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Old 3rd February 2023, 01:04 AM   #1
kino
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Default Lumad Kampilan aka Cuban Bolo Knife?

A recent acquisition. This is compelling to me, not just because of the blade but also of the affixed label on the scabbard.
There was such person in the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War.
It would be impossible to verify if Mr. Vandermark, actually carried this into battle. It is possible that this sword landed in Cuba via a Spanish ship sailing from the Philippines during the inquisition, but really?

I think, earliest the label was placed on the scabbard would have been late 1963, thatís when the U.S. Postal Service amended the 2 letter state code.

Around the scabbard are small branches/twigs and a section of black coral.

There was another twist core Lumad sword blade posted here on the Forum a while ago but Iím unable to locate it. Perhaps some one can re-post a photo of it or post a link.
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Old 3rd February 2023, 10:20 AM   #2
fernando
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You mean this one ?
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Old 3rd February 2023, 01:52 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure Albert meant Jose's superb piece:
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Old 3rd February 2023, 01:54 PM   #4
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Here's another twistcore Bagobo blade which used to be in Dave & Lonna's collection - I sure do miss both of them!
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=13243
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Old 3rd February 2023, 02:09 PM   #5
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Hello Albert,

That's an absolutely gorgeous piece - congrats!


Quote:
There was such person in the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War.
It would be impossible to verify if Mr. Vandermark, actually carried this into battle. It is possible that this sword landed in Cuba via a Spanish ship sailing from the Philippines during the inquisition, but really?

I think, earliest the label was placed on the scabbard would have been late 1963, that’s when the U.S. Postal Service amended the 2 letter state code.
Have you checked lists for during the Span.-Am. war period and until WW2, too?

I believe there is pretty much zero chance this piece already entered the rural eastern US before the civil war and ending up with an inhabitant of a really small confederate town who happened to decide fighting for the Union, instead. Much less the twigs surviving active service in the field rather than being used as fire starter...

This could easily have been picked up by a serviceman during the Span-Am war or even later during the US colonial period. (The label mentions service but not war.)

Apparently, the label got written quite a bit later. Maybe the later owner worked from memory and merely mixed up islands?


Quote:
Around the scabbard are small branches/twigs and a section of black coral.
Anting-anting, I guess?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 3rd February 2023, 05:27 PM   #6
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Thanks Fernando but the one I was referring to is Jose’s, in which Kai posted.

Thanks Kai. The label is a long reach, I know that it’s not to be taken as pure fact.
I just did a brief name search and saw the results of the Union soldier.
Usually when a Union soldier is mentioned, it’s usually point to the US Civil War, so I didn’t look into later wars, but I will.
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Old 3rd February 2023, 05:54 PM   #7
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Looks like a garbled Museum label added much later by someone who didn't care much for historical accuracy. He could have been a young Union soldier who served as an old volunteer in the pan-Am war in Cuba. The "Cuba" and the 'Service' labels seem unconnected. Could have been donated by a descendent whose memory of where it came from was deficient. Nice piece in any case.

I suspect it's more likely from the Moro Insurrection period.



We forget how short a time it has been since those days. There is still an American Civil War Veteran's wife who is alive ang collecting his war pension. he was in his 90s, and she was in her teens when they married. He was a Union drummer boy in the War between the States. I think she gets $5 a month.



Heck, Russia is still using sniper rifles from the end of the 19c -albeit with more modern sights. And more modern snipers.
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Old 3rd February 2023, 05:57 PM   #8
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A thought: Some young US Civil War soldiers later fought in the Indian Wars and the in the Philippine-American War and subsequently in the Moro Wars. Many did this and brought back (like everyone else) souvenirs from the regions.

I would find it likely that your US serviceman did the same thing, though not bringing his Bagobo kampilan to fight the South.

I LOVE the twist cores in your blade!
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Old 3rd February 2023, 09:39 PM   #9
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Magnificent sword Albert! And overall great condition.
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Old 4th February 2023, 03:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
Looks like a garbled Museum label added much later by someone who didn't care much for historical accuracy.
The previous owner acquired this sword from an auction at a museum. Of all places, Raganís Golden 20ís Musical Museum in 1972.

Battara, your thought makes sense. It could have been.

