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Author Topic:   What constitutes a "good Keris Part two
VANDOO
Senior Member
posted 06-03-2001 00:38     Click Here to See the Profile for VANDOO   Click Here to Email VANDOO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
THIS TOPIC IS WEAVING TOGETHER NICELY EVEN IF WE GET ON A WILD THREAD OR MISS A STICH HERE AND THERE. I THINK THE SOCIETY MUST ADAPT TO SURVIVE AND AS THIS TAKES PLACE THE BELIEFS AND ARTEFACTS MAY CHANGE OF NECESSETY OR BY MISCHANCE. IN THE CASE OF THE MORO KRISS IT WAS NECESSITY THAT CAUSED IT TO EVOLVE THE CURRENT WEAPON, IF IT WAS A KRISS TYPE DAGGER IT COULDN'T DO THE JOB AGAINST THE NEW ENEMY. SOME LEADER OR WARRIOR PROBABLY WAS FAR SEEING ENOUGH TO ADAPT THIER KRISS TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM, THRU STUDIEING THE ENEMYS WEAPONS AND FIGHTING STYLE. I HAVE A KRISS DAGGER THAT HAS A STEEL BLADE AND IS MADE IN THE SAME WAY AS A REGULAR KRISS AND HAS SOME AGE. I WAS TOLD THAT AT SOME POINT SOME KRISS WERE MADE THIS WAY BECAUSE THE METEOR IRON BLADES WERE EAISLY BROKEN BY THE EUROPEANS WITH BELAYING PINS AND STEEL WEAPONS IN FIGHTS ON SHIPS, IF TRUE THAT WOULD BE ANOTHER ADAPTATION TO KEEP THE WEAPON EFFECTIVE. THE BELIEFS OF A SOCIETY CAN CHANGE A WEAPON INTO A TAILSMAN OR A DECORATIVE SIGN OF STATUS AND MANY RULES AND RITUALS CAN BE INCORPORATED INTO THE SYSTEM. BUT IN TIME OF WAR, WITH A CHANCE OF LOSEING THE SOCIETY WILL CHANGE LOTS OF ITS CEREMONY TO ADAPT AND SURVIVE. AND THE DECORATION WILL ONCE AGAIN EVOLVE INTO A WEAPON CAPABLE OF DEALING WITH THE THREAT OR THE SOCIETY WILL LOSE AND HAVE SOME OTHER GROUP IMPOSE ITS BELIEFS AND CUSTOMS ON IT. THE BELIEFS AND LORE (STORIES),AND TRADITIONS OF THE SOCIETY GIVE THE KRISS ITS IMPORTANCE IN THE SOCIETYS WHERE IT IS FOUND AS MUCH AS THE WAY IT IS MADE. IT ALSO INFLUENCES THE WAY IT IS MADE AND TREATED (WITH RESPECT ) OR AS WITH COMMON KNIVES JUST A TOOL. INDONESIA, MALAYSIA AND PHILIPPINE MORO KRISS ARE ALL FROM THE SAME ROOTS. AT LEAST THATS MY THOUGHTS ON IT.

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wong desa
Senior Member
posted 06-10-2001 19:07     Click Here to See the Profile for wong desa   Click Here to Email wong desa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A week has now passed since the previous post to this thread.Neither this previous post (by Vandoo),or any post prior to this ,expressed disagreement with the ideas which I put forward on what a keris is.
In essence,I proposed that a keris can be regarded as an object with both primary and secondary characteristics.Depending upon time and geographic point of origin,and taking into account percieved elements of construction,a keris can be regarded as,and thus evaluated as, weapon,work of art,symbol of authority,talisman,or,in fact ,any number of different types of object,singularly,or in combination,provided always that the nomination of grounds for evaluation can be logically supported,and that the origin of the object under discussion is within its cultural tradition.

As there has been no overt disagreement with my proposal during the last six days,I can only assume that there is more or less general agreement .
I therefore feel free to move towards a discussion of what is meant by the phrase,and concept,"origin within the cultural tradition of a keris bearing society".
To re-phrase this as simply as I can,what I mean is that a keris is not a keris unless it was made in a way that is in accord with the traditions attached to the making of keris,within the societies which regard the keris as a part of their cultural heritage.The concept of "tradition"should be taken to encompass all those things relating to production methods,reasons for production,and aesthetics associated with the object and the culture.

Thus,a keris made by a Balinese pandai keris,living in Paris,and using traditional Balinese methods and aesthetics ,can be regarded as a keris.
A keris made by a Frenchman,living in Paris,and trained in traditional Balinese methods and aesthetics,which he applies to the production of a keris,made in Paris,can be regarded as a keris.
However,a keris like object which has been produced by methods,and/or complies with aesthetic standards which are not recognised within those societies which regard the keris as a part of their cultural heritage,is not a keris.

If this definition is accepted,it effectively disqualifies as keris all those plain steel " keris" made in Birmingham and Sheffield ,around 1900,for the Malay market .It also disqualifies those "keris"of remarkably inferior quality which have swamped the South East Asian tourist market over the last 20 years or so.Keris like objects made by custom knife makers are automatically excluded from consideration as keris.I have no doubt that it is possible to identify other types of "keris" that should be removed from consideration as such.

Similarly,acceptance of this definition means that it is legitimate to consider all keris which have been made by traditional methods,and in accord with the relevant culture`s aesthetics,as true keris.
It remains only to evaluate such a keris in accord with its percieved function.

But first,I would like to pursue the question of what we ought not to regard as a true keris,worthy of evaluation as such.

So---the question is:

What should be regarded as a falsification of the object that we know as a keris?

Anybody got any ideas on this one?

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VANDOO
Senior Member
posted 06-11-2001 01:08     Click Here to See the Profile for VANDOO   Click Here to Email VANDOO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
YIKES!!!! AND I THOUGHT THE LAST QUESTION WAS COMPLICATED. I CAN SAY WITH CONVICTION THAT ALL MASS PRODUCED MACHINE MADE KNIVES CALLED KERIS, KRISS OR KRIS ARE NOT TO BE CONSIDERED. IT THEN BECOMES LESS CLEAR, IT MIGHT BE CONSIDERED THE SAME AS ASKING DIFFERENT RELIGIONS WHICH ONE FOLLOWS THE TRUE GOD. AS MANY OF THE TECKNIQUES AND TRADITIONS ARE LIKELY TO BE SECRET. THERE ARE BOUND TO BE THOSE WHO SAY THE ONLY TRUE KRISS IS ONE FROM JAVA (OR SOMEWHERE ELSE) BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE KNOWS THE PROPER RITUAL TO PREFORM TO MAKE THE KRISS WHOLE OR TO IMBU IT WITH A SPIRIT. THERE WILL BE THE LESS TRADITIONAL WHO WILL SAY IF IT IS MADE LIKE A KRISS AND HAS ALL THE PROPER PARTS, METEOR IRON ECT. IT IS A KRISS NO MATER WHO MADE IT OR IF OLD TRADITIONAL METHODS WERE USED OR NOT. INDEED NEW METHODS MAY BE FOUND TO MAKE ALL KINDS OF WEAPONS AND THE PROPERTIES OF MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF WEAPONS WILL COMBINE TO PRODUCE SIMILAR WEAPONS THAT WON'T FIT THE KRISS TYPE. THE SO CALLED PROTO KRISS WAS ONE PIECE OF IRON, BUT ACTUALY THE REAL PROTO KRISS WAS PROBABLY MADE OF WOOD, BONE OR STONE AND EVOLVED INTO WHAT IT IS TODAY. HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF THE EVOLUTION CONTINUES, THE TRADITIONS OF THE PAST ARE WHAT WE USE TO IDENTIFY A KRISS AND SAY WHAT TYPE IT IS ECT. WHAT IF A NOTED MAKER OF THE KRISS DECIDED TO USE THE PROPER RITUALS AND MATERIALS AND TECKNIQUE TO MAKE A KRISS THAT WAS IN RING FORM AND WAS A PROJECTILE WEAPON AND CALLED IT A FLYING KRISS OR SOME SUCH? WOULD THAT BE A LEGIMATE EVOLUTION OF A KRISS IF HE COULD PROVE A NEED FOR IT IN THE SOCIETY? PERHAPS THE ENEMY WAS A FASTER RUNNER AND WOULD NOT STAND AND FIGHT. I WENT A LITTLE FAR OUT ON THAT BUT IT IS TO PROVOKE THOUGHT IN SEVERAL DIRECTIONS. one SHOULD THE KRISS BE ALLOWED TO EVOLVE OR MUST IT ALWAYS AND FOREVER MEET THE SAME CRITERIA? two can a society who dosen't know the secret teck. and ritual make a real kriss? (such as the moro kriss it is not likely that they had a person with all the secret knowlege and teck. in the phillipines. so they can't have made a kriss unless they brought someone over with the knowlege.did they have that close a association with the kriss produceing countrys and would they have allowed that secret teck. and knowlege to be taught? or did the moro's do the best they could with the knowlege they had?. three if one of our best knifemakers uses his damascus teck. to make the most beautiful kriss you have ever seen with all the proper parts but no cultural tradition or rituals can it be a kriss? or if Mr Hibben makes a fantasy kriss as outrageous as possible but uses the proper teck. and ritual what then? ( note i am not critisizeing Mr Hibben by saying outrageous) well time to sit back and watch the fur fly it should be very interesting!

