the same century.
milandro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 11:19 AM   #8
xasterix
Member
 
xasterix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 558
Default

Nice kris! I agree that it's likely Maguindanao. Unique hilt too.

I've seen around 2 archaic krises that don't have a separate gangya, both are in the Philippines. They both have round tangs. They've made me think about the widely accepted assumption that krises with separate gangya are automatically older. I jokingly call these as "mono-gangya" krises.

There are also kalis (Sulu) being made nowadays that still have the separate gangya feature; they retained that knowledge even without outside intervention or Internet access, from what I understand.

Of course I'll need more samples (and preferably disassembled archaic ones with mono-gangya) to prove this hypothesis that separate-gangya krises aren't necessarily older, but it's an interesting thing to consider, IMHO.

Last edited by xasterix; 31st January 2023 at 11:33 AM.
xasterix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 11:49 AM   #9
xasterix
Member
 
xasterix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 558
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by milandro View Post
Thank you all!


The " cutting" line appears to go through the last hole too, but this may be completely vestigial (I will ad up a picture at some point). Certainly cannot figure how to detach it , and the hilt is firm in place. So, I'd go with a vestigial line.

If this was made into two different pieces fitting it together with such a precision would have been a work of art in itself.

While researching this kris, on the forum and elsewhere, I found a large number of krises such as mine (or so they look to me) all indicated as Maguindanao from several auction houses (although the style of the picture taking appears to be very similar).

Most if not all seemed (to me) to have some age to it and showed what appears to be a vestigial incision of the ganja. (am I at liberty to post pictures of these krises since all the auctions seem to have been completed?)

I have seen that on previous thread here too there is a debate on the meaning of this cutting line ( real or vestigial) in terms of timeline.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=22272

In this one there was a blade without even a vestigial line and it was probably bought in the '30


http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...separate+ganja


Whichever the period when my kris was made, it wasn't made yesterday. I am very happy with my kris anyway, whether this was made early in the 20th century or later in the same century.
In my limited knowledge I think the blade was made either late 1800s or early 1900s, because the features of mid-century to postwar are different. Th e pommel seems original, and had something (probably metal clad) placed on it before. The wood core of the hilt may also be original (we won't know unless it's disassembled unfortunately), but the metal clad (ferrules, rattan) may be later-era, probably quarter to mid-century. Overall nice kris, I think it's made for battle...I'm guessing the blade is the rigid and non-flexible (or minimum flexible) type.
xasterix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 01:55 PM   #10
milandro
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 323
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by xasterix View Post
.... Overall nice kris, I think it's made for battle...I'm guessing the blade is the rigid and non-flexible (or minimum flexible) type.
Thanks.

Absolutely rigid blade and , I too have the feeling this is a Kris which wasn't meant to be used for decorative purposes. It is still very sharp and one has to handle it with care or you will quickly notice it.

Given the weight and the length of this weapon, this would have been certainly wilded by someone whom knew what to do with it and had the necessary body mass and height.

Last edited by milandro; 1st February 2023 at 08:06 AM. Reason: spelling
milandro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 07:22 PM   #11
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 6,895
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by xasterix View Post
Nice kris! I agree that it's likely Maguindanao. Unique hilt too.

I've seen around 2 archaic krises that don't have a separate gangya, both are in the Philippines. They both have round tangs. They've made me think about the widely accepted assumption that krises with separate gangya are automatically older. I jokingly call these as "mono-gangya" krises.

There are also kalis (Sulu) being made nowadays that still have the separate gangya feature; they retained that knowledge even without outside intervention or Internet access, from what I understand.

