Moro Datu Barong
Moro people – Southern Philippines – 19th century
Materials: Silver, Steel, Horn (Bubalis Arneé)
The ‘Barong‘ or ‘Barung‘ is a type of edged knife associated with the Moro people in the Southern Philippines. It is known more specifically among the Tausug, Same Bajau and Yakan groups within the Southern regions of the Philippines. The ‘Barong‘ is usually leaf-shaped and single edged, some exceptions can be seen as is the case with our example shown here. They vary in size and style depending on region and the owner’s status. Many blades are locally forged and are of high quality with complicated forging designs such as pattern welding or laminated steel blades. Occasionally Chinese import-blades show up.
Most ‘Barong‘ have two type of hilts, both resembling a stylistic version of a cockatoo. The ‘Datu‘ and other higher class Barong often have a pronounced cockatoo shaped hilt made of precious materials such as horn or ivory and are decorated with silver or other precious metals. Our example here once belonged to a high class Moro hence the fine carved horn pommel and silver wire braided hilt. The ferrule is entirely of silver and shows a typical Moro design with conical rings on both sides.
In traditional leaf shaped form, yet with a double cutting edge which is rather unusual. The blade is quite longer than average and shows an acid etched faux pattern welding on top of true pattern welding which can be seen all over the blade. The edges are plain and presented in a higher polish which makes the inner part stand out terrifically. The blade was secured into the hilt by a strong resin which holds the blade in place.
Condition: Excellent, minor ware on the blade and coming with a great patina. No scabbard.
Blade spine thickness: 5mm
Blade length: 49.9cm
Total length: 72cm
Provenance: A French private collection, collected in the 19th century
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