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Naga Sasra
Senior Member
posted 06-12-2001 01:50     Click Here to See the Profile for Naga Sasra   Click Here to Email Naga Sasra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After reading the last postings, I still seem to be unable to get away from the question regarding the Moro Philippine keris and the keris Panjang. I will therefore be seeking the wrath of other contributors for revisiting the subject once again.

Wong desa gave us a very accurate run down on the history of the Philippine archipelago with logical assumptions, I do not think that this could be disputed, I for one would not, only add to it and reemphasize my original train of thought, which was that we "for definition purposes would leave out the weaponry of the Philippines", as we cannot apply the same standards in appraising a keris from the Philippines as we would apply to a keris from Central Jawa. As wong desa so nicely put it, we are considering objects which have a different nature, but a similar form, yet both are still keris.

It is not that I want to dismiss Philipino swords as a keris variant, but lets examine the blade and its construction.
The keris sundang or keris suluk do not qualify as a stabbing/thrusting weapon because of its mere design as a cut and slash weapon.

The hilt suggest that the design was for cut and slash, or more specifically the presence of an extra connection between the hilt and the blade, namely one or more metal bands or straps connecting to the upper part of the blade, a design that was to strenghten the joint between the hilt and the blade, clearly made so that the sword could be swung for cuts and slash without the fear of having the handle separating from the blade. To the best of my knowledge this design is found nowhere else in a keris bearing society.

It was most likely the Buginese who introduced the keris to the Philippines, the Philipinos then created a weapon that fit their lifestyle better, the result a long and hefty broadsword, unlike anything else in South-East Asia, did that mean that they were applying traditional methods normally attached to the making of a keris, I think not, because if they would, I again would suggest that they could have modified one or more designs of dapur pedang as a recognized tosan aji choice.

It was mentioned by vandoo that, what we know as the Moro keris evolved as the keris blades were easily broken by the Europeans. Had the Philipinos access to the techniques of the traditional way of keris making, then they would have used warrior blades and tembus waja blades or armor piercing blades, they did not.

They (the Philipinos) established their own keris tradition, a tradition that is worlds removed from the Javanese tradition of making keris with its infinitely complex and sophisticated symbolism.

As for the Keris Panjang, I believe there is no doubt, it was designed as a stabbing and thrusting variation of keris lurus for the main purpose as weapon of executions, a secondary use as a symbol of authority.

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wong desa
Senior Member
posted 06-12-2001 19:05     Click Here to See the Profile for wong desa   Click Here to Email wong desa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mr.Vandoo,I like your style!I really doo!
Your post of 10 June demonstrates what discussion is all about.
Jump in.Say something.You don`t have to be expert in the subject.All you`ve got to have is an opinion,and the guts to get up and air it.
This is exactly what you`ve done,and it is of at least equal value as all the learned pontification on the meaning of the keris.Your remarks have the capacity to generate further discussion,and as I understand it,this is supposed to be a discussion group.Let`s talk--rather than sit back and debate in solitary confinement.
I wish there were more people prepared to air their opinions.

Now,you have raised several questions:

"---the only true keris is one from Java---"
No.Many societies have the keris as a part of their cultural tradition.
It is true that these societies did not,and could not ,inherit all of the traditions embodied in the keris in Jawa,however since its introduction into these other societies these societies have developed their own traditions surrounding the keris.

"---no one else knows the proper ritual---"
In most cases no ritual is required in the manfacture of a keris.

"---make the keris whole or embue it with a spirit---"
The magical /mystical thing does not apply to the vast bulk of keris.

"---meteor iron etc.---"
The overwhelming majority of keris do not carry meteoritic material.

"---if old traditional methods were used or not---'
Throughout the history of the keris ,those who have made them have used the latest technology and techniques to do so.Thus,the tradition of technology and technique,in respect of the keris is one of continuous improvement(sound familiar?who has to live with Total Quality?).However,the constant is that the process of manufacture is a hands on process.The applicable tradition does not have a place where it can accomodate a drop forge.
So,there is no requirement for the technique to be "old",ie.,"old fashioned",there is only a requirement for it to comply with the tradition of hands on work.
Since one of the characteristics is that of an art work,this requirement ,in,and of itself demands hand work.

"---the so called proto keris---was probably made of wood,bone or stone---"
Suggest you read Alan Maisey`s "Origin of the Keris and its Development to the 14th. Century"
available on this site.

"---noted maker of the keris decided ---to make a keris that was in ring form---"
Since the pakems do not provide for a keris in the form of a ring,this would be "diluar pakem",or "outside the parameters".Judged by the strictest standards it would not be a keris.
It is important to understand that when a pandai keris,or empu sets out to make a keris,he is not free to follow his own wims and fancies.He is required to work within the established parameters.The two exceptions previously noted,the Moro keris,and the Keris Panjang,may be long,and in one case heavy,but they still bear the form of a true keris,by virtue of the fact that their ricikan can be aligned with the forms set down in the pakems,only the interpretations differ.

"---should the keris be allowed to evolve---?"
The keris has evolved.Whether or not it may still evolve is probably open to debate.My own opinion is that since one of its characteristics is that of an art work,yes,it can continue evolution in this dimension,as art is still relevant in its parent societies.However,as it exists in some of its other aspects,future evolution is not possible by virtue of the fact that its function as ,for example,weapon,is no longer relevant in that society.Its function as clan totem is buried in history,thus further development along this line is a total impossibility.

"---can a society which does not know the secret teck.(technique &technology) and ritual make a real keris---?"
We are not only concerned with technique,technology and ritual ,however,without the relevant technique and technology,Icannot envisage how a keris could be made,and of course,ritual is not essential.

"---unless they brought someone over with the knowledge---"
Consideration of the probabilities attached to this proposition indicates that this could certainly have occurred.
However,let us hypothesize that technique and technology were not imported with the object.I am sure that a competant smith could analyse the method of production of a keris blade.If he had an example,he could copy it.He may not have known what he was producing,or why, apart from the fact that he had been ordered to,but he would produce something that looked pretty much like a keris.From that point,in that society ,the object that the smith produced would become a keris,and thus the foundations of keris tradition in that society would have been laid.This object evolved within the adoptive society in accordance with the needs of that society,and over a period of hundreds of years a tradition evolved with it.Not quite the same tradition as in other places,but certainly sharing a number of common elements.

"---did they have that close association with the keris producing countries---?"
Please read my posts of 1st.& 2nd.June.

"---if one of our best knifemakers uses his damascus teck.to make the most beautiful keris you have ever seen with all the proper parts but no cultural tradition or rituals can it be a keris---?"
The technology and technique of damascus manufacture is different to that which is used in the manufacture of a keris.
The proposed requirement is for the manufacture to encompass "---all those things relating to production methods,reasons for production,and aesthetics associated with the object and the culture."
Provided the aforementioned knifemaker worked with hand tools,used the relevant techniques and technology,and produced an object that complied with the relevant aesthetics ,in my opinion,he would have made a keris.How he could do this without recieving tuition in the art of the keris,and in the absence an understanding of the keris is beyond my imagination.However,anything is possible,its just that its not always probable.

"---a fantasy keris as outrageous as possible but uses proper teck.and ritual---"
Contradiction in terms.Such an object would clearly not be a keris because it failed to comply with the relevant aesthetics.

The question I posed was directed at falsification of a keris.Fakes,frauds,forgeries,alterations,attempts to decieve.However,the above exercise was well worthwhile,because it has assisted in providing part of the answer to my previous question-"what is a keris?"

Now,who`s got ideas on fraud ,forgery and the ripping-off of unwary keris buyers?

********************

I was about to post the above,and--hey presto!NagaSasra appears!
More practice on the key board.
Thank you for your endorsement NagaSasra.

