AGE: – Possibly early 19th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Steel & wood
DESCRIPTION: – Philippines Moro Sword Kris | Traditional Filipino Weapon
BLADE LENGTH: – 54.5cm
TOTAL LENGTH:– 70cm
WEIGHT: – 800gms
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Philippines Moro Sword Kris | Traditional Filipino Weapon with possible connection to Admiral Horatio Nelson. We have made endeavors to research into the wording on the hilt of the sword which mentions Admiral Nelson. Either it has been stuck there by someone in the distant past because they thought it had a connection to Lord Nelson and possibly found its way to Australia through a descendant of his. Or, we can surmise that Captain Bligh’s explorations prior to the battle of Copenhagen, in which he served under Admiral Nelson took him to Timor, and that he possibly brought this Moro Kris back with him to England.
We are unable to decipher the writing fully but what we can make out in the style of writing of the day “……… ……. …….. present from the ……… ……… Timorese? to Admiral Lord Nelson”.
The Moros, belong to a group of thirteen Islamized ethno-linguistic people from Mindanao, Palawan and Aalu. The kris as a weapon was held in high esteem, more so than any other type of sword, it became an important indicator of man’s standing and authority within the Filipino Muslim Society. The kris served as the guardian of his culture and manhood, and was his protective talisman. It was considered part of the Moro warriors identity. The higher number of waves meant the more potent the kris was in talismanic power.
The Moro kris/keris with a wavy blade is interpreted as the undulating body of a naga. The naga form represents the snake or mythical dragon. The undulations of the serpent are depicted in the waves of the kris/keris. The naga design has traditionally symbolized the qualities of wisdom, agility of movement, bravery,strength and cunning. The unique design of the kris distributes the weight perfectly for hacking cutting anything it strikes in half.
Philippines Moro Sword Keris | Traditional Filipino Weapon
It is thought that the Moro keris from the Philippines evolved through the influence of Malaysian immigrants who settled in the Philippines several hundred years ago bringing with them the art of metal smelting.
Although the Malay and Indonesian kris was used for both fighting and ceremonial purposes the Moro kris was generally used as a weapon. The Moro’s redefined and developed their own version of the kris tang to a thicker, longer and more rectangular cylindrical version of the Malay and Indonesian pointed tang which could better withstand the stresses of slashing and edge to edge fighting.
Similarly to the Malay and Indonesian keris, the Moro keris was custom made to suit the status and particular wishes of the individual who requested it. The Moro’s believed in the existence of spirits and that they could be enticed to reside within objects and people.
To this end rituals were performed to entice patronage and favor of beneficial spirits by the Moro’s in the Mindanao regions before going into battle to protect him from his enemies.
From the book “Moro swords” written by Robert Cato
The Moro Kris is said to have been from the Gods. The inhabitants of Mindanao were still reeling from the effects of the tumultuous storm that had only just subsided. The deluge had pounded their lands for what seemed to be an eternity of days and nights.
Massive floods swept away everything in their path. The island had become so engorged with water that it actually began to sink. In Cotabato, the waters of the swollen Rio Grande de Mindanao began to recede.
This new day brought forth a few weary residents, who milled about, assessing the damage and making temporary repairs. None of the natives had time to notice the elderly man on the river bank. He had come to pray and to beseech his God for reconciliation on behalf of himself and his people.
An object lingered in the water not being affected by the swift currents of the river and it submerged and laid in the water before him. The object suddenly flew from the water onto the lap of the astonished worshiper. When he had regained his composure, the old man saw that the object was a “sundang” (kris sword).