Moro Swords

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Federico's Moro Swords


GUNONG.(1) Maranao (Moro), Lake Lanao region, Northwestern Mindanao Island, Southern Philippines. Late 19th cen. Possibly belonged to Dato (8). 7 3/4" double edged, oriental damascus steel blade w/central ridge. (2) Ornate guard chased in kiyanoko design on underside (3) and ferrules of copper overlaid with sheet silver. (7) Central bulge is silver w/filigree and rope silver. Pommel is burled teak bunti wood.

Scabbard is purple-red narra wood with ornate chased pako (bud and leaf motif)(4) at top near the throat. Underneath throat, on top and bottom mounts, the rest of the pattern is in simplified pako rabong(growing fern)(5) combined with kiybo (hut) designs(6) in copper overlaid with sheet silver.(7) Back top mount has ornate chased loop.

Collection Credit: Jose Albovias
Description Credit: Jose Albovias

  1. Literature Note: refer to Kris Cutlery Sandata Catalog #6: item 81 & 82. Also refer to Herbert Krieger's The Collection of Primitive Weapons and Armor of the Philippines Islands in the United States National Museum (Smithsonian Institution, Bulletin 137) (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1926), p.84, "Dagger - Goo'na." Also refer to Kris Cutlery Sandata Catalog #5, item #90 made in 1983, called a gunong, a 13 1/8" waved plain steel blade with chased plated brass mounts and scabbard listed at $95.00 (recent). 1. Refer to Cato's Moro Swords (Singapore: Graham Brash, 1996), p.21 photo 7, which is quite similar to this gunong blade.
  2. Refer to Mamitua Saber and Dionisio G. Orellana, Maranao Folk Art: Survey of Forms, Designs and Meanings, (Marawi City: University Research Center, 1981), p.29.
  3. refer to Roberto A. De Los Reyes and Staff, An Ethno-Artological Catalogue of Philippine Traditional Design Motifs, (Manila: The Design Center, 1973), plate 7 figure 1 and p.112.
  4. Saber and Orellana, Maranao Folk Art, plate 1-C figure 15 (pp.44-45) and plate 2 (pp.46-47).
  5. ibid, p.29.
  6. Tim Holbert, silver smith at Moore's Jewelry in Louisville, KY, states that it looks like a sheet of silver was placed on top of a sheet of copper and together placed in a furnace and partially melted together, a common technology used for centuries.