I don`t really have a problem with including Moro keris and keris panjang along with true keris.
What I propose is that all keris should be evaluated in accordance with their type.
It would be ludicrous to evaluate a Bugis keris ,using the same standards as we would use for a Solo keris made in 1930.
Similarly ,to evaluate an old Javanese keris which was in compliance with a Mataram classification,in accordance with the same standards that we would apply to a Solo keris from 1930,would be equally ridiculous.
So,we evaluate each type of keris in accordance with standards which apply to that keris alone.
This way ,no keris is excluded.
I know that Moro keris are designed to be used in a different way to true keris,but so were keris Buda.We can hardly exclude them ,as they are the ancestors of the family.

I don`t think that Buginese introduced the keris to the Philippines.I used to think thus,on the basis that the Buginese were(are) great seafarers,however,around the 1340`s Mojopahit was collecting tribute from Sulu ,as well as Manila,Seram,Brunei,Ende,Sumbawa,Timor,Ternate,Banda,Gowa,and Makassar.In my opinion,it is more likely that the keris entered all of these areas at about the same time,as tribute exchange(see my earlier post).

I think Mr.Vandoo was paraphrasing Gardner,or maybe Hill ,when he was talking about belaying pins(avast there me `earties-shades of Long John Silver) ,and such.Years since I read that stuff,but I`m sure its in there somewhere.If this is so,we`re looking at probably late 19th.,early 20th.,century.Not the Spanish in the Philippines.I think that we can put Moro keris development down to the simple fact that the way in which a true keris was used was not a real lot of good against face to face confrontation with cutlasses and rapiers.Bit like taking a knife to a gun-fight.Also,Moros are no way Javanese.Different peoples with different ethics.But coming back to belayin` pins and keris.I`ve always reckoned there was a strong touch of B.S.in that story.The keris is essentially a laminated blade,heat treated for only part of its length.Such a blade will just about bend into a circle before it ever breaks.I reckon we were being fed a bit of Empire Building Propaganda.A belaying pin might have bent the tang of a blade,but it should not have been able to break it.

One thing is true:as NagaSasra says-"They(thePhilippinos)established their own tradition,a tradition that is worlds removed from theJavanese tradition---" .I will add:as did all other societies which adopted the keris from the Javanese.

All this has been real good stuff,but we`re no closer to the fakes.

Fake-forgery-imitation-counterfeit-fraud-deception -hoodwink-rip-off.
We are still to address these concepts.

Any ideas?

.

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Rick
EEWRS Staff
posted 06-13-2001 13:24     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Fake-forgery-imitation-counterfeit-fraud-deception -hoodwink-rip-off.
We are still to address these concepts."

What constitutes these terms within our context?

A "New Madura" Keris manufactured in the proper way and being of a traditional design does not qualify as *fake-forgery* unless intentionally misrepresented as an antique *deception*.

The flat steel etched blade Keris,with a highly carved hilt and scabbard that we see so many of represented as being from Bali is an *imitation* in that it is not hand forged.

A couple of thoughts anyway....

[This message has been edited by Rick (edited 06-13-2001).]

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VANDOO
Senior Member
posted 06-13-2001 17:49     Click Here to See the Profile for VANDOO   Click Here to Email VANDOO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NEVER HAVING ACTUALLY USED A KERIS I HAD ALWAYS THOUGHT THEM TO BE FRAGILE AND EASILY BROKEN OR BENT I HAVE HAD SOME THAT THE TIP WAS BENT AND I WAS ABLE TO STRAIGHTEN IT EASILY. THAT MADE ME BELIEVE THE OLD STORY ABOUT THE KRISS DAGGER AND THE BELAYING PIN. I KNOW IF IT WAS A MORO KRISS THE BELAYING PIN SHOULD BE THROWN THEN RUN ! I AM REALLY ENJOYING THIS DISCUSSION AND LEARNING AND THAT IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT. I DIDN'T READ THE ARTICLE ON PROTO KRISS EVOLVING FROM STONE WOOD OR BONE BUT PLAN TO. MOST ALL OUR WEAPONS IN ALL SOCIETYS EVOLVED FROM THOSE SAME ITEMS ALL OVER THE WORLD BUT THERE IS NOT MUCH IMPORTANCE ATTACHED TO THOSE BEGINNINGS WE TEND TO FOCUS ON THE GOLDEN AGE OF ANY SOCIETY, EXAMPLE HAS ANYBODY SEEN ANYTHING ON EGYPT'S STONE AGE? TO MOVE ON TO FAKES AND FORGERIES I ENDORSE THE FACT THAT A TRUE KRISS SHOULD BE HAND MADE AND NOT MACHINE MADE, CRAFTSMANSHIP IS A NECESSARY PART OF THE PROCESS OF MAKING A KRISS AND NO TWO KRISS MADE BY THAT PROCESS WILL BE ALIKE. ONE THING THAT BOTHERS ME ABOUT MANY OF THE KRISS I HAVE SEEN RECENTLY IS THE PROLIFERATION OF ALL THESE BLADES WITH DRAGONS HEADS AND BODIES IN GOLD DOWN THE BLADES, LIONS, ELEPHANTS,GODS, AND OTHER ASSORTED THINGS ON THE BLADES. ARE THESE SOMETHING THAT HAS EXISTED FOR YEARS THAT I WAS UNAWARE OF OR ARE THEY AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE DIFFERENT KRISS SO THE COLLECTORS WILL SAY I DON'T HAVE ONE OF THOSE AND BUY IT? KIND OF LIKE THE DREADED BEANIE BABY SALES TECHNIQUE WE WILL KNOW FOR SURE WHEN WE SEE THIS KRISS HAS BEEN RETIRED SO BUY IT NOW!!! I WAS ALSO CURIOUS ABOUT THESE BLADES IN CHICKEN FEATHER PARMOR IS THAT LEGIMATE AND IF SO HOW LONG HAS THE TECHNIQUE BEEN AROUND. I HAVE BOUGHT SEVERAL KRISS ON EBAY AND THEY ALWAYS SAY IT HAS A OLD BLADE THAT HAS RECENTLY BEEN CLEANED AND THE FITTINGS ARE MORE RECENT. THE ONES I HAVE RECEIVED HAVE BEEN WELL MADE IN MY INEXPERT OPINION, AND THE PRICE WAS SATISFACTORY, BUT I CONSIDER THEM AS NEWLY MADE KRISS FOR THE TOURIST OR COLLECTOR. WHEN I HOLD SUCH A KRISS I MAY ADMIRE THE WORKMANSHIP AND BEAUTY BUT I MISS THE FEELING OF HISTORY (IF THIS KRISS COULD TALK THINK OF THE TALES IT COULD TELL)PERHAPS I HAVE TOO MUCH IMAGINATION BUT I DO GET A SENSE OF RESPECT FOR A WEAPON THAT HAS OBVIOUSLY PLAYED A PART IN THE HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE WHO MADE IT. ARE THERE ANY FAMOUS KRISS IN THE MUSEUMS OF INDONESIA WITH THEIR PARTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY RECORDED. THE KRISS CARRIED BY THE ROYAL FAMILY IN BALI IN PROTEST AGAINST THE DUTCH WHEN THEY WERE ALL GUNNED DOWN COMES TO MIND, WHERE ARE THEY NOW. THE NEWLY MADE KRISS HAS NONE OF THIS, IT HAS THE NAME OF ITS MAKER AND YOU CAN'T GET THAT ON EBAY, SO ALL YOU CAN SAY OF SUCH A KRISS IS ITS WELL MADE AND IT IS IN MY COLLECTION IT IS A OBJECT D' ART AS IT HAS NO OTHER FUNCTION OR HISTORY IN OUR SOCIETY. TO BE A ARTEFACT IT NEEDS TO ACTUALLY BE USED BY THE PEOPLE WHO MADE IT AND ACQUIRE THAT HISTORY IF IT NEVER BELONGED TO ANYONE IN THAT SOCIETY EXCEPT THE DEALER WHO SOLD IT. ITS NOT A ARTEFACT.

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john
Senior Member
posted 06-14-2001 02:06     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Everybody,

I have been following this great discussion since March this year and have found it to be very interesting, informative, educational, provocative and stimulating.

My interest in keris only started late last year and being so new, I've felt I'm not quite ready to join the discussion yet but anyway I'm in. My interest started in quite an unusual manner; as a result of a 'challenge'. To keep the story as short as possible, I was told a certain keris was very 'powerful' and was challenged to step on it if I dared. I did (I was curious, so I took the risk) and a few most unusual things did happen that I told myself, I'll never take up such a challenge again...I'm an ethnic Chinese and the challengers were 2 Madurese. They have so much reverence for the keris that when I stepped on it, I could see from their faces as if I'm stepping on their 'grandfather'. Wow, what a scare, but still I thought the challenge was worth it...to see something for myself.

