Mindanao sundang kris

length: 28 1/2"
blade: 23"
blade width: 1 13/16"
grip: 5 1/2"
width at blade base: 4 5/8"

This sundang sword kris was originally published on my "Whatsit" page of items to be identified. I received answers from two generous and knowledgable fellow collectors, who's informational debt I'm in. I've left the original "Whatsit" entry and comments listed here as an insightful exercise for the reader/seeker. The photographs have been updated since the original publication.

original whatsit note - I'm going to immediately throw myself upon the mercy of the Malaysian experts and admit that I know diddly-squat about kris. This one's massive. Looks like glue remains on the pommel end, I presume there was a silver cap at one time. The white gunk in between the silver bands on the handle can be picked off to reveal the wood underneath - I don't know if this gunk was part of the original or was a repair attempt helping to fill in the gouge on the thumb-side of the grip.

note received 3/20/01 from Ian Greaves:
"Hi Hal: Just caught up with your mystery kris on your web site. Looks to me like a classical Moro kris, most likely from the southern part of Mindanao or Sulu, although similar forms are found throughout the Malay archipelago. The upturned blade tip is typical, though, of some of the heavy Moro kris. The blade looks like it is in reasonable shape apart from some light surface rust, no knicks or signs of heavy sharpening, but the hilt is a mess. The octagonal pommel almost certainly had plates of pearl or ivory at one time, and was probably of reasonable quality because the chiseled blade decoration is somewhat unusual on Moro weapons, except on better quality pieces."

note received 4/07/01 from Mike Dandaneau:
"you've got a Moro war/battle kris from southern Mindanao, late 1800's to mid 1900's, definitely of better than average quality, and most likely on this piece, the handle was originally covered with thin mother-of-pearl slabs, each glued and lightly pinned, also ornately engraved.(mine has enough remaining segments that I'm trying to re-engrave replacements in a restoration attempt) The blade pattern may be actually a type of makers mark or associated with a certain area or sect....I have one exactly like it and two other slightly smaller and more elaborate with very similar blade patterns.( The markings also make me think maybe early to mid 1900's, but not sure yet) I have a friend in the Philippines trying to track down more for me, but he's hesitant, saying non-Muslim merchants have a bad habit of not returning from the area, even today.........the "gunky" area was probably wrapped in cording for a secure battle grip...this may be the underlying glue, but looks like someone tried to restore it without success...appears too "fresh" to go with the rest of the piece from the photo."

Thanks, guys!