Moro Swords

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Federico's Moro Swords


BARONG. Tausug, Sulu Archipelago (1). Late 19th-early 20th century. Belonged to datu nobility and is a rare type (2) and is ceremonial in nature worn on formal occasions (5). Random pattern welded damascus steel blade with irregular temper line. Massive junggayan pommel is made of dark brown kamagong wood with scrolled okir top tail and beak, with large elephant ivory inlays in one "four leave clover", several dot inlays (one was missing and I replaced with bison ivory on 2/25/01), and several triangles (one triangle on butt of pommel is actually bone). Below pommel are three sections of chased high grade silver divided by three sections of braided high grade silver (3). Below this section is a slightly yellowish silver-copper alloy (3) ferrule that has lines and is filled with lead. NOTE: The pommel is larger and more ornate with more ivory than typical examples.

Scabbard is made of brown wood burl, but in poor condition with major cracks and sections missing. Poor glue repair work done and fell apart. I finished restoration with stained imbuai wood on 5/01. Some light surface carving, especially in areas replaced (example: the entire top flare near the beak of hilt was gone and is now replaced). Rattan bands around scabbard are new but have been stained.

Provenance: Dr. Joseph Link from Buffalo, NY who was a staff medical officer under General MacArthur in the Philippines and returned to the US in 1945. He died in 1999 (see signed card).

Collection Credit: Jose Albovias
Description Credit: Jose Albovias

  1. Robert Cato, Moro Swords, Singapore: Graham Brash, 1996, p. 38.
  2. Ibid., figure 22.
  3. Tested 2/24/01
  4. See eBay print out on similar piece for comparison. Although the piece went for 333.87, it had a broken and missing beak, 3 missing braided bands of silver, and it was not at ornate with ivory inlay as compared with this piece (though scabbard seems in better condition than this one). Pommel appears smaller than this present piece as well.
  5. Robert Cato, "Islamic Swords of the Southern Philippines," Arts of Asia, vol. 21, #1, Jan-Feb 1991.