This thread has been most interesting and although the main theme is about what constitute a 'good blade', everybody have talked/discussed a little of everything, so I have the opportunity of picking on things/issues I'm most interested in. But my special appreciations to Iwan and Dave for having been so unselfishly providing answers and constructive debates and the rest for some very interesting questions...Please don't stop.

Back to a question Iwan asked, What is a keris? I have a question. How did the word 'keris' come about? Why was a keris called a keris? Was it derived from any sanskrit root source or anything? And which is the earliest text that has the word 'keris'? Why the intrinsic meaning of the word? I hope someone would enlighten.

On the subject of 'Fakes-Forgery-Imitation....', my view is this; As long as a keris is made within the laid down parameters of a keris, it is a keris. But a fake, forgery etc is a replica, imitation, or a misrepresentation of an actual authentic piece/antique as Rick has intimated.

[This message has been edited by john (edited 06-15-2001).]

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wong desa
Senior Member
posted 06-14-2001 16:59     Click Here to See the Profile for wong desa   Click Here to Email wong desa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I love it! I love it! I love it!

Thoughtful opinions,intelligent questions by people who are prepared to think!!!

This is great stuff!

A number of interesting points have been raised,but just for the moment I`d prefer not to comment on these,in the hope that we will get a few more opinions offered.However,there is one really beautiful question that I just can`t resist.

The word "keris".

Believe it or not,kerises ain`t kerises!True!

In Javanese the words used for keris are: dhuwung,curigo,and wangkingan.These are used for different purposes,and in different language levels.Only in the lowest level is the word "keris" acceptable.
If we examine manuscripts in middle Javanese we find that the word "twek"(tewek)is used to denote a keris.
In Balinese the word for keris is kedutan.
In Sulawesi the word for keris is ,well,I`ve forgotten what it is in Sulawesi,but it sure ain`t "keris". .

Now,the word "keris".
Mojopahit had trade links throughout South East Asia.By 1500 the keris,along with other weapons ,had become a highly regarded and very important item of trade for Mojopahit.
At that time,the lingua franca of trade in South East Asia was Malay.
In Malay the word "iris" means "slice".
To form a noun from this root word "ke****an" would normally be added.
Thus a "slicer" becomes "keirisan".
Time and casual usage shortens this to "keiris".
When a word is rendered into roman script from a script using another form of symbols to convey a sound,it is rendered phonetically,as it is when it is written from a sound.
Thus "keiris" became "keris".
(Can`t you just see all those Malays running around on the harbour front sometime around 1450,saying to their buddies-"Hey man,here come those S.O.B.s from Mojopahit again!Better lock up your wives and daughters!Look at `em!Think they rule the earth ,with their slicers stuck in their belts!")

However,there are a multitude of spellings that all give just about the same sound.You can bet on it that whatever combination of letters you can come up with to produce a sound like"keris",someone else has already done it.For this reason,I just can`t get real excited about the debate as to whether it should be "keris",or "kris".Who cares,as long as you say it right.I always use "keris",simply because that`s the word I was brought up with.

One of the problems with trying to identify the earliest manuscript containing the word "keris" is that Javanese manscripts were written on palm leaves(lontar),which meant that they had to be transcribed to new lontars every generation or so.This constant re-transcription led to the transcribers substituting words in current usage for original words.This is a general problem with old writings from the region.So,when we read that the word keris appears in an old manuscript,there is no gaurantee that what you are seeing is the original word.The composition may date from ,say,1100A.D.,but the lontar may have been last transcribed in the 17th.century,that is 500 years later.Hands up those who believe that no corruption of the original occurred during those 500 years.

As to whether or not there is another nomination for the origin of "keris"in Sanscrit,I cannot say.I wouldn`t know a Sanscrit word if I fell over one,however,I have been told by someone with a nodding acquaintance with Sanscrit that the word "keris"does not originate in that language.An associated word that does occur in Sanscrit is "kadgo",or sword.This has come into Javanese as one of the names suitable to an empu,so we have names like Pauzan Pusposukadgo,and Suparman Wignyosukadgo.In kawi,the old Javanese literary language,the word "kadgo" can mean "keris",but more correctly it means sword.

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ruel
Senior Member
posted 06-14-2001 17:04     Click Here to See the Profile for ruel   Click Here to Email ruel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"In Sulawesi the word for keris is ,well,I`ve forgotten what it is in Sulawesi,but it sure ain`t "keris"."

The word is "Sele," isn't it?

Hey thanks for all this Javanese lexical information, Wong. I've always suspected it was there but wasn't sure till now. I think we should all make it a habit to use as precise terminology as possible, so that we can be maximally specific and maximally parsimonious at the same time.

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wong desa
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posted 06-14-2001 22:03     Click Here to See the Profile for wong desa   Click Here to Email wong desa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Ruel-yeah,could well be.Seems to ring a bell.I know I`ve got it one of my books,but I can`t remember which one.What is your reference?

The same word,ie."sele",with an accented final 'e',means "jam",as in raspberry jam in Indonesian,and"dried banana"in Javanese.

On terminology,the thing we`re talking about is generally known in English as a keris.So if we`re talking English,as long as somebody makes a noise something like the abbreviation of the name "Christopher",we`ll all understand him.If we`re writing English,the same applies,use the word that we know the object by,in our language.The Javanese words "dhuwung"and "curigo" apply to different language levels,and the word "wangkingan"is for use when speaking krama inggil,and referring to a keris which is worn right side rear.
I agree with the principle that language should be used as precisely as possible(believe me,I`ve got lumps to show for failing to do so at various times earlier in my life),but the object of language is to transfer an idea from one person`s head,into another person`s head,so we should adjust our language to suit the situation.At least,that`s what I`ve been taught,and as a general principle,it hasn`t let me down yet.
My own attitude is that in a group of people who all have a very high level of keris knowledge,I try as far as I am able to use very precise terminology,however,in a group of people who could not be expected to have such specialised knowledge,I try to express myself in a way that will transfer the ideas in my head ,into their heads,with a minimum of pain,on both sides .Frankly,I am not too proud to call a mendak "that funny little ring thing" if it gets the message across.

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john
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posted 06-15-2001 09:01     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phew, I'm impressed someone could come up with something so quickly and in such a detailed manner pertaining to the word 'keris'. How could you remember so much? It appears of all the possible functions of a dagger; trusting, slashing, stabbing, slicing, etc, the famous South East Asian dagger, KERIS got it's name from the 'slicing' function, the Malay root word 'iris'. Hmm. Anyone disagrees?

You have also mentioned the various names the keris is called in different areas eg dhuwung, curigo, wangkingan, twek, kedutan and the sele as well and I would assume all these names satisfy the descriptions of what a keris is as stipulated by both Dave and yourself (Alan Maisey's) in its' physical context.

On the point of terminology, I agree it would help especially for a novice like me that there is more precision in it's use. I've noticed in the past several postings, there are so much diversities in the keris subject that one could easily get confused especially when one find something like the word keris even spelled in so many ways...

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wong desa
Senior Member
posted 06-15-2001 18:52     Click Here to See the Profile for wong desa   Click Here to Email wong desa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes,these are all words which are names for what we know as keris,however,"twek" is a middle Javanese word,and although the translations for "twek"are given as "keris",it is probable that this word did not refer to what we would recognise as a keris.Alan Maisey has an unpublished paper which deals with this,and gives passing reference to it in his "Keris and the Naga" paper.

On the word "iris".Yes ,"iris" means slice in modern Malay.The way in which words are used does change over time.Do you think you would understand Chaucer`s English ,spoken?What meaning was conveyed by the Malay word"iris",600-700 years ago?I seem to remember that I read somewhere that use of the word "accomodate" in Shakespeare`s England was considered extremely offensive,and used in public,would get you room and board at the Crown`s expense.

We`re talking a lot about precision in the use of keris terminology.How far does anybody want to go with this precision?I`ve already put forward my opinion on this,and I am quite certain that if I were to use absolutely correct Solonese terminology in everything I write,and say ,nobody outside the upper level of Solo keris society would understand me.And bear in mind,this terminology only applies to Solo.Move 40 miles down the road to Jogja,and they won`t understand probably 50% of what you`re saying.Thus,should we learn the correct terminology for each area,and use this terminology when we are speaking about keris from that area?The language we are using to communicate here is English.I reckon we have to make what we are saying intelligible to the bulk of reasonably well educated English speakers.

