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Bill Marsh





Joined: 20 Mar 2005

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri 07 Mar, 2008 7:10 pm    Post subject: Any Interest in antique ethnographic edged weapons         Reply with quote

I have weapons from the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Borneo and a few others. Any interest about pieces like these?

Philippine kris from Sulu, late 1800s



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Ken Speed





Joined: 09 Oct 2006

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PostPosted: Fri 07 Mar, 2008 7:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill,

I am truly starting to believe that someone could put up a picture of a steak knife here and get a discussion going about it.
I'm not an old-timer here by any stretch of the imagination but I have seen spirited "discussions" about things that I hadn't previously known existed! Laughing Out Loud

You'll see that people are drawn here for various reasons, some are reenactors, some practice Western Martial Arts, some are collectors, some own swords, some do not. I seem to get caught up or drawn into the history of a given piece or the significance of an event with which it would be associated. I'm just one of many members here but please post pictures of swords you own or that interest you. You may be surprised at what discussion will result.

That Kris is a stunning piece, strange and beautiful. I'm going to ask a question and I don't really have the vocabulary for it. On the top of the wooden piece that would be a crossguard on a European sword there seems to be what looks like a little metal ring, what is it? What is it for? Do you have any history of the piece or of what was happening in the Phillipines at that time?

Ken Speed
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Ken Speed





Joined: 09 Oct 2006

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PostPosted: Fri 07 Mar, 2008 7:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill,

Sorry, its a metal ring on the top of the blade.

Ken
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Fri 07 Mar, 2008 8:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Apart from the fact that it's a beautiful piece to look at I wonder how one would hold it and not have the " pommel " carving get in the way ?

As Ken mentioned we here have a whole spectrum of reasons to like swords or other weapons that overlap in many strange ways: In addition to all the historical and cultural things that interest me I always am curious about design choices that affect usability and what are good structural/materials design choices combined with aesthetics.

Oh, and Ken is correct that we can find stuff to say about just about anything including a kitchen knife.

Bill: Welcome to the site and feel free to post pics of anything weapons related that you wish. The focus on Medieval European weapons is just that many here are interested in that period and place but the site is open to most any weapons related subject related to history or design/aesthetics.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Bennison N




Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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PostPosted: Fri 07 Mar, 2008 9:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill, that's a beautiful Kris.

It's from the Phillipines? It's amazing how far the Kris spread through the islands isn't it? It doesn't have a very sharp point like so many other Kris, and it appears the blade is more suited to cutting, whereas the majority of Kris seem to be almost exclusively for stabbing. The pommel on this one is very distinctive. And the scabbard is beautiful, far more so than the majority of Kris scabbards. Does the blade turn on the handle?

A slightly unrelated question... Do you know a system for the use of a Kris? For the life of me, I can't figure out how Pencjak Silat could be converted to the use of one, although apparently it is a very popular (the most popular, perhaps?) weapon for Silat exponents.

Do you have any background for your Kris? Age, maker, any blessings or curses placed on it? The reason I ask this is that there are often special, and shocking powers attributed to Kris, especially in Indonesia, and especially in Java. I've heard that Kris are so revered there that you can send your Kris to your own wedding in your place, and that counts as showing up.

I'm thinking of getting a little holder for mine for my desk at work... Haha!

I might get told off for this... But seeing as we have someone else with an interest in Kris, I'm wondering if you could have a look at the following Kris for sale and give me your critique. It's Sumatran, from 1900. It has the more common handle shape, finely carved, and a very nice, albeit rather mistreated blade. Tell me what you think. It's not for me, it's for a gift to a dear Indonesian friend of mine, who had his 4 generation family Kris burgled from his home.

http://www.liongate-armsandarmour.com/bq1782a.html

"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

अजयखड्गधारी
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Bill Marsh





Joined: 20 Mar 2005

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sat 08 Mar, 2008 12:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll try to answer as many questions as possible! Wow! Good responses.

First, a Moro kris, though sharing similar form with the Indonesian and peninsular examples, is a very different animal. The tang is rectangular in cross section so that the handle will not turn when used. Nor is it easily removable, being held on with a pitch that must be heated to be removed. Also the "ring" that you mention is called an asang-asang. Actually a clamp with a metal strip that you can't see going under the hilt binding. This additionally holds the blade to the hilt.

