Forensic Fashion
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>Costume Studies
>>1902 Moro datu

Subjectdatu chief
Setting: Spanish, American wars, Mindanao-Sulu 1851-1913
Evolution1780 Moro pirate > 1902 Moro datu

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Harper/Peplow 1991 p558
"Spain didn't gain a toehold on Sulu until almost the end of its [colonial Philippine] era.  The impetus for this came in the mid-19th century, when Spain's colonial rivals, France and Britain, showed an interest in the area.  The Spaniards took Jolo in 1851 and declared Sulu a Spanish protectorate, but a lack of 'cooperation' led to another offensive in 1876.  After naval guns had smashed Jolo, the Spanish established a garrison there, though their influence didn't extend far beyond their fort.  In spite of a peace treaty with the Sultan, ... juramentados frequently entered Jolo to kill Spaniards.  Spanish authority over Sulu remained nominal at best."

* Boddington ed. 1981 p150 (Lee A Rutledge, "A jungle war casualty" p132-157)
"Moro society can best be likened to the feudal society of Western Europe during Medieval times. Moros resided in independent, small fortresses called 'cottas' Regional rulers were Sultans. The ruling elites within the forts -- the 'dattos' -- held life-and-death power over their subjects and slaves. Most Moro warfare against American troops was directed by the dattos. They ruled with complete authority, based loosely on Islamic law."

* Murray 2005 p122
"In the spring of 1899, while American troops defeated Aguinaldo, the Moros of Mindanao and Sulu attacked isolated Spanish garrisons.  Cut off from supplies or rescue, these garrisons were wiped out to a man or abandoned.
    ​"'Moroland,' as the region was known, entered a dangerous state of anarchy, with bandits roving the country and slaughtering the last of Spanish colonials.  The Moros were angry to hear Spain claimed to have sold their land to the Americans.  Soon, American planters and soldiers were being attacked and murdered, and General Leonard Wood, governor of the Philippines, sent troops to quell Moro hostilities.
"In 1902 and 1903, expeditions of 1,200 men or more campaigned on Mindanao, with considerable bloodshed.  Although the Americans held the field in pitched battles, they were under almost continual attack and ambush on the narrow trails of dank, malarial swamps, and even in their camps at night."  


* Stone 1934 p66
"The wilder Moros wore hide armor, or jackets of heavy cord, or covered with scales of bark.  Those who could afford a better equipment wore armor of brass, or horn, plates connected by heavy brass mail of peculiar design, probably copied from Spanish models.  The helmets were generally of brass shaped like the 17th-century Spanish casques.  Occasionally they were made of plates of horn connected by mail like the hauberks, or entirely of horn."

* Stone 1934 p298
"Armor made of plates of horn connected by mail were used in the Philippines by the Moros at the time of the American occupation.  At that time they also used helmets made of plates of horn on a leather foundation."

* Wiley 1996 p131
"[S]olid body armor, and one possibly fashioned after the Spanish design, is pakil ... [which] in Mindanao .. was made of carabao horn or elephant hide."

* Arnold 2011 p47
"In pitched battle, the Moros carried a collection of krises, kampilans, and barongs, as well as spears, and wore 'vivid turbans and carabao [water buffalo] armor and even shirts of mail' along with iron or brass helmets.  Thus attired, they entered battle like inspired warriors, but warriors from the feudal age.  One American veteran described them as 'a combination of Moor, Malay, tiger, wildcat, skunk, and nitroglycerine.'"


* Eastern archipelago 1880 p541-542 (describing Sulu)
"The entrance is defended by two strong batteries; and, in allusion to its defences, the warlike disposition of its inhabitants, and their piratical forays, the city has been designated the 'Algiers of the East.'  The 'unconquered Sulus' are considered the bravest warriors of the Indian Seas; they invariably go armed, carrying a formidable spear in one hand, and wearing in their sarongs their inseparable companion, the deadly kris.  According to Mr. Arthur Adams, who visited the islands in H.M.S. Samarang, their countenance is not agreeable; they are fiercer in appearance, more vindictive and more morose, than any other of the Malayan tribes.  Their figures, moreover, are taller, better proportioned, and of a handsomer bearing than is common even among the Malays."