Away and apart from all that.I found the book I was looking for.Herewith regional names for"keris": Madura-kerres,abinan;Bali-Kadutan;Ujungpandang-sele;Bugis-tapi;Melayu,Aceh-keris;Gayo-keris,pondok,ponok;Minangkabau-karih.And Jawa stays as is.The reference is "Mengenal Senjata Tradisional Kita"-Amir Martosedono SH,Dahara Prize,Semarang,1987.

Any more ideas on FAKES FAKES FAKES ???


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VANDOO
Senior Member
posted 06-15-2001 23:29     Click Here to See the Profile for VANDOO   Click Here to Email VANDOO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I WOULD LIKE TO THANK WONG DESA AND NAGA SASRA FOR ENCOURAGING THOSE OF US WITH A INTEREST IN THE KERIS TO PARTICIPATE IN THESE DISCUSSIONS. OUR OPINIONS AND QUESTIONS MAY BE A REPETITION OF THINGS ALREADY STATED , BUT OCCASIONALLY BY STIRRING THE POT SOMETIMES A NEW LINE OF THOUGHT MAY SURFACE AND THOSE WITH THE KNOWLEDGE MAY KNOW HOW TO PROCEED TO ANSWER SOME OF THE QUESTIONS THAT WE ARE DISCUSSING.I HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO BUT I AM LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE KERIS HERE THAN EVER BEFORE. OK FAKES, IMITATIONS, REPLICA'S, ECT. ONE THOUGHT I HAD IS THAT THE DUTCH MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE FIRST TO COPY THE KERIS, AT LEAST AMONG EUROPEANS.I KNOW THAT THEY LIKED TO PRESENT VERY FANCY SWORDS TO THE PEOPLE THEY PUT IN CHARGE OF CEYLON (SIRI LANKA). I HAVE SEEN ONE SUCH KASTANE, AND SAW ANOTHER THAT WAS SOLD BACK IN THE MID 60'S IN ONE OF MY OLD CATALOGS AND IT IS MENTIONED IN STONE'S. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE SAME THING HAPPENED IN INDONESIA? OF COURSE THEY COULD HAVE HAD THEM MADE LOCALLY IN WHICH CASE THEY WOULD NOT BE IMITATIONS OR FAKES. I HAVE ALSO NOTICED THAT CHINA HAS GEARED UP AND IS TURNING OUT A TIDAL WAVE OF FAKES OF JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING, HAS ANYONE SEEN A KERIS MADE IN CHINA YET? I AM AWARE OF FAKE BRONZE AGE WEAPONS, CHINESE SWORDS AND OTHER RELATED WEAPONS, BRONZE AND CERAMIC VASES AND SCULPTURES.I HAVE ALSO SEEN SOME VERY POOR KERIS FROM BORNEO WITH HAIR AND TEETH AND PAINTED SCABBARDS, I HAVE THEM WITH THE MANDAUS OF THE SAME POOR QUALITY.WHO MAKES THE SOUVENIR GRADE KERIS AND DO THEY MAKE ANY ATTEMPT TO MAKE A GOOD KERIS OR DO THEY INTENTIONALLY CUT COSTS AND CORNERS TO TURN OUT LOTS OF POORLY MADE JUNK? I HAVE SEEN THE FAKE BLADES ON SOME KERIS FROM BALI BUT THE WOOD CARVING ON THE SCABBARD AND HANDLE HAVE BEEN GOOD, AND VERY FANCY TO ATTRACT THE TOURIST. PERHAPS WE NEED A LIST OF TECHNIQUES' FOR MAKING A FAKE KERIS AS WELL AS THE PROPER WAY OF MAKING ONE. THIS WOULD MAKE IT CLEAR AS TO WHY IT WAS NOT CONSIDERED A PROPER KERIS, I IMAGINE THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE, BUT I WAS WRITING MY THOUGHTS AS I WENT ALONG, ENOUGH FOR NOW, I WILL READ AND LEARN.

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john
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posted 06-15-2001 23:45     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iwan, tks for the further elaboration. Also on the word "iris",and how the use of words changes over time. Isn't the word "iris" also the name of an Egyptian god, or is it "isis"? Just a passing thought...

Precision of terminology; just to clear a little air. I understand Ruel mentioned "we should all make it a habit..." which I interpret it to be for everyone or the "keris community as a whole". I was thinking along that line and hence my agreement. If we commonly use the word "keris", then be it so for the sake of "universal uniformity" instead of everyone spelling it a little differently. I have noted a same author using words like Krishna, Kreshna or Vishnu , Wisnu for the same entities respectively but to go in line with your "I reckon we have to make what we are saying intelligible to the bulk of reasonably well educated English speakers", maybe we all try to be as universally uniform as possible. Speaking for myself, I have no problem at all with your usage of terminologies; they are very clear except that I'm still learning more on "keris". But I'm glad you have deliberated a little more because I wasn't aware that "Terminologies for Solo, when one moves 40 miles down the road to Jogja,and they won't understand probably 50% of what you're saying". That bad eh!

Now to the "FAKES FAKES FAKES" subject, I like to add a couple of more points to what I've commented earlier. The main objective of a fake, counterfeit, imitation, be it a painting, artwork, currency note or Keris is the intent to cheat and deceive. They are all made (or copied) to laid down parameters and specifications but to the unscrupulous they are out to make some fast bucks...When a Bank discovers a counterfeit note, it's specialist will list out all the fraudalent features etc on it's caution notice for circulation, so to enable everyone to detect a counterfeit...Maybe along this spirit,we could collate as much as data as possible to give potential collectors, buyers amongst us the maximun knowledge or "caution notice" to detect such activities/features etc. But I think input from a lot of experienced keris enthusiasts is necessary. I for one has little experience except, I'm a little aware there are people selling newly made kerises as old ones; you could see rust or some features but I remember my good friend Mr Adni once telling me 'With experience, you could easily tell the difference between a genuine old keris from a purported old one". (I hope I've not misquoted you Adni, in case you are reading this!). I for one would be most interested to hear more because I'm still collecting and looking forward to collecting many more kerises.

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Adni Aljunied
Senior Member
posted 06-18-2001 13:47     Click Here to See the Profile for Adni Aljunied   Click Here to Email Adni Aljunied     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After not visiting the forum for so long, I must thank you John for updating me and didn’t realize that I am missing so much!!!
No misquotation John, but I must stress the word experience here, especially hands on experience. Being in the trade for two generations (my dad started it in the early 70’s, collecting them from he was a teenager) and personally restoring/cleaning countless numbers of neglected “pusakas”, had benefited me a lot. Pictures and illustrations from books do help only to a certain extent, and deals mainly in familiarization with forms. Having said that, I must also stress the importance of understanding/familiarizing with the correct features, forms, conformity and execution.

I believe that a genuine older blade is much easier to tell than a well made new blade, made to look old, or a not so recently made piece. Obvious edge wear, signs of usage etc. are ways of identifying, but these can also be “induced”. A blade left soaking in acids can appear to look old, and some even bury them, to uncover after a while, an “older” rusty blade. Rust is not a sign that suggest age! Apply some salt and a little water on a blade and you won’t have to wait long for it to rust. Feeling/touching the edges and carvings/perabots is also useful. Observing the peksi or tang is another way to go around, although again it is not the only rule of thumb.
It is easier to observe these signs when the keris has been used or “neglected” to suggest ageing, but there are also kerises which is “lucky” enough not to be neglected or used, and needs more than physical signs of “ageing” to confirm. A look at Tammens compilations of examples, which are all older pieces, and you know what I mean.

With newer blades, the roughly made ones “stands out” strikingly, even with “induced” ageing signs. The bright white colour of the pamors (nickel) are one way of telling them apart, although some older blades when washed well can show the same. A well-made keris, with well-selected materials will only “draw me closer” to it than an older keris made with average materials and average workmanship.

Most of the newly made pieces are made in the island of Madura, and a few others elsewhere in central Java. The cheapest are from Madura, and according to Empu Pauzan Pusposukadgo, his cost for charcoal alone is more than a complete piece from Madura. Although majority of these are rather on the rough side, there are some in which Empu Pauzan himself “scratches his head” when told of the price. He told me that one way the madura Empus can manage to make with their prices is by doing some short cuts. Instead of starting with one layer of metal and adding to it, they started off with fusing three or maybe more layers at one go. Although it can be done, the fusing of the many layers together will show “meshing” or messy pamor lines. Some he says may also make a long billet and cut it down to make two or three krises instead of just one!