Of course I'll need more samples (and preferably disassembled archaic ones with mono-gangya) to prove this hypothesis that separate-gangya krises aren't necessarily older, but it's an interesting thing to consider, IMHO.
As they say (whoever "they" are ), there are always exceptions to every rule. I am not convinced that means we need to throw the rule away completely. If the majority of kris with separate gangyas still turn out to be pre-1930s and the majority of kris that are one-piece still turn out to be post 1930 then the rule can still be a useful one in determining probability. You have seen two archaic kris that are one-piece blades. Consider how many we have seen with a separate gangya.
This kris of mine i have always wondered about. The photo does not reveal a very faint line which on some days has led me to believe that there is a separate gangya. If that suspicion is true it has a rather amazingly seamless fit. But even if this is a one-piece blade i still remain confident that it is a pre-1930s kris. So i completely agree with you that we cannot date a kris with any certainty based solely upon whether the gangya is separate or not. But i also think it can still be useful as a general guide.
Attached Images
 
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 07:26 PM   #12
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 6,895
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara View Post
I'll agree with Ian, with one addition - at the mounts appear a little more recent that that, and might even be later Maranao (Marawi) made mounts on this Maguindanao piece.
I think i know what you mean by this Josť. The mounts appear to be post WWII to me, especially the one closest to the pommel. There may well have been added later.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 10:31 PM   #13
xasterix
Member
 
xasterix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 558
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
As they say (whoever "they" are ), there are always exceptions to every rule. I am not convinced that means we need to throw the rule away completely. If the majority of kris with separate gangyas still turn out to be pre-1930s and the majority of kris that are one-piece still turn out to be post 1930 then the rule can still be a useful one in determining probability. You have seen two archaic kris that are one-piece blades. Consider how many we have seen with a separate gangya.
This kris of mine i have always wondered about. The photo does not reveal a very faint line which on some days has led me to believe that there is a separate gangya. If that suspicion is true it has a rather amazingly seamless fit. But even if this is a one-piece blade i still remain confident that it is a pre-1930s kris. So i completely agree with you that we cannot date a kris with any certainty based solely upon whether the gangya is separate or not. But i also think it can still be useful as a general guide.
Point taken and agreed on sir.

I have a trick to check if it's really separate gangya...I aim a heat gun around 4 inches above the line. After around 15 seconds at 400 Celsius setting, the galgal should start to melt, and if it's a 2-part kris, you'll see a telltale sign from the line. Either liquefied black ooze, or in other cases smoke (for those that only had minimal adhesive placed).

There's always the risk of melting the adhesive at the hilt with this tactic, that's why I keep it at 15 seconds tops (usually it takes 30-70 seconds for the hilt's adhesive to wear off in my experience).
xasterix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st February 2023, 06:06 PM   #14
kino
Member
 
kino's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 913
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by milandro View Post
Thank you all!


The " cutting" line appears to go through the last hole too, but this may be completely vestigial (I will ad up a picture at some point). Certainly cannot figure how to detach it , and the hilt is firm in place. So, I'd go with a vestigial line.
I would refrain from taking it apart just to find out if has a separate ganya. Itís difficult to put it back together properly.

Have you tried pouring hot water on it, sometimes that would reveal the welding pattern on the blade and ganya. As an alternative, warm household vinegar.

Welding pattern will differ (in my experience), with the blade proper and ganya.
Attached Images
 
kino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st February 2023, 10:04 PM   #15
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,138
Thumbs up

I agree with Albert that reading the grain of the metal is the least intrusive approach to ascertain a separate katik/gangya (in most kris blades).

It's usually not necessary to fully clean the blade or even do a gentle polish (if only a window across the line). A gentle etch with hot water or some weak acid often enough does the trick. A good magnifying glass (10x loupe) is one of the best investments for avid collectors.

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st February 2023, 10:14 PM   #16
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,138
Thumbs up

Quote:
I have a trick to check if it's really separate gangya...I aim a heat gun around 4 inches above the line. After around 15 seconds at 400 Celsius setting, the galgal should start to melt, and if it's a 2-part kris, you'll see a telltale sign from the line. Either liquefied black ooze, or in other cases smoke (for those that only had minimal adhesive placed).

