Filipino blade history to present time info...

Discussion in 'Misc. Knife Arts' started by Ron Kosakowski, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. themorningstar

    themorningstar New Member

    mr. kosakowski, it has you who have been unfriendly towards me and others who have tried to help you by merely correcting what we have found to be incorrect. yes you may have learned alot if you were open minded enough to accept that there are things about the philippines sandata, culture and history that you havent learned yet and people such as myself and other members of this and other forums have spent our lifetimes learning, researching and living.
    and as far as your last sentence-"The putting down of others to make yourself look good is not what I am used least I don't do that." - all one has to do is go to your forum, your youtube clips, and myspace forums to see the contrary.
  2. themorningstar

    themorningstar New Member

    thats odd, the first version of your ginunting looked very much like it. i saw version 2 started to step away from it and now version 3 looks less like it.
    so are you stating that your version is closer to the original negros version of the ginunting? because i dont seem to see the s-guard or the traditional handle style found in the negros version.
    if you or anyone else wants to take a look - go to and look up the pictures that mandala tim waid has graciously provided of the philippine force recon marines with their "bolo"

    that was the blade style used before it was modified...
    yours bares a closer resemblance to the new one and not those.
  3. themorningstar

    themorningstar New Member

    mr. vancise,
    hello sir and i hope all is well with you.
    if i am correct-you own a tfw ginunting, typhoon blades ginunting and an antique ginunting?
    if you can spare a moment of your time sir, can you provide a side by side by side picture of said 3 blades for comparison being an unbiased third party as well as a supporter of philippine sandata and pandays for the sake of this discussion on philippine history and blades?
  4. themorningstar

    themorningstar New Member

    i dont see any clips on these scabbards.... and are the handles on backwards?
    these cant be traditional....
  5. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    As people are referencing the history of steel exhibit photographs and captions, I'd like to highlight a piont Labantayo made previously that may have been glossed over.

    Looking through the history of steel captions I notice a number of wrongly labeled swords.

    A few months ago I was visiting family in San Francisco and we went to the Asian Art Museum. Some of the Philippine swords were mislabeled as Indonesion. One of the one's labeled as Filipino was put in the wrong region and time period.

    Just because somethings in a book or museum doesn't make it accurate. It's valuble to see, to see what things looked like from a paticular time period, but the best information will come first hand from the region and people that keep it as a vibrant living tradition.
  6. Completely agree Buwaya (again).

    Maybe you missed this earlier post of mine:

    I just posted the photographs as I thought they were relevant and not to support any hypothesis I / others may have. I also thought they would bring the thread back on topic and help relieve the tension shall we say ...;)

    My question is that if a sword does not have the "Crocodile" hilt, is it still a Kampilan? This is for my own curiosity. Unfortunately, I think this was lost in the back and forth that this thread started and has descended back into :(

    Maybe we should all try to help each other and be respectful and receptive with the sharing of information - and ofcourse, appreciative towards those like yourself who have knowledge to share.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  7. R. Mike Snow

    R. Mike Snow Chiseled Edge

    Sounds Like a plan! But these gentlemen have posted on numerous occcasions and no one ever listened. They have just been pathologically dismissed as rude, uneducated bullies that have been verbally attacked and not ever given the simplest of responses. A simple "Thank you" from the start and the answers of their questions. They are all big enough to take care of them selves, but I felt that they were being categorized unjustly, so I finally decided jump in to verify their knowlege and experience as well as post a photographic example to help clarify ONE of their many points.
  8. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    Simon, check your PM. I'll awnser your question.
  9. Well, I'm listening and I'm sure others are as well that maybe don't want to don a tin hat and post on this thread! We are lucky to have you guys on the forum. Thanks for the PM buyawa.
  10. mabagani

    mabagani Pendato

    Kampilan hilts do not necessarily have to have a crocodile form, I've seen the hilts morph stylistically from reptilian, to bird, to aquatic like forms, but what you'll find in common are the blade orientations, types, and native carving if we are writing about the typical Mindanao/Sulu Moro/Muslim kampilan.
    Looking back at your original post and photos, the T'boli form of the short kampilan (for lack of a better term and description) is a "tok", if I recall. The non-Muslim tribes surrounding Moro territories had their own forms of hilts and short kampilan type blades with their own native names other than "kampilan", the similarities in blade types were due to trade and their interrelated history, the characteristics the non-Muslim tribes blades had in common were the shorter length vs. the longer Moro swords.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2009
  11. Sun_Helmet

    Sun_Helmet Junior Member

    Weapons of Moroland

    Good thread.

    If you check out this link, you can view one of the oldest Weapons of Moroland displays. This is from a VERY old book, Inhabitants of the Philippines written by Fredric Sawyer in 1904. It was taken from an actual display of weapons from the Philippine Museum, not the miniatures you see today. I cropped and enhanced the image so that the old photograph can show the details. The book's photo was very old and there was lots of deterioration on the spine and edges.