Again, I stress the importance of understanding the forms and features of a keris, especially with hands on experiences. It will surely serve you more in appreciating a keris regardless of age. And here I would like to take a wise quotation from Wong Desa (Hi Irwan! And sorry for not keeping up) and will look forward for his inputs;

“a keris is not a keris unless it was made in a way that is in accord with the traditions attached to the making of keris, within the societies which regard the keris as a part of their cultural heritage.”

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wong desa
Senior Member
posted 06-19-2001 18:20     Click Here to See the Profile for wong desa   Click Here to Email wong desa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Welcome back Adni.Your family,including new additions are all well,I hope.

People collect keris for different reasons.
Some as an ethnographic artifact,some as a weapon,some as a work of art,and undoubtedly some for many other reasons that I have not mentioned.

It is a total impossibility to list or describe,or to provide any sort of primer to assist people, with minimal experience, in the identification of the multitude of means and methods used by dishonest sellers to present a keris as something other than it is.

Adni`s emphasis on experience is 100% correct,however,even this is no cast-iron gaurantee.
The most knowledgeable men in the field of keris,in Jawa itself,have been hoodwinked on more than one occasion by cunning sellers.
From the stories that I have heard,it would appear that these frauds have,in most cases,used two tools:firstly,some variation of "THE STORY";remember,NEVER buy the story,in any of its forms.Secondly,presentation of the non-typical form;ie,the variation,the rareity,the keris which is so uncommon that there is no yardstick to measure it against.
If even the best and most knowledgeable men in the world can be fooled,what chance has Mr. Average got?
This situation puts the keris into exactly the same position as any other item of value in the world of art.Porcelain,sculpture,paintings.All have a long and well documented history of forgery.The difference is,that with keris,the forgeriesand deciept start at a lower level of monetary value.

There are probably only two means of protection for a buyer against the dangers associated with the purchase of a keris.
The first is personal knowledge.
The second is a reputable dealer who is knowledgeable.
Personal knowledge,like any form of education,takes time to acquire,and its acquisition is expensive.
The dealer has already put in the time,and paid for his education;his knowledge is the basis of his business.
In other words,know sufficient to trust your own judgement,or find a dealer who is truly knowledgeable,and honest ,and trust him.

Never buy a pig in a poke.
Since probably the majority of keris purchased by collectors in the western world are purchased on the basis of a photo,and/or a description,that photo needs to be of very good quality,and the description needs to be accurate and gauranteed.
Auctions of all kinds are to be avoided unless the buyer is very,very experienced,or the price is very,very low.
Everybody knows about Ebay.I regularly monitor keris for sale on Ebay ,and have done so for a very long time.I also regularly check around on other keris for sale on the net.I have not yet purchased,or attempted to purchase a keris offered on the net,moreover,it is extremely unlikely that I will ever attempt such a puchase.The reason for this reluctance to engage in I/net trade is because the photos of items offered for sale are always of such inferior standard that it is totally impossible for me to gain a truly accurate idea of what is being offered.Combine this inadequacy with the inability of nearly all I/net sellers to provide accurate descriptions of the keris that they offer,and ,as far as I am concerned,the risk of purchase is simply too great.
Admitted,some prices are remarkably low,but who wants a collection full of sub-standard junk?Not many people I suspect,and when it comes time to sell that piece of junk,in order to upgrade your collection,not a lot of people want to buy it.I would rather have one good quality piece,than a dozen pieces of the quality I continually see offered on the net.

In all matters to do with buying and selling ,there is one rule of thumb that nearly always holds true: you get what you pay for.

Good keris,whether old or new ,cost good money.In fact really good quality new keris can often be very much more expensive than old keris.
Adni has mentioned the production of keris in Madura,and it is certain that there is a superfluity of sub-standard pieces from this source in the market place today.However,this type of keris has been in existence for over 100 years,and some of the earlier pieces are extremely good and desireable keris.About the only way to differentiate between these older,better quality pieces,and the newer junk is by appraisal of quality.But on the other hand,some of the current crop of Madura pandai keris also produce superb work,and charge superb prices;the work these people produce is usually spoken for before it is completed,and finds its way into the collections of top level Indonesian collectors.

Now,since I collect keris,not memories,or history,or stories,or any of the other things which could be associated with keris,but which are not keris,it is possible that my opinion on fraud and deception is perhaps a little different to the opinion of some other people.
For what that opinion is worth,here it is:

A keris must be a product of its cultural environment.
It may be old, or new,its age is of absolutely no importance to me,and in all honesty ,I believe the age of a keris is totally irrelevant.What is relevant,is that I know what it is that I am buying.
This means that if it is a new,or recent keris, I expect it to be an artistic statement in one form or another.This form can encompass excellence of handwork,execution of pamor,interpretation of form,or just pure beauty.
If it is an older keris,I do not necessarily expect the same level of artistic achievement,but I do expect that it should be in good condition,properly stained,and well presented in dress(scabbard,handle etc.) suited to the type of blade.For example,I do not expect to find a Bugis blade in Central Javanese dress(with some rare exceptions).
My reason for these initial broad parameters are that any keris which are made today can only have the nature of work of art,item of dress,or store of wealth.They can no longer have the nature of clan totem,or weapon.However,this is not to say that older keris cannot have the nature of work of art or store of wealth.
Naga Sasra has already pointed out that when we are talking about the keris we are talking about only the blade.The items of dress can be,and are ,changed frequently in response to various needs.Thus ,my remarks above refer to only the blade of a keris .Dress must be appraised separately.
Within the limits identified above,I consider the following to be fraud ,forgery ,deception and rip-off.

A. The newly made keris which has been processed in a manner which makes it appear to be something that it is not .
B. The old keris which has been altered in such a fashion as to make it appear to be something that it is not.
As far as I am concerned these are the only forms of forgery.


There are a multitude of ways in which a dedicated rip-off merchant can falsify a keris.The only defence against this is as mentioned above,ie,personal knowledge,or to purchase from a reputable dealer who is knowledgeable.

All other deception falls into the category of lies,falsehoods and deciept.
In other words:selling the story.
Make sure that you are not the one who buys that story.

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DAHenkel
Senior Member
posted 06-20-2001 12:28     Click Here to See the Profile for DAHenkel   Click Here to Email DAHenkel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello there everyone. Just back from another trip to old Langkasuka and am happy to discover that things have been hopping here of late. Welcome all you new folks out there. Glad to see some new blood take up the challenge of hashing out what constitutes a "good" keris.

Anyway, as I've mentioned I've been away in keris heaven taking pictures of Nik’s Din and Di's marvelous collection of Northeastern keris'. A weeklong procession of jaw droppers I can assure you. I'd post some pictures but PhotoPoint has started charging money now and I am a bid sore at them about it frankly. I know, you don't get something for nothing but until the dot.crash that was exactly the case and I have yet to "shift my paradigm" (to steal a phrase my principal has taken to using these days).

Speaking of paradigms, interesting bit here about the various terms used for the keris. Just to add a couple, I believe the general Moro term is something like kalis but correct me if I'm wrong. Up in Kelantan and Pattani the local dialect pronounces it something like krih but is still spelled keris. Typical Kelantanese. They spell the state's name K-E-L-A-N-T-A-N then pronounce it Kelateh. Go figure. We’ve also got problems with regards to English spellings as well. Is it K-E-R-I-S, K-R-I-S, K-R-I-S-S or C-R-I-S? And that’s just to name a few of the spellings I’ve encountered. For the record I think it should be K-E-R-I-S in deference to the accepted modern Indonesian/Malay spelling.

On the subject of fakes, I take a pretty liberal stance on whether an item deserves to be called a keris or not. Again the old looks like a duck axiom applies. Give a forged steel dagger a ganja and a gandik and I'll call it a keris. I may not call it a nice keris but I'll call it a keris. I'm considerably less kind when it comes to fakes and forgeries though. First off I see messing with an old blade as a mortal sin worthy of death, or at least a good sized thump up side the head. Carving naga's or other such things into an old blade is one of the older tricks in the book and is pretty easy to spot generally. Adding inlaid verses or other such details is another common trick and can be considerably more difficult to discern from the real thing. My advice - steer clear of such things.

The unscrupulous hacks turning new blades into old are getting better and better at it these days. There are some things to look for though. Newer blades tend to be heavy and often highly contrasting pamor can be a tip off. Also, feeling the blade can be useful – new pieces tend to have sharp burrs along edges and other features, especially in the level of the market most of us here inhabit. Quench marks can give an indication as well, especially in Peninsular pieces. Peninsular smiths today have lost the ability to properly quench a blade so a keris with a proper sepuhan mark will almost certainly be old but then again, a blade that has not been quenched is not necessarily a new piece either.