These were much bigger than Indonesian keris. Blades were at least 20" (or more) in length, and much more substantial.

Moro/Philippine Kris like this were battle weapons and powerful slicing swords as well as talismans.

The Indonesian keris were talismans first and weapons second. Though they could do serious damage with a thrust, the tang, or pesci, is comparatively weak as it was made so the handle could easily be removed and the keris cleaned in yearly ceremonies.

The pommel is a huge piece of ivory. Carved in a shape called a "Jungayyan." Some say this looks like a cockatu bird or kakaktua. The sword you see here was made for a person of high rank and/or social status. While it is razor sharp and laminated steel, like most older Moro weapons, it is more likely a ceremonial piece. The pommel would get in the way in battle.

I couldn't really comment on Lionsgate keris except to say this is from Sumatra and very different than the kris I have pictured.

It is likely that the PI kris (as opposed to the Indonesian "keris") actually began in Java. Migrated up through Borneo and over to the PI Islands.. I collect these also though I am more familiar with Java, Bali and Madura.

As far as actual use, I know little about techniques. The Moro were a south PI group located around the Sulu and Mindanao. Fighting was usually done by ambush in heavy brush. Some had boats and operated as pirates. All were ferocious fighters. It is believed that the explorer, Magellan, was killed by a Filipino warrior with a longsword called a kampilan.

The Spanish fought the Philippine warriors for nearly 400 years and never conquered them. You may be aware that the US Army side weapon was a .38 cal revolver until we met the Moro/Filipino fighters during the Spanish-American war. Our .38 cartridge proved ineffective in stopping these small fighters and we went to the 45 ACP.

Like the much smaller Indonesian keris there is much mysticism surrounding the PI kris. Many believe that there is a spirit or Djinn inhabiting the blades. The pieces certainly have presence.

If you look carefully you will see a piece of metal between the blade and the handle. In Indonesian terms this is called a "gangya." In PI mythology it is said that a spirit is invited into the blade, then the gangya is slid down over the tang. Kind of like the cork in a bottle.

I enclose two PI Kris that were more battle weapons. Note the difference in the pommels. The first has a substantial handle and two of the asang-asang clamps. It is a straight blade. Some were straight and some had waves. It was a personal choice. If a blade had waves, it always was an odd number because kris and keris were considered male.

The second kris has a danagan pommel that is more common to kris, however it is uncommon to find the fragile pieces of wood still intact. Most were broken off.



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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Fri 14 Mar, 2008 12:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a Javanese who has been exposed to a lot of information on the keris in my daily life whether I'd like it or not, I can say that what Bill has written sounds right to me. Maybe the only thing I'd like to add is something about Ben's question regarding the use of the keris--I can't speak for the Filipino arts where the kris is a much more versatile and weaponlike tool, but in Java the basic technique for the keris is called "backstabbing." The weapon is worn in the small of the back, out of the opponent's sight, both for the sake of being courteous to people you like and being able to make an unexpected attack against somebody you don't like. Smile, shake hands, and stab. But, as Bill has mentioned, the Javanese keris is now much more of a ceremonial artifact than an actual weapon. Its actual use in assassination seemed to have been most prevalent in the medieval period, especially during the Singhasari empire where one such keris was repeatedly used to assassinate people at the top of the aristocratic hierarchy--and it would seem that at that time the keris was a somewhat different and sturdier weapon than the ceremonial object it is now.
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Dan Bexell





Joined: 16 Feb 2008

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PostPosted: Sat 15 Mar, 2008 4:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a gorgeous kris. I have collected a few along with other Filipino edged weaponry such as Barongs, Punals, talibongs, etc. There are quite a few Filipino Martial Arts. The one I have learned is called Kali, which means blade in Tagalog. The Filipinos were quite sophisticated when it came to the combat arts. I believe they are among the best weapon practicioners around nowadays , their skill with the knife is amazing. At the Minnesota Kali Group, we study stick fighting, dagger, and the empty hand fighting that goes along with it. We have a large number of police officers because of the knife and stick classes. There are two books by a guy named Vic Hurley, who wrote them in the 1930's. Both can be read online since they aren't so easy to find. I paid $152.00 for my copy of Jungle Patrol, which is the story of the Phillipine Constabulary in the early 1900's. The other book is Swish of the Kris, which tells of the Spanish attempt to subjugate the Moros which they were never able to do. In fact the Spanish king eventually paid tribute to the Sultan of Sulu to get them to leave them alone. The only time in the Conquistadores history that that was done. There are some amazing stories about the experiences of the American Army in the Phillipines, some of the stories read better than any fiction you can find. A lot of the men who fought the Filipinos, were the old indian fighters who were transplanted from the southwest. That story about the reason for the development of the .45 automatic is true. Moro warriors fought to the death always. Many bodies were found after battles with multiple bullets in them. As a rule the only way to stop them was a head or heart shot. Once again, it's a fascinating part of US history and makes for some ripping good yarns. I highly recommend the two books.
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Kelly Powell




