Moro Barong

pp18 moro barong; seller image

Code:  PP18

A Moro barong sword c. early-20th C.  This one measures 20 ½ inches in total length.  It was originally brought to the US by a soldier returning from WWII who obtained the sword in a Phillipine village.

The Barong is one of the classic short swords used by Moro warriors who prized it for its ability to sever an arm or leg with a single blow. While it can be found in Mindanao, North Borneo and other Moro islands, the Barong is the unique national weapon of the Tausugs Moros of the Sulu archipelago.  The barong is the only knife of purely Moro origin, not having evolved from the designs of other tribes or known in war or trade.  The Moro people are tenacious when it comes to their ancient traditions, which they practice as long as they live.  Traditionally, the barong is an essential part of Moro attire, especially the warriors of the Tausug, Samal and Yakan in the Sulu Archipelago.

Barongs feature distinctive leaf shaped, well balanced blades that are quite heavy at the back and measure up to 18" long by 3" wide. In the Tausug dialect, called Bahasa Sug, the blade is called "tiuwang". Barongs have no guard, and often come with elaborate hilts which anchor the heavy sword in the hand and help to resist centrifugal forces when making a hard chopping or slashing stroke. The hilt is referred to as a "puhan".  The brass fitting at the base of the hilt is called a "punto".  The pommel of this barong features a cockatoo (kakatua) shape.   The flat wooden sheath (tagub) is made of two pieces of wood of the same type as the hilt.

The Moros are known to be fierce warriors and have developed a wide range of efficient weapons.  There is a lot of commonality between the Moro edged weapons and the rest of the Malay world although they have their own particularities.  The Barong, for example, is analogous in role to the Indonesian “Golok”.

Read more about the Moro.