* Boddington ed. 1981 p149 (Lee A Rutledge, "A jungle war casualty" p132-157)
"The Moros stood apart, even in their dress. Typically, the men wore tight-fitting, striped trousers of many colors, and a short coat with gold or silk embroidery, set off by a colorful turban. Invariably, they wore a large edged weapon proudly thrust into a knotted silk girdle about the waist. Some observers noted boys of 10 wearing bolos. The Moro's blade, according to one soldier, 'makes him the proudest, most independent man that walks the earth or rides the sea ... always rubbing the blade or polishing the handle, it is the one article of value that he possesses.'"

* Freeman 1905 online p146-147
"The Sulu Islanders, male and female, dress with far greater taste and ascetic originality than the Christian natives. [...]
​    "The men wear breeches of bright colours, as tight as gymnastsʼ pantaloons, with a large number of buttons up the sides; a kind of waistcoat buttoning up to the throat; a jacket reaching to the hips, with close sleeves, and a turban. A chiefʼs dress has many adornments of trinkets, and is quite elegant, a necessary part of his outfit being the bárong (sword), which apparently he carries constantly."

* Harrold/Legg 1978 p177
"In the Muslim south the costume reflects the Malayan background of the people.  A gathered wrap-over or sarong type of ankle-length skirt is worn with a long-sleeved jacket fastening up the front to a V-neck.  Jacket and skirt are in contrasting colours of blues, pinks and greens ...."

* Zabilka 1963 p68
"The clothing of the Moro, depending on his social status, varies from simple clothing to an elaborate outfit resembling that of the desert Arab. The men often wear close-fitting, dark colored, striped trousers extending well above the waist, together with an embroidered jacket.
    "The turban is in general use and one can determine by its twist the standing of the individual and the tribe to which he belongs. The fez, always of a dark red color, is also in common use."

* Eastern archipelago 1880 p543-544
"On entering the presence, Captain Belcher found the sultan already seated, and surrounded by his chiefs and guards in gorgeous attire, the bright colours of their dresses producing a very gay effect.  The sultan himself was clothed in an embroidered vest of purple, with a rich flowing robe or mantle of green velvet, covered with gold lace; around his waist was a broad band of gold work, fastened in the centre by a large ornamental clasp of gold, set with jewels."

* Arnold 2011 p10-11
"Indeed, a Moro warrior's very appearance and demeanor struck Americans as barbaric.  They carried a variety of edged weapons in addition to the ubiquitous swordlike kris, and they wore turbans, loose jackets, and either ankle-length trousers or silk sarongs.  But it was the colors that caught the eye: loud combinations of solids and stripes in reds and yellows accented by shades of blue, green, and brown.  Every important male Moro had teeth stained black and lips turned bright red, consequences of chewing betel nut.  Their haughty body language, reinforced by betel nuts' stimulative properties, conveyed a message of serious intent. ... Their strange habit of walking beneath the shade of an umbrella made them appear ridiculous in American eyes, but in the Moro view it conferred status. A minor datu had one umbrella bearer, an important datu two, and if the bearer carried a green umbrella, it meant that the datu was a holy man who had completed the pilgrimage to Mecca."


* de Quesada/Walsh 2007 p41-42
"Possibly due to the remoteness of their region and the character of the original inhabitants, the Moros had very few modern firearms, and those that were captured or smuggled in were highly prized.  Spanish arms captured or brought in by deserters from the local militia were the most common source.  An improvised Moro firearms industry was developed, however, which manufactured not only muskets but even cannons; although primitive in their construction, these weapons could still be potent enough in an ambush upon a Spanish column.  Of the multitude of styles and types of small arms made by the Moros, most were matchlocks, with brass or steel tube barrels and stocks of bamboo or some other inferior wood.  A few cartridge weapons were noted as being manufactured; the cartridges, usually of thin brass sheeting and holding a large lead slug usually of between .65 and .75 caliber, were also individually hand-made."