    As far as I can tell, this is the oldest Weapons of Moroland display ever captured on a photo. If you click the enlarge or magnifying button you can see a larger image.

    Weapons of Moroland shirt

    better image here:

    Weapons of Moroland Print

    Pardon that this is a commercial link but since interest was brought up on old weapons, this display may explain more of what weapons the old plaques originally contained.

    I'm sure the educated eyes here can distinguish and share what is missing and what has been added in the tourist WoM plaques of today.

    I would also like to say that Ron's post is educational in that at least discussion is stirred up on this subject.

  12. PG Michael B

    PG Michael B Oso Grande

    Rafael..excellent kapatid....very interesting. I do see the additions and deletions...great find!
  13. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise Senior Member Supporting Member

    Cool! [​IMG]
  14. Sun_Helmet

    Sun_Helmet Junior Member



    I'd like to provide another image that may hopefully stir up the historian in everyone to dig deeper into the mysteries of Filipino weaponry.


    Looking at old books about the pre 1900 time period especially weapons catalogued by the Spanish government for their own studies, I came across the kampilans of that day and they look very much like actual scimitars, not the forked, straight bladed shape that the kampilans we know of.

    The 'Campilanes' illustrated in the Resen'a Historica de la Guerra al Sur de Filipinas in 1857 were markedly different than the ones we see today.

    They are twice as wide where the tip widens, some bow out instead of the 'v' prongs, or in reverse, bow in at the tip instead of making the 'v', more of an exagerrated curve on the blade shape than a straight weapon. At the punyo were tassels, similar to the ones we see on latter versions.

    I always wondered why the Portugese, Spanish and Italian ( the versions of Pigafetta's manuscript) had described the kampilans as scimitars, perhaps that was due to the weapons looking more like a fatter classical scimitar from the Arabian Nights. A page of the catalogue is reproduced on page 213 of Muslims in the Philippines by Majul.

    What are your thoughts?

  15. mabagani

    mabagani Pendato

    I've wondered about these drawings...but when looking at each of the renditions of the different swords and shields individually, their forms are off compared to known examples, so I'd guess that all are overstylized artwork rather than precise images in scale and form. I've seen curved versions of a long sword that could be considered a kampilan but the Spanish drawings resemble panabas-like blades which have more variation in length, width and curvature. Maybe historians and artists clumped every long blade as "kampilan" without making the distinctions.
    Old Moro writings cite classical kampilans as we know today in descriptions and form of the hilt and blade and usage, which wouldn't be possible with the swords in the Spanish drawing. Oddly, Spanish historians were more precise about drawing Moro warships to scale and form, imo possibly because artists were more comfortable observing them from a distance vs. close quarter combat weapons. lol. but there are many real examples in Spain's museums and I don't recall any matching the ones in the drawings.
  16. R. Mike Snow

    R. Mike Snow Chiseled Edge

    I totally agree. I think that they exaggerated the shape of Parang and Pira. As well as making the hilts look more Moorsih and/or or Middle Eastern. A form of artistic propaganda if you will.
  17. Sun_Helmet

    Sun_Helmet Junior Member

    Good points. The Spanish manuscript text themselves tended to use a lot of artistic license so I could see how that would translate in the artwork.

    The best way to obtain a better perspective on this is to locate more drawings by this artist. Since he appeared to be designated to gather information, it would seem odd that he would not draw the standard kampilans since it would be much easier to debunk him due to all the actual weapons being brought in.

    Still interesting regardless of whether it was exaggerated, an amalgam of other swords/weapons or not, it shows how history can be distorted by the record keepers.

    The weapons of Moroland display does not support the drawings either. Although another old drawing I've seen has an even more exaggerated swirl at the tip of the blade but it wasn't called a "campilanes".

  18. Sun_Helmet

    Sun_Helmet Junior Member

    However, IF for some reason the kampilans as we know today did evolve, this would be the perfect time period for it to happen. Reason being is that Emilio Bernaldez a Spanish engineer who supplied the catalogue with it's content was part of the bloody campaign that overtook the Balangigi fort/cotta. It was recorded that this was one of the more decisive victories for Spain due to the natives being unfamiliar with fighting the Spanish bayonets. See page 350 of the book Iranun and Balangigi. (it comes up on a google search). Prior to this battle, the Spanish were still calling the kampilan a "scimitar-like" weapon. Page 170.

    My theory has always been that the standard kampilan's design were made to thwart the pike and bayonets of the Spanish. The above examples were not. The forked tip and the forked handles are features that offer excellent counters which specifically address the advantages of a pike or bayonet, specifically the length of weapon.

    This is merely theory of course, but one which addresses the wide margin of artistic license in this image not in others, the use of Spanish terminology of "scimitars", the actual attributes between the weapons that were involved in battle, historical references to the disadvantages, and the creativity of our ancestors.


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