Not only is this sword hilt relatively rare in that it is from the Panay Bukidnon people of central Panay Island in the Visayan group in the Philippines, it is also a fine example. Modelled as a mythical naga-type creature, it has an unusually long, curved shout which is intact and not shortened as other extant examples sometimes are.
The hilt itself has a base of wood and is clad in silver sheet that has been punched and chased with designs. Various spherical protuberances such as those that denote eyes, ears and the headdress have been fashioned by hammering United States silver coins into shape. Some have their year dates still visible – 1909, 1916 and 1919.
The hilt has good wear and patina from age and use. It is a splendid item – rare and sculptural. It stands upright, unaided. There are minor losses to the silver sheet edge around the base only. Otherwise, it is in excellent condition and showing pleasing wear.
Fernando-Amilbangsa, L., Visual Arts of the Sulu Archipelago, Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2005.