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Old 11th May 2006, 06:15 PM   #1
D Wilke
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Default Swords of Jolo, Sulu 1

Ma Uno Uno Na Kaw! My friends
My apologies for my extended absence from the forum. But be assured that I have not been idle in the realm of learning and sharing what you all have taught me about history, culture and of course swords. What follows will be installments of photos and descriptions of the best of the kalis and barong that I have run across during the last 5 months on Jolo, Sulu. I've shared what I know and created several new enthuasiats in the process, many of them Tausug. Many have picked up nice pieces that we will share. I can only hope that what Ian, Frederico and the rest of you have taught me has stood me in good stead and the advice I have given others will be echoed in your comments. As always don't hold back. This first piece, is the first genuine piece that my Blade Hunter, Ali-pala Jamala, brokered for me after two months of trash and a lot of lessons.
I have a line waiting to post their kalis for comment. They're new to swords and hungry for every scrap of information you can give them regarding their new acquisitions.

BTW, the internet is real iffy here and the competion for the few computers we have is fierce. We'll post and answer as we get the chance and the power cooperates.

This first piece I consider my "find", iron and nickel, original scabbard with buffalo horn cap on the bottom which I had rewrapped by the local craftsmen, handle is also buffalo horn and mother pearl (not original) and the blade cleaned using the traditional process which I'll go into later.

Somebody help me out with the luuk count, no matter which way I count them I come up with 8?

Enjoy
Dan
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Old 11th May 2006, 06:36 PM   #2
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Hey Dan !
Good to hear from you .
I believe I count 15 waves in this blade .
A shot of it from straight above against a lighter background would be helpful .
So would a close up of the gangya area .
Absolutely beautiful forging pattern .

Rick
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Old 11th May 2006, 06:53 PM   #3
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Hi Dan:

Good to hear from you again. Was beginning to think you might have disappeared in the jungle.

Nice example of a Sulu kris. This one looks like an older blade in new dress. Hard to count the number of luk from the picture, and some of the early 20th C. blades had really shallow luk anyway. Just looking at the spacing of the curves along the blade, I would say it is probably a 13 or 15 luk example (always an odd number). A better picture would help.

What else you got to show us?

Ian.
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Old 11th May 2006, 07:02 PM   #4
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in jolo, it's siku not luks.... luuk is a province in sulu by the way...
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Old 11th May 2006, 07:12 PM   #5
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Talking More Later

Rick, More pics later if the sun cooperates. 13 or 15 luuk? must've missed a lesson there on how to count em (thought you just counted the outside curves). We have about 7 kalis and two barongs worth posting. They are exceeding hard to find here and they are truly "pusaka" here (they use the same term). We'll be posting each in a seperate thread so they can get individual feedback. This post was just a test to see if I still rememebered how.

Gonna have to work on the size of those photos, but in the meantime while I still have the computer (2am here) I'll post the barong I picked up. It has the swollen edge (concave in the center of the blade) I had the braided cord on the handle replaced with braided silver wire and a new scabbard built for it (the one that came with it was new AND broken).

Ian, I never get lost, especially in the jungle! Course around here only the bad guys go in the jungle and you know I'm one of the good guys
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Old 11th May 2006, 07:20 PM   #6
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Default Siku

Morningstar, thanks I've asked but none of the Tausug here could give the term (just called them waves) been trying to talk to a blacksmith here, but have missed him everytime. So much of their history is lost to them here a shame, but many are trying to rebuild the pride that used to go with being Tausug.

Familiar with Lu'uk, will be there Sunday running a medical mission for 1000 people.

Thanks again for correct term.

Dan
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Old 11th May 2006, 07:21 PM   #7
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not a problem...
i've sent you a pm.
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Old 11th May 2006, 09:40 PM   #8
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Default Nice barung too ...

Dan:

You are definitely developing a good eye for Moro weaponry. Is that a swollen edge on the barung?

Ian.
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Old 12th May 2006, 02:44 AM   #9
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Don't be too hard on our jungle folk, they just commemorated the centennial of Bud Dajo...forgotten US history?
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Old 12th May 2006, 05:42 AM   #10
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nice to hear from you again, dan. i'm envious in that you've already been in places i only dream of visiting one day...

i believe the barung does have a swollen edge.
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Old 12th May 2006, 05:53 AM   #11
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another thing is the wonderful MOP work on the tagub...
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Old 12th May 2006, 06:20 AM   #12
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Default Better Pics

Better pics as requested.

Spunjer, glad to hear from you again and yes is it a swollen edge (that's why I pid so much for it).

