Sanduko

Sanduko

Code IN58

An unusual sanduko dagger, a type of tenegre, from Visayas, Northern Philippines. This knife most likely is from the southern Philippines in the 20th Century, but the hilt is made in a style reminiscent of knives from Albacete (Spain) or the Canary Islands. The blade shows light pitting and there is some damage to the horn. There is no sheath. 

This knife is quite a bit smaller than the more commonly seen sanduko sword which is roughly twice the length. The overall length is 14¾ inches (37.5 cm) with a weight of 13½ ounces (384 grams). The length of the blade is 9¼ inches (23.6 cm) long and 0.15 inch (0.37 cm) in greatest thickness. The blade has a clipped point with false upper edge. The word “sanduko” (Baw-og) means “belly” and this is evident in the shape of the blade. The profile of the blade features a strong upswept tip and a slight recurve on the edge side. The top of the blade has an edge from the tip for roughly half the length of the blade. The blade is top heavy.

The brass guard, with reverse immature quillions, is reminiscent of European-style guards. 

The hilt, however, is not at all typical of sanduko. The style of this hilt is typically found on knives from Albacete, Spain. However, the hilt is larger than typical Albacete knives and well suited to the size and heft of this blade. The very fine hilt features stacked brass, carved bone, and a dark bone pinned in place. Overall, it is barrel shaped.  The hilt has brass ferrules at either end with a central grip portion composed of alternating discs of decorated brass and bone with panels of what appear to be dark water buffalo horn at the center.  The cross section of the hilt is mostly round, but rises to a low ridge on the edge side. A 'four leaf' tang button finishes the end of the hilt. 

The design suggests a hybrid, made in either Philippines or Spain, that composes a sanduko blade with the Albacete hilt. The blade and hilt appear to be of similar age so possibly were created together, perhaps as a special order for a Spanish sailor visiting the Philippines. Or possibly the sailor returned to Spain with a sanduko and chose to have the hilt replaced.

Interesting item with a mysterious history!