Location: lawrence, kansas
Joined: 27 Feb 2008

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PostPosted: Sun 16 Mar, 2008 1:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

question about the Silat blades....I heard somewhere that the smaller, sharply pointed kris was usually poisoned? Hopefully this question does not offend anybody (To western minds, a poisoned blade seems....well, "evil"....probably due to the victorian, stiff upper lip, good form ol' sport idealazation of chivalry)
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Bill Marsh





Joined: 20 Mar 2005

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PostPosted: Sun 16 Mar, 2008 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Bexell wrote:
That story about the reason for the development of the .45 automatic is true. Moro warriors fought to the death always. Many bodies were found after battles with multiple bullets in them. As a rule the only way to stop them was a head or heart shot. Once again, it's a fascinating part of US history and makes for some ripping good yarns. I highly recommend the two books.


Many Moro warriors were Islamic. Not only did they fight to the death, but they fought with a fierce fanaticism that is difficult for us to understand.

A Moro might work himself into a state of juramentado where he would run amok among the enemy, whether soldiers, or enemy civilians and in a frenzy kill everyone near him. In this frenzy he was incredibly strong, fast, felt no pain and was without reason ---- he could only be stopped by death, and this death was best done by bullets from a distance beyond his blade!

As has been said before Spain tried unsuccessfully to bring them under her control for about 400 years. One of the factors that made this such a battle was that Spain wanted to convert them to Catholicism. During the Spanish American war, we also fought them. However ours was not a holy war. We just wanted to pacify them.

I have a close Filipino friend who knows Philippine history and current affairs far better than I. He says that the Filipinos greatly respect American military considering us true warriors. He also says that the elite Filipino marines train in the American Marines as they consider our Marines the top fighting force in the world.

They respect us as they never respected the Spanish.

Here, you can read the "Swish of the Kriss"
http://www.bakbakan.com/swishkb.html

I am looking for an online copy of "Jungle Patrol" if anyone knows how I can find this?

I read some stories excerpted that recounted the Moro bringing their women and children along in battles. Battles that were very one-sided opposing American artillery and guns. Certainly Americans used technology in deadly ways against the Moro.

The history here is difficult to determine what actually happened. Did the ferocity of the Moro leave us no choice (American side of history) Or were we out to exterminate a race? (Moro side) Or was it somewhere in between?


Kelly,

I don't know if the blades were poisoned. Would not be surprised. But it is also possible that this is an "Urban Rumor" that began becasue Indonesian kris blades are cleaned and stained in a yearly ceremony. The min ingredient in the staining is arsenic. However this arsenic is cleaned off and would not poses a threat of poison afterwards.

I am enjoying this discussion,[/b][/i]
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Dan Bexell





Joined: 16 Feb 2008

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PostPosted: Sun 16 Mar, 2008 1:08 pm    Post subject: Jungle Patrol         Reply with quote

To get Jungle Patrol, just go to google, type Jungle Patrol & it pops right up. Regards; Dan
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Bill Marsh





Joined: 20 Mar 2005

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PostPosted: Sun 16 Mar, 2008 6:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Jungle Patrol         Reply with quote

Dan Bexell wrote:
To get Jungle Patrol, just go to google, type Jungle Patrol & it pops right up. Regards; Dan


Got it! Thanks
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Fri 21 Mar, 2008 4:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kelly Powell wrote:
question about the Silat blades....I heard somewhere that the smaller, sharply pointed kris was usually poisoned?


It's quite probable, but sounds rather doubtful because (again) the Javanese blades I know of are mostly ritual objects rather than combat weapons. Some of them were actually used for backstabbing, of course, and these exceptions are where the "poisoned blade" idea could have been applied with any actual chance of success.
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Bill Marsh





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PostPosted: Fri 21 Mar, 2008 4:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Kelly Powell wrote:
question about the Silat blades....I heard somewhere that the smaller, sharply pointed kris was usually poisoned?


