Twistcore Moro Kampilan
Southern Philippines – Mindanao – Moro people – 19th century
Materials: Wood, Hair, Steel
The ‘kampilan‘ is an iconic sword from the Philippines, especially the Mindanao region in the Southern Philippines. The ‘kamiplan‘ is a traditional fighting sword of the indigenous inhabitants of these areas and was initially used for war and headhunting campaigns. They are generally similar in design, the difference is ethnologically based and varies mostly in the hilts. The most common hilts are the crocodile style hilt, the ‘kakatua’ (cockatoo) and the ‘kalaw‘ (hornbill) type. The latter can be seen on our example here.
As mentioned, this example can be referred to as the ‘kalaw‘ type which represents a hornbill. It was carved out of two pieces of hardwood; a guard and a hilt. The guard is carved in horizontal curved with a complicated pattern on front facing the opponent. The hilt is slender, well balanced and has a splendid carved pommel decorated with curly motifs and was implanted with died tufts of hair. The tradition claims that these hairtufts were made of human hair, yet on this example I would suggest horse or goat hair seem to be used.
Of traditional form, straight with a tapering cutting edge down the entire blade. The spine is flat and narrows down towards the tip which ends in a double protrusion and eventually in a straight tip. The Moro people are known for their outstanding forging techniques which is often shown in the difficult welding structures in their blades. Like this blade, it has a fine twist core pattern along the entire blade, overflowing in a hardened cutting edge. ‘Kampilan‘ blades were made for slashing as can be felt in the balance of this sword approximately 16 centimeters from the base.
A very good ‘kampilan‘ which is highly appreciated in todays collectors market. It shows the best craftsmanship from these regions and has an old provenance implicating this example was originally intended for use at war.
Condition: Very good, the hilt suffered a small crack and has an old repair, some hair tufts lost, good old patinated hilt with an excellent well preserved blade.
Provenance: French private collection, collected in the 19th century
Blade spine thickness: 7mm
Blade length: 71.5cm
Total length: 97.2cm
To give everybody a fair chance to be the first on new arrivals, hit the subscribe button below.