The barong may be inlaid or etched with Arabic phrases such as “There is no god but Allah”. The use of it may also be distinguished through its pommel, simple pommels are often intended for use in battle while elaborately stylized ones are for ceremonial use or used as a sign of status.
This leaf-shaped blade knife is called the barong by the Tausug. The blade has a dual purpose of being both used by warriors who also work on the land as farmers. It can be used for defense and may also be used to harvest agricultural materials, including rice or fruits. This barong has a wooden hilt designed with a silver bolster hammered into the wood. The pummel is reminiscent of a bird’s crest, which is a common theme for many metal implements in the south. This barong comes with an equally highly decorated scabbard. In the olden days, the highly decorative and ornamental barong is more common among those who hold an official title or position among the community while the rest will rely on simple leaf-shaped blades.
Source: “Knife (Barong) with Inscriptions.” Mapping Philippine Material Culture. Accessed September 28, 2021. https://philippinestudies.uk/mapping/items/show/2959.
Image Source: Nayong Pilipino Foundation, Barong from the Tausug (Sulu Archipelago), Digital Archival Photo, 4,272 x 2,848 pixels., NPF- Ethnographic Collection
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