It's quite probable, but sounds rather doubtful because (again) the Javanese blades I know of are mostly ritual objects rather than combat weapons. Some of them were actually used for backstabbing, of course, and these exceptions are where the "poisoned blade" idea could have been applied with any actual chance of success.


True. Javanese keris were mainly used as ritual objects and talismans, rarely as a weapon.

I think the rumor most likely started around the fact that many Javanese blades (and most of the Indonesian archipelago keris) were cleaned and then stained to show the contrast in the metals (pamor) in a ritual once a year. The staining process often used arsenic, but this was cleaned off so no residue was left.

You can see how small the tang is as it enters the handle.



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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Fri 21 Mar, 2008 5:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah. I've handled a few keris myself, so I'm quite familiar with the flimsy tang. I wonder if it might have been an intentional design feature?

BTW, what collection does that last keris belong to? I might have seen it, or maybe something very like it in a recent fair.
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Bill Marsh





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PostPosted: Fri 21 Mar, 2008 5:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Yeah. I've handled a few keris myself, so I'm quite familiar with the flimsy tang. I wonder if it might have been an intentional design feature?

BTW, what collection does that last keris belong to? I might have seen it, or maybe something very like it in a recent fair.


The flimsy tang design makes for easy handle removal.

In Javanese collecting the dress (everything but the blade) can be changed many times during the life of the owner depending on changes in his financial, political, marriage, age and other conditions. The blade is kept in pristine condition and oiled with scented oil.

The blade is older, maybe 100-150 years, the dress is recent. My oldest documented blade was made in about 1601 during the reign of Sultan Agung.

The keris and others in my photos are in my collection.
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Werner Stiegler





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PostPosted: Fri 21 Mar, 2008 7:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Marsh wrote:

A Moro might work himself into a state of juramentado where he would run amok among the enemy, whether soldiers, or enemy civilians and in a frenzy kill everyone near him. In this frenzy he was incredibly strong, fast, felt no pain and was without reason ---- he could only be stopped by death, and this death was best done by bullets from a distance beyond his blade!
I'd be in a mystical frenzy too if my genitals were being squashed by drying leather thongs.
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Kelly Powell




Location: lawrence, kansas
Joined: 27 Feb 2008

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PostPosted: Fri 21 Mar, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I heard something about the blades being poisoned again.....The history channels martial art show "human weapon"....You know the one where they got the little skinny kick boxer and the ex football player going country to country getting their buts whooped by differant martial art disciplines Big Grin ....
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Ben C.





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PostPosted: Sat 22 Mar, 2008 2:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kelly Powell wrote:
I heard something about the blades being poisoned again.....The history channels martial art show "human weapon"....You know the one where they got the little skinny kick boxer and the ex football player going country to country getting their buts whooped by differant martial art disciplines Big Grin ....


the ex-football guy is Bill Duff. The other guy is Jason Chambers, a BJJ/MMA fighter who trains under Eddie Bravo at 10th Planet. Jason is 5'11" and 180lbs so he is by no means a "skinny little guy". Going by national statistics the average American is 5'9" and weighs around 165-170lbs in shape. The actually average weight is 190lbs but that is only due to the ever increasing rate of obesity.

The research used in the show is pretty poor and the 'fights' are mostly staged or at best just sparring sessions so I wouldn't put too much weight into what you see there. Human Weapon is actually a copy of another similar martial arts documentary series called Fight Quest. Fight Quest started production much earlier but a rival studio decided to try and one up them by creating and rushing through the production of Human Weapon in order to get broadcast first. Therefore there are a lot more mistakes made and dubious facts stated in Human Weapon compared to Fight Quest. That's not to say that Fight Quest is amazingly accurate either though.
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Kelly Powell




Location: lawrence, kansas
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PostPosted: Sat 22 Mar, 2008 5:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No offense meant, but you got to admit when they have him sparring around with man mountain he looks alot smaller then his stats Wink .....I watched that silat episode again and they state that not only is the keris covered in a deadly neuro toxin....it is incorporated into the blade during forging... Eek! ..So most likely they are talking about the arsenic paste used for cleaning...good call guys!
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