There's always the risk of melting the adhesive at the hilt with this tactic, that's why I keep it at 15 seconds tops (usually it takes 30-70 seconds for the hilt's adhesive to wear off in my experience).
Ray raises a really interesting point here though: Most Moro kris - even those with a near perfect fit that hardly leaves any visible line - do seem to have been additionally secured by galgal (natural resin mix). This is not traditionally done in any Indonesian keris culture that I'm aware of - not sure about Malay keris sundang though?

In worn, old blades, resin and nowadays often epoxy have been utilized to fill gaps that developed by material loss and can't be readily improved during blade maintenance/restoration.

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st February 2023, 10:39 PM   #17
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,138
Post

Hello Milandro,

Your blade does strike me as certain 20th century blade: the waves are quite pointy and the base features with no apparent wear; also stylistically the thick gandik side does look quite modern (at a high level of craftsmanship for any later period though!).

If I had to guess, I'd expect this to be an engraved "separation" line rather than real: The bold line (of consistent width and wide even for worn blades) and an invisible line at the distal greneng is a bit much to swallow, I'm afraid. As already pointed out, this is not a definite time indicator though.

All fittings are typical for what got exported from Mindanao during the late 20th and early 21st centuries (often via Davao or Manila); presumably mostly Maranao work. They did this restoration/upgrading with whatever pieces became available: Certain antiques, vintage, more recent and apparently also new blades. The wooden pommel looks pretty good - while I tend towards a modern origin, I can't rule out a fully refurbished older piece from the pics. I understand that quite some of these pieces were for local use and not only export.

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st February 2023, 11:53 PM   #18
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,138
Wink

Hello Milandro,

Quote:
(am I at liberty to post pictures of these krises since all the auctions seem to have been completed?)
Yes, sold items are fair game! (Keep in mind that unsold ePray & Co. items might get re-listed soon.)

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd February 2023, 06:33 AM   #19
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,747
Default

Thanks, kai. Milandro, I missed your question. Kai is right, any item that has been definitely sold and is not up for resale can be discussed here and pictures posted.
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd February 2023, 07:16 AM   #20
Ian
Vikingsword Staff
 
Ian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,747
Default

Milandro.

I took one of your pics, cropped and enlarged it, and rotated the pic to orient the gangya horizontally (as we usually view it). This is a good quality picture to consider whether the gangya is separate. The red arrows on the right indicate two areas that have been filed similarly. The top one is clearly not detached, so the bottom one is consistent with it also not being detached (although it may still be). The red circle on the left highlights the down-turned line that may be engraved or a line of separation. To my eyes it does not appear to pass through all structures, and is therefore not a line of separation, although cleaning off some of the oxidation within the small circular area (that a line of separation would have to pass through) would give you a definitive answer. Just some rolled up 220 grit sandpaper worked around in there would be sufficient to get a better look inside that drilled hole. You might also look to see if the lines on each side meet the greneng in the same place.
.
Attached Images
 
Ian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd February 2023, 09:23 AM   #21
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 8,084
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai View Post
Your blade does strike me as certain 20th century blade: the waves are quite pointy and the base features with no apparent wear; also stylistically the thick gandik side does look quite modern (at a high level of craftsmanship for any later period though!).

If I had to guess, I'd expect this to be an engraved "separation" line rather than real: The bold line (of consistent width and wide even for worn blades) and an invisible line at the distal greneng is a bit much to swallow, I'm afraid. As already pointed out, this is not a definite time indicator though.

All fittings are typical for what got exported from Mindanao during the late 20th and early 21st centuries (often via Davao or Manila); presumably mostly Maranao work. They did this restoration/upgrading with whatever pieces became available: Certain antiques, vintage, more recent and apparently also new blades. The wooden pommel looks pretty good - while I tend towards a modern origin, I can't rule out a fully refurbished older piece from the pics. I understand that quite some of these pieces were for local use and not only export.
Have to agree with all points Kai mentioned. I think the sharp luks are the giveaway.
Also newer blades can be laminated and very substantial, see this piece from my own collection, blade is laminated, the kris is 73cm long and quite heavy with 890 gram.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...highlight=kris

Regards,
Detlef
Attached Images
 
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd February 2023, 09:48 AM   #22
milandro
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 323
Default

I won't try to detach the hilt or anything else on my kris.