Unlike Iwan, I’m primarily interested in outer-island pieces so I can afford to be a bit less cautious than he is. The aforementioned unscrupulous hacks are far more prevalent on the island of Java and focus their evil ministrations primarily on Java/Madura and Balinese forms. There’s much less of a market for outer-island stuff and so you are far less likely to, though still not entirely, encounter fakes and forgeries. Forgeries in Malaysia generally are a bigger problem in the high end side of the market. Wood can be a tip off that something fishy is going on. Really nice, properly seasoned wood is nearly impossible to get nowadays but that still doesn't mean an old sheath couldn't be recycled for a forged high end blade. Giveaways might include a strange fit of the blade in the sheath, patching or signs of recent carving in the blade hole or mismatched components. Still the high end faker is going to do the best job they can to disguse their deception so be careful. As Iwan advises, buy the keris not the story and don’t spend more than you would be willing to lose if you were to discover that your recently acquired treasure was a cleverly crafted piece of junk. And another thing with particular regards to e-bay and other web sources. Certainly you need to be careful and do your homework. The watchword is caveat emptor and you should be well aware of what you’re getting into before you plunk down your hard-earned shekels for a keris from a web based source. There is some nice stuff out there though and I’ve been lucky to add a couple of (IMHO) nice items to my collection thanks to the marvels of e-commerce. This is doubly true if you have, or have access to the specialist skills necessary to put right off-condition stuff. I’m sitting here right now with magnificent, rare Bugis chieftains keris in front of me that I got on ebay. It would have cost me a fortune in it’s present state but was had for a song because a.) nobody else knew what the hell it was b.) it was pretty badly beat up and was missing its buntut and pedoko and c.) I knew how to go about fixing the thing. There are happy endings sometimes after all – but you need to know what you’re doing.

Oh, and before I forget, Vandoo asked a question about Naga’s and rare pamors that I’d like to address briefly. Traditionally such keris’ were made, generally for people connected with the court or court culture. Back in the old days not just anyone could go out and buy a keris with pamor bulu ayam or ask their local empu to whip them up a nice nogososro. The keris you carried had to suit your social and political standing otherwise you risked wreck and ruin, not to mention the possible ire of the local potentate. As such authentic old examples of such keris are rare, rare, rare and almost all of what I’ve seen so far on the net are new, new, new. Nowadays, because the old social restrictions on owning such keris are long forgotten any old Joe can buy such a keris - and because they’re “special” lots a folks want one. As such you find a lot of these keris’, of varying quality, floating around the market. Again my advice remains the same. Caveat emptor and buy the keris, not the story.

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Adni Aljunied
Senior Member
posted 06-20-2001 13:16     Click Here to See the Profile for Adni Aljunied   Click Here to Email Adni Aljunied     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Glad to have you back Dave from "Kelanteh" Dave. I always have problems with the lingo there too somtimes.

Must take this quote from you, for it sounds a little "bold";

"Again the old looks like a duck axiom applies. Give a forged steel dagger a ganja and a gandik and I'll call it a keris. I may not call it a nice keris but I'll call it a keris."

I personally would not mind if a keris is made by a "foreign" smith and in a "foreign" land, so long as it conforms to the correct characteristics of a keris. But never another weapon being converted into a keris.

Wonder how you view this Iwan?

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Lee Jones
EEWRS Staff
posted 06-20-2001 21:47     Click Here to See the Profile for Lee Jones   Click Here to Email Lee Jones     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a reminder, anyone wanting to post pictures who does not have server space can e-mail them to me for inclusion into the forum at ljones@vikingsword.com.

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wong desa
Senior Member
posted 06-22-2001 18:50     Click Here to See the Profile for wong desa   Click Here to Email wong desa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good to hear from you again David!
Especially so since some of your ideas are not quite in synch with mine.This is what discussion is all about,and what makes it interesting.

As previously noted,the nature of the keris developed at a different pace in different areas.What follows addresses only the Javanese keris.

Since the keris first appeared ,it has gone through a number of changes.
It changed from keris buda form,into the form that we now know as keris.It is possible that the nature of the keris buda was also different from the nature of the newer keris form.
Does this mean that nothing except a keris buda is a genuine,collectable keris?

By the time of Majapahit ,the keris had achieved the nature of clan and personal symbol,but also during the Majapahit period, it became an item of trade.
Does this mean that those keris which were made as items of trade are not genuine ,collectable keris?

After Sultan Agung failed to throw the Dutch out of Jawa,800 smiths and armourers were left under employed.During the period following this, trade in keris increased.
Does this mean that those keris manufactured in Central Jawa from about 1630 on are not genuine,collectable keris?

In the late 19th. century Javanese and Madurese keris were made primarily as items of dress,and works of art.
Does this mean that these keris are not genuine,collectable keris?

During the 1970`s the art of the keris underwent a revival in Jawa,and production by modern day makers commenced.
Are these keris from modern day makers not genuine,collectable keris?

It has been openly acknowledged in this Forum that the Surakarta keris form is perhaps the epitome of the art of the keris.
Two of the notable characteristics of a Surakarta keris are:high contrast pamor and heavy weight.
Surakarta keris were frequently not heat-treated,thus ,no quench mark exists.
Do these factors make this classification of keris, which is widely regarded as the epitome of the art of the keris,not a genuine,collectable keris?

As I stated in my previous post,whether a keris is old,recent ,or new is of no importance to me.
But it is important to recognise what it is that I am looking at,and evaluate it in accordance with the applicable parameters.
A new ,or recent keris can be just as valid an item to include in a collection,as a keris which is 200 years old.
There are new keris available which are of terribly inferior quality.
There are also old keris available which are of terribly inferior quality.
The old ,inferior keris are not fakes or forgeries.
Nor are the new inferior keris.
But lies can make both of them so.

As I understand it,the initial direction of this thread was to attempt to identify elements which indicate quality in a keris.By adopting the attitude that all,or the bulk of, new and recent keris are not worthy of consideration as collectable items,a false parameter is established.I`ve said it before,and I`ll say it again:some of the finest keris ever made are being made right now,today.

It is valid to express a preference for a particular form,or type of keris.
My own preference is for archaic keris,first,and artistic keris ,second.
However,if I look at my collection,about half of it is comprised of Javanese and Madurese keris,about 75% of the other half, of keris from other areas ,such asPeninsula Malaya,and the outer islands,and I have a couple of archaic pieces.
So,of what I most want,I have the smallest amount.
But of those keris which I consider to be artistic keris,I have a moderately large number.All of these,with the exception of one Mataram piece(which cost me two arms and a leg),fall into the category of "new or recent".
As I have said previously,I collect keris.I do not collect those things which could be associated with keris,but which are not keris.
I don`t collect magic,or power,or nostalgia,or dreams,or distorted beliefs regarding what a keris is,and what it is not.
I collect keris.
And I collect on the basis of quality.

The fact that I cannot adequately judge the quality of a keris from an electronically generated image is the principal reason that I am averse to I/net purchases.Dave advises:"---don`t spend more than you would be willing to lose---".Well,in spite of my bloodlines,I`m just not prepared to gamble money I`ve had to work for on something I can`t really see,let alone feel.The $50 or $100 I spend on the Ebay purchase could be the reason that I`m not able to afford $500 or$600 for something decent.

I will accept that perhaps my rationale in collecting is not quite the same as that of many other collectors,however,please bear in mind ,that I have been formally trained in keris appreciation,and that my teacher was similarly trained by Empu Suparman.
If my rationale can be demonstrated to be incorrect,this brings into question some of the pillars of Javanese cultural belief.

On the question of carved singo barong,naga,puthut and so on ,and elaborate pamor motifs.
It is true that when these carvings first started to appear on keris blades,which was probably prior to 1400,there was a distinct meaning attached to them.In later years this meaning was lost,and they became an artistic expression.
The dapur(shape)of a keris probably had an association with a cultural element(I regret,I cannot expand further on this at the moment),however,the pamor was associated with talismanic properties.It is a belief that some pamor are select in their nature,and have the potential to cause harm if held in the possession of an unsuitable person.It was the job of the empu to ensure that the client and the pamor were suitably matched.Tammens is a good source for further information on this.
A keris was not normally displayed to other people,thus dapur,and pamor were not known to other than the owner and maker.However,the dress of the keris was on public display,and failure to comply with relevent dress rules could incur displeasure and penalty.
Of course,in very early days,perhaps circa 1300,pamor motifs were possibly also subject to cultural constraints.

