Bicol Bankung sword
Philippines – Bicol region – 19th century
Materials: Steel, Iron, Brass, Horn (Bubalis Arneé)
From the region of Bicol, Central Philippines; a fine and unusual sword which seems to be a hybrid between the ‘Bolo‘ and the ‘Bankung‘. A sword ideal made for slashing with a balanced, light blade. The sword resembles to the ‘Bankung‘ most in shape, yet with typical Bicol fittings.
Showing typical Bicol aesthetic features such as the shell guard with engraved design, the spiral hilt with brass wire and revited pommel. The guard is made of iron and has the outlines of a clamshell protecting the hand. The other side of the guard has a straight angled part which can function as a blade catcher as well as a clip to wear the sword on one’s clothes. The handle was made of buffalo horn and is of spiral form with a pronounced pommel which is decorated like a periwinkle.
As mentioned, a rather hybrid form between the traditional ‘Bangkung‘ and the ‘Bolo‘. Idealy made for slashing with its weight near the tip. A slight downward curve with a slim forte. The blade features a double edge and a fuller on both sides. The fullers are accompanied with an engraved floral motif and lines once filled with brass of which some remains are still visible. The blade shows a pattern weld which I decided to leave as it is due to its current condition.
Condition: Good condition, The blade suffered from use and atmospherical influences, yet the blade it still firm and in general good condition. Some cutting marks down both edges and the tip is slightly dent. The guard has a little movement due to age, all considered a very lovely patinated and rare example which is highly uncommon in most Philippine arms collections.
Blade thickness: 6mm
Blade length: 46.2cm
Total length: 58.6cm
Provenance: A French private collection, collected in the 19th century.
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