This is a 20th century blade, well , so be it. I just don't think this was made yesterday (in fact it was in the previous owner possession for over 50 years and the person wasn't a dealer and I know him to be a reliable person) and regardless of its age , I like it.


Having said this, I would show some of the pictures of Moro krises (only/ the Ganja for the purpose of this discussion over ganjas and age), which seem to have some age to it and no obvious separation.

I am not saying that my blade is therefore older, I am just showing what I've talked about and which was part of my research on such swords.

The first and last picture look like the the ganjas are made of different metals compared to the rest of the blade BUT the separation (not just a line) is invisible, at least , to me, the other two don't have it or have just a vestigial separation while looking like krises of some age.
Attached Images
    
milandro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd February 2023, 04:28 PM   #23
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 8,084
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by milandro View Post
I won't try to detach the hilt or anything else on my kris.
I can understand it and I wouldn't do it as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by milandro View Post
This is a 20th century blade, well , so be it.
Nothing wrong by this, it's a nice kris and very collectable.


Quote:
Originally Posted by milandro View Post
Having said this, I would show some of the pictures of Moro krises (only/ the Ganja for the purpose of this discussion over ganjas and age), which seem to have some age to it and no obvious separation.
I am sure that the first and last one has a separate ganja, it's just a perfect fit. Also the second example will have a separate ganja, it's just difficult to seen. By the third example I am unsure.

Regards,
Detlef
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd February 2023, 04:37 PM   #24
werecow
Member
 
werecow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Leiden, NL
Posts: 328
Default

It's very thin, but I can see a definite line of separation on the third one (and the first and second as well) on my monitor.
werecow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd February 2023, 05:43 PM   #25
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 6,895
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by milandro View Post
Having said this, I would show some of the pictures of Moro krises (only/ the Ganja for the purpose of this discussion over ganjas and age), which seem to have some age to it and no obvious separation.

I am not saying that my blade is therefore older, I am just showing what I've talked about and which was part of my research on such swords.

The first and last picture look like the the ganjas are made of different metals compared to the rest of the blade BUT the separation (not just a line) is invisible, at least , to me, the other two don't have it or have just a vestigial separation while looking like krises of some age.
Milandro, while you will indeed sometimes find an actual gap of separation on old Indonesian kris, i must say that i have rarely, if ever, seen a Moro kris where there is physical separation of the gangya causing a space between the blade and gangya. I would say that on a well made Moro kris you will not see any space between these parts. This may be because the blade and gangya are held together by the asang-asang or it may be because the size of the parts on these larger blades makes the warping of the steel less prevalent. Or perhaps a bot of both. So showing these older keris and speculating that the lines are merely incised into the steel rather than there being a separate gangya does not really provide any evidence of anything in particular IMO.
That said i would say that at least two of these examples are deftly separate gangya and the other two most probably are.
I agree with other statements made about the somewhat pointy luk and the newer looking fittings on your originally shown kris. This is indeed a nicely made sword and indeed worthy of collection. I hate making full assessments without having the weapon in hand, but if push can to shove i would place your kris as post WWII. No, it isn't new. But remember that 50 years ago is 1973. So i don't doubt that your friend could have had this kris that long and it still be a post WWII item.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd February 2023, 09:28 PM   #26
kai
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,138
Post

Hello Milandro,

I'm with David and the others here: All your examples with a high likelihood of having a separate katik/gangya with #3 being the only one leaving room for some doubt.

As mentioned, Moro kris in good shape often have a hardly visible separation line. Those with an engraved line are actually often way too obvious! OTOH, those with separate piece hardly exhibit more than the example in Albert's post (#14) - the line then usually showing uneven corrosion/loss.

Regards,
Kai
kai is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 08:46 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.