By the time that the keris had developed from its initial role,much of the original symbolism had been lost.
Thus the Javanese divide keris into old keris,and new keris.
The dividing line is the establishment of the Kingdom of Surakarta.This probably occurred in 1746.(Some would place the dividing line earlier than this).

So,just what do we mean by the terms"old",and "new"?
Do we disallow the validity of all keris made after 1746,because the Javanese consider them to be "new"keris,lacking much of the symbolism of "old" keris?

On the alteration of old keris.I`ve already said that they should not be altered to appear to be something that they are not.In truth,I`m a little bit ambivalent about this ,to a degree ,I tend to agree with Harsrinuksmo,in that repair,and alteration to an old keris is acceptable for the purpose of beautification.Bear in mind,the gold found on virtually all old keris was put there after,perhaps long after, the keris was completed,for much the same reason that we would award a soldier a medal.Similarly,something like,say,a puthut was probably put there later also.Even a singo barong could be added ,within the cultural context.So where do we draw the line?I think each case of alteration needs to be assessed on an individual basis,and with a full understanding of the cultural implications.

One of the major differences between keris,and other edged weapons,is that the keris is not a static object.As an example,the origin of a khanjar is fixed in a certain space of time.Later alterations,repairs,modifications,can only detract from its integrity.It is a static object.A keris is different.It is a living entity which requires continuous care in order to maintain its integrity.Whether this maintenance takes the form of traditional Thursday night feeding,together with all the other ceremony which forms a part of the keris tradition,or whether it is the somewhat more pragmatic approach of the western collector,without some sort of care,the keris will deteriorate and "die".To make it "live"again requires lengthy and careful restoration work.Within the keris tradition,such restoration is totally acceptable.If a similar level of restoration were applied to a khanjar,it would be regarded as a degraded piece,hardly worthy of notice by a serious collector.During the life of a keris,its dress is changed frequently;this is a cultural and social necessity.The same does not apply to the khanjar.Within its society of origin ,the keris is a living cultural icon.Not simply an object which was made at some time in the past,and from the time of its birth,must remain unaltered.
Thus,how valid is the rationale that adopts the stance requiring a keris to be "old and original"?
Such a rationale does not recognise the nature of the keris,nor does it support the study of the keris.This rationale belongs to the collector of Chinese porcelain,or French provincial furniture.It does not have a place in the study and collection of the keris.

I have several times referred to "buying the story".What I have not done to date is to point out that "the story"can take many forms.
There is the story that is presented in one way or another by a seller.This can be direct,or indirect,presentation.
Then there is the story that is generated by the buyer himself.This can take many forms,and can be both general,and specific.
Whether the story is from the buyer,or from our own imagination,it has a common effect:it distorts our perception of the object and prevents a rational evaluation of what it is that we are looking at.
Of course,it is not all about rationality:sometimes I buy a piece simply because I like it,and I don`t always know why.

Adni,you were wondering about my feelings on foriegn origins.Have a look at my post of 10th.June.

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VANDOO
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posted 06-22-2001 22:37     Click Here to See the Profile for VANDOO   Click Here to Email VANDOO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I THINK YOU TOUCHED ALL THE BASES ON THAT ONE, HOMERUN! SO WHEN , WHERE, OR BY WHO A KERIS WAS MADE IS OF LESS IMPORTANCE THAN HOW IT WAS MADE. THAT IS THE CRUCIAL POINT AND FROM THERE IT IS A MATTER OF THE QUALITY OF WORK DONE.I FOUND IT INTERESTING THAT COURT FASHION DETERMINED HOW YOU DRESSED EVEN DOWN TO THE FITTINGS ON YOUR KERIS. IT IS ALSO GOOD THAT COLLECTORS ARE ALL DIFFERENT, LIKE THE KERIS IN THEIR COLLECTIONS.

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john
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posted 06-22-2001 23:01     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gentlemen, my paradigm to the understanding of keris has certainly shifted after following these great discussions. How I wish a few of my friends have access to these and learn. If I were to live out my days and only basing on resources available within my vicinity, I wouldn't have known a fraction more of what have been deliberated and given here, I'm sure. I'm both grateful and humbled. That's the marvel of this I/net forum and a hurray to those who mooted the idea in the first place!

The days of my understanding of a keris as a wavy Malay dagger with magical powers has certainly shifted although personally I'm of the opinion the mystical aspect is still very much alive with some of the locals, much more than people would like to admit or discuss openly. Perhaps this could be a future topic for discussion and see if we could decode all the mysteries pertaining to this. I for one believes this could be achieved...

A little further back where we were discussing fakes ets; Adni, tks for the further elaboration of the "induced" older blades. You know, still there are some people here hoping to buy "powerful pusakas" and I've observed/noted the "induced" old pieces have been quite sellable particularly with "The Story" spiced on accordingly. Dave, tks for giving more 'give away' signs. Certainly enhances the scope. And Iwan, your mentioning of even the most knowledgeable men in the field of keris having been hoodwinked says it all; Collectors and buyers ought to be extremely cautious as at the end of the day, we end up with what we have collected and I wouldn't like to later find out that most of my pieces are fakes. I was told even a Museum (sorry couldn't disclose which one) has been hoodwinked and true, what chance have I (Mr Below Average) got on my own?? I guess my best protection is using the services of honest knowledgeable dealers but how many of such dealers are available? Not many I guess (correct me if I'm wrong). Sadly, the locals here even do not have access to a proper dealer let alone knowlegeable/experienced ones. A serious topic this is, isn't it?

Iwan, can I ask for a few common examples if I may to what you've mentioned ie
A) The newly made keris which has been processed in a manner which makes it appear to be something it is not (apart from "induced" to look older pieces).
B) The old keris which has been altered in such a fashion as to make it appear to be something that it is not.

[This message has been edited by john (edited 06-22-2001).]

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wong desa
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posted 06-23-2001 20:30     Click Here to See the Profile for wong desa   Click Here to Email wong desa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No,not quite ,Mr.Vandoo.We need to be able to identify where,and approx.when,a blade was made ,in order to apply the relevant standards in appraisal of its quality.We cannot judge a 17th. century blade by the same standards that we use for an early 20th. century blade,nor can we apply the same standards to a blade from South Sulawesi,as we apply to a blade from Bali.However,once we think we know the where and when,then it comes down to quality.As far as the who is concerned,well,that really does not affect Western collectors much.What collector in the Western world is going to pay upwards of $US5000 for a blade-ie,blade only-attributed to Empu Kinom?Nobody I know.However in Jawa the who becomes very important,and this is where the big money fakes,frauds and forgeries occur.In Javanese terms we`re really very small potatoes as collectors.The bulk of western collectors want a complete keris,for the price of a decent mendak.With this type of mentality,what sort of keris do you think get offered on the western market?There are very,very few dealers who are able to offer good quality keris within the price range that applies to collectors in the western world.
Yes,I agree,variety in taste is what makes the world go round.(whoever told you it was money lied).If we all wanted the same woman,there`d be no next generation ,would there?

John,the questions that you have asked are extremely difficult to answer.In fact,I cannot give an answer that is of any use at this level of discussion.As an example of what I mean:Dave mentioned heavy weight and high contrast pamor as give aways.As far as this goes,it is correct,BUT some of the finest OLD (in the western sense,say,100 years,more,or less) keris ever made have the same characteristics,also,some recent and new keris have low contrast pamor.
If we talk about alteration to old keris,we have to get into terms of discussion that will not be understood by anybody who has so far contributed to this thread,and also not by the vast bulk of readers of this thread.
I said in an earlier post that it is an impossibility to write a primer on what to look for.I mean it.Adni is 100% correct,only experience will identify the pieces which are not what they are presented as.

On the subject of the mystical/magical keris.I am extremely reluctant to become involved in such a discussion,and can think of probably 100 reasons why I should not.Rather than discussion,I`ll tell you a story.This is just one of many stories that I have heard,about the "magic" keris.It is a true story,it happened about 14 years ago in Solo,and one of my uncles was a player.

A salesman had a very ugly keris that he wanted to sell.He could not sell it on the basis of visual appeal,but he really needed to come up with some cash in a hurry,in order to pay some gambling debts ,which looked like causing him some intense physical pain if they were not settled pretty quickly.So,he decided to try to sell this dog of a keris as a magic keris.In fact ,so magic that it could pass thru walls of steel,and find its own way home.
To do this,he enlisted the help of a couple of friends,one of whom was a part of the heirarchy of the Solo kraton.
He found a mark,and the story went ,more or less,like this--"A friend