* Arnold 2011 p45-46
"Moros were clearly adroit with edged weapons and apparently less capable with firearms.  Most of their shoulder arms had been obtained from the Spanish in battle, by theft, or by illicit trade.  Their firearms ranged from obsolete muskets to more modern Remingtons and Synder rifles from British North Borneo.  However, both the Remingtons and the Snyders were one generation behind the Krag-Jörgensens carried by the U.S. infantry.  More important, a chronic ammunition shortage limited Moro rifle practice. Consequently, they were not skilled marksmen. ...
​    "Throughout their war against the Americans, Moro warriors tried to increase their firepower.  With the U.S. Navy effectively isolating them from outside supply, they had to rely on the U.S. Army. They willingly took huge risks to steal arms."

* Stone 1932 p265-268
"In the Philippines the stocks were roughly whittled to the shape of an ordinary gunstock.  The barrels were made of gas pipe; and the pan was cut in the wood of the stock.  They were known as cigarette guns, the ubiquitous cigarette being used as the match."

Swords (Barong, Kalis, Kampilan, Panabas)

* Arnold 2011 p46
"Every male adult past the age of childhood wore a blade.  To appear unarmed in public was a sign of disgrace or indicated that one was a slave.  Practice from an early age taught the Moro warrior to wield his edged weapons skillfully."

* Peters 1997 p109
"Single and double-edged swords of various designs are an integral part of the arts and crafts of the Muslims in the south of the Philippines.  In Mindanao and the Sulu Islands in particular, the art of forging blades and shaping handles remains important.  In Sulu, the classical type is the kris, called kalis seko, and the kampilan."

* Draeger/Smith 1969 p186
"Bladed weapons abound, especially in Moroland, in the Sulu Archipelago.  Each weapon is not necessarily accompanied by an organized system of fighting skills but rather is used to suit individual tastes and requirements.  Common Moro knife weapons include: the gunongkalisbarongkampilanlaringgayangbanjalpunalpirautakpanabasbangkcon, and the lahot. ... The bladed-weapon was the core weapon; the kris, bolo, and the balaraw (a dagger-bladed knife), the standard types."


* Demetrio 1991 v1 p112
"They (Moros) fight without giving a quarter.  They cover themselves with shields.  When they attack, they advance, stop, retreat, leap and creep among the cogon.  They are fierce and bold and when dripping with blood, they fight until death in the field of battle."  [reference omitted] 

* Stone 1934 p555
"The Moros use round wooden targets made of a very light wood of considerable thickness.  In Mindanao the shields are also of wood, carved and inlaid with shell and decorated with tufts of hair."

* Benitez/Barbier 2000 p140
"[R]ound wooden shields called taming, such as those manufactured on Basilan Island and in the Sulu archipelago, originated with Muslim traders and settlers."


* Stone 1934 p

* van Zonneveld 2001 p


* Stone 1934 p564
"SIMBILAN, BAGSACAY.  A wooden javelin about half an inch in diameter, used by the Sulu Moros.  It is said that they could throw as many as four at once."  [reference omitted]


* Steel and magic 2020  p190
"Both boys -- before they were allowed to carry longer blades -- and women carried this small thrusting dagger for self-protection.  According to a 1900 news report from The Democrat and Chronicle, the gunong caused death and family feuds when used in children's quarrels.  It later also became popular amongst adult men as a result of restrictions placed on the public carrying of blades by the United States. The gunong had the advantage of being easier to conceal than the larger Moro blades."

* Judkins online 2020-08-10 (citing "National Weapon, in One Form Another, Owned by Every Man, Woman and Child," Democrat and Chronicle, [October 28th, 1900. Page 10])
"Very similar in design to the kris is the terciada. One hardly ever finds a Moro child with any pretension to family and breeding who isn’t the proud possessor of one of these diminutive but deadly weapons. Occasionally they come into play in childish quarrels and the disadvantage of arming an irresponsible human with a lethal implement is sufficiently attested in the subsequent funeral, not to mention the feud that may result. The woman of the better classes takes the same pride in her punal de kris as does her more civilized sister in stylish apparel. Seldom is this weapon more than a foot long, and usually it is not more than seven or eight inches, but the blade is well pointed and sharpened. In shape it is an exact replica of the kris on a small scale: sometimes even more ornate in inlaid device. A punal de kris’ beaten blade, handle and scabbard from solid silver is no uncommon thing, and I have heard of punals beaten from gold."