Mabagani, always good to hear from you, but the Bud Dajo reference -OUCH! The Battle of the Clouds is not forgotten by those working here, but the younger generation here has no clue. The only rallies they had here were organized and attended by outsiders, the locals showed little interest. We did commemorate it here, as soldiers we appreciate and honor others of our kind that fight valiantly for that which they believe in. While many have tried to use it to drive a wedge we have tried to honor it and those that gave their lives while still focusing on the future and the development we're trying to create, instead of living in the past. The Tausug here are people of extremes they either love you or hate you, a completely misunderstood and misperceived people. We are working hard to insure that all from Manila to DC see the potential of this absolutely georgous, but still dangerous island and insure the resources they need to take their rightful place are not misdirected. And of course on a personal note I've tried to re-educate some on their weapons, their crafts and the market possibilities of their exquisite artwork. We have an initiative started and I've linked up some old craftsmen with their Barangay captains and the schools where we put internet in to try to get small internet busineses started. Just wish I could have made contact with that old blacksmith, but I will leave behind 90+ projects for school renovation, water distribution, health clinics, livelihood programs, etc. for my successors to implement.

More on the Tausug later, absolutely fascinating culture, but now the pictures.
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Old 12th May 2006, 07:07 AM   #13
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Thanks Dan, good job, just sending out a feeler to see where you stood. pm me...I think the only place in the US that commemorated Bud Dajo was in the San Francisco's War Memorial building. There were lectures on the past and present. I showed old photos from the episode and a weapons display. I was invited to the Jolo event, but not in a position to travel yet, heard they trekked up the volcano. Both events ended with promoting peace as the ultimate goal. I tried helping to develop some old crafts recently too, but heard from my sources that internet service is not good, nor is postal. So maybe Sulu would be like the Indian gaming in California but with oil instead where the natives would benefit? who knows...Tausug are not the kind to sulk or seek revenge over spilled blood, fighting is fighting but when there is an injustice they remember and are outspoken about it.
You're barung and kris look like good WWII examples with recent restorations, a period when the US and Moros fought on the same side btw...can't help thinking about the history that went with the weapons, part of the study
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Old 12th May 2006, 01:05 PM   #14
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i counted 15 waves, dan. also, is the gangya separated?

it's a shame about the internet and postal service as you and mabagani mentioned. ebay could really help out a lot of people over there in regards to selling their wares and crafts.

dan, i know this does not relate to the swords, but how's about a blog? well, you can make it sword related, lol. the traditional cleaning process would be a pretty cool start. i know you have more important stuff to do, so that's if you only have the time...


btw, looking forward to see the other swords...
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Old 12th May 2006, 01:51 PM   #15
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Default Seperated gangya

Yes Spunjer it is definately a seperated two piece construction and the blade itself had many small seperations along the nickel iron lines, one especially large at the tip. I had thought that this type of seperation came with age when these two metals were mixed. Additionally while my photos aren't the greatest the luk are quite worn down apparently from sharpening.

The wood on the scabbard is brittle with age and must be handled carefully, the water buffalo end cap on the scabbard has turned a bleached brown with age and I'm told here (heresay from locals) that the carving pattern is of an old variety (I'll post some other pieces with what they claim is a newer variety, before they went to shaved tortoise shell and mother of pearl.

All that said and the reaction I get here when I show it, I would've thought that this piece would have been mid-19th century.

Mabagani, will try to pm you this evening if the power holds.

Now as for the cleaning I've added some shots of how we did, literally you wouldn't recognize some of these blades after we finished. My thanks to COL Alamia who just retired to Lugos island for his help in explaining the old ways.

First off a good soak in Cabulan, which the fluid left over after making coconut oil. Hollowed out a length of bamboo poured in the cabulan and SOAK! Some blades took 2 days, some took 4, most showed whether they were sandwich laminated or folded after about 24-36 hours. The dirt and rust was just gone when we pulled them out only a wipe reqiured. We reused the cabulan on all the blades we had as cabulan is not for sale here, you have to wait till someone makes a batch of coconut oil out in the country and ask them to save it. I think it loses some of its efficacy after a few blades and it definately starts to stink and mold after two weeks!
Getting the gangya soaked posed a problem as even the widest bamboo couldn't fit the gangya. We improvished a cut-off bleach bottle with gasket seal across the bottom and pushed the sword through the bottom. Second time we rubber banded a plastic bag of cabulan around the gangya, neither was an optimum solution aas both leaked and the area around my bunk stinks After the soak it left the blade a dirty white which was easily removed. Now the traditional way was to then rub it with calamanci (small green citrus) while this does keep it from rusting, we found after time that it continued to etch the blade and turn it blacker. We used Break -free, our all purpose lubricant that we use on our guns and got much better results. The blade seemed to suck up the first heavy coat and then the second sucked it up till it left a dull shine without affecting the lamination.
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Old 12th May 2006, 02:27 PM   #16
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interesting dan! i got a pvc pipe version of that. interesting that coconut oil byproduct is used. i know some type of vinegar are made from coconut flower, so perhaps it's the same type of acid, but weaker.

the kris blade does look older. never seen where it's actually separated along the blade. pretty cool dan.

magsukul
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Old 12th May 2006, 02:45 PM   #17
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Default Great thread

Wow, Dan - fascinating post and nice swords. There are many here with more experienced opinions than mine, but while clearly in 20th C dress, the blades look 19th C to me and nice ones at that. I haven't seen a kris blade with piled construction quite like yours. Neat story, too, about those blades cycling back out of the past to connect their heritage with the new, and hopefully eager, generation of Joloanos.

M.
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