Thanks Sajen.
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Old 12th February 2023, 08:25 PM   #11
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As a museum volunteer researcher, it is frustrating to see labels that say something like "20 years ago..." with no reference to the base date of the label.
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Old 13th February 2023, 02:34 AM   #12
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kino,

Your sword has had me thinking. It appears to have some age--probably not mid-19th C, but could easily be late 19th/early 20th C. While the overall form looks Bagobo, especially the downturned quillion, the shape of the pommel is not traditional, and the brass grip is not quite the same form as Jose's. It lacks the little "spikes" extending up towards the pommel. This makes me think that instead of Bagobo, it could be from the Tagakaolu who are a closely related group living around Davao City. They have brass ferrules of this form and hilts that are slightly different from the standard Bagobo form that Jose's shows.

The blade is a beauty and clearly well forged. It is also of the "small kampilan" type. This is a fairly common blade form among Bagobo swords—more common are the "fat-belly bolos" in my experience. Yours reminds me of the T'boli tok or kafilan blades and I wonder if your blade was forged by a T'boli. The T'boli made first rate blades that they traded widely and were renowned for their high quality and toughness.

It would not surprise me if this were a T'boli blade with mounts for a Tagakoalu owner.


BTW, the label says he represented his country, clearly the U.S.A. That would not be a reference to the US Civil War, which was fought between two sides of the same country (although the South disagreed). The Spanish-American War seems much more likely, which would place the sword being collected circa 1900–1905. Of course, the label could be entirely wrong.
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Old 13th February 2023, 01:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
kino,

Your sword has had me thinking. It appears to have some age--probably not mid-19th C, but could easily be late 19th/early 20th C. While the overall form looks Bagobo, especially the downturned quillion, the shape of the pommel is not traditional, and the brass grip is not quite the same form as Jose's. It lacks the little "spikes" extending up towards the pommel. This makes me think that instead of Bagobo, it could be from the Tagakaolu who are a closely related group living around Davao City. They have brass ferrules of this form and hilts that are slightly different from the standard Bagobo form that Jose's shows.

The blade is a beauty and clearly well forged. It is also of the "small kampilan" type. This is a fairly common blade form among Bagobo swordsómore common are the "fat-belly bolos" in my experience. Yours reminds me of the T'boli tok or kafilan blades and I wonder if your blade was forged by a T'boli. The T'boli made first rate blades that they traded widely and were renowned for their high quality and toughness.

It would not surprise me if this were a T'boli blade with mounts for a Tagakoalu owner.


BTW, the label says he represented his country, clearly the U.S.A. That would not be a reference to the US Civil War, which was fought between two sides of the same country (although the South disagreed). The Spanish-American War seems much more likely, which would place the sword being collected circa 1900Ė1905. Of course, the label could be entirely wrong.
Hope you won't mind me chiming in sir Ian- my curator-friend who worked with the Bagobo said that the outcropping with metal part at the butt-pommel may have been broken along with a significant part of wood, then it may have been repaired or smoothened over. He said that damage has been known to happen to such Bagobo kampilan variants.
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Old 13th February 2023, 03:48 PM   #14
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Hello Ray,

It seems to me that Ian was referring to the triangular extensions of the brass grip rather than the wooden pommel. Not sure what the Bagobo view is - it easily could be a tumpal motif.

Ian, I'm pretty sure I have seen quite a few Bagobo swords without these brass triangles - always thought these triangular extensions to be mainly found on datu-level pieces.

Albert's example certainly has an unusual pommel configuration though: While it starts out with the typical concave curved facets (which usually extend downwards to the tip of the curved pommel), this piece exhibits a kind of horizontal separation with a considerably thicker part of the wood at the lower end of the pommel. While there appear to be minor losses or wear to the wood, the additional material can't result from smoothening things out (it doesn't appear to be be a separate piece of wood added during a restoration attempt). A Bagobo variant or from one of the neighbouring groups?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 14th February 2023, 01:26 AM   #15
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Thanks for your assessment Ian.

I agree with you that the label could be entirely wrong. I canít place much value on it being correct. The label is just like a story attached to the sword. I acquired it because of the unusual blade, not the story.
With that said, hereís a brief info on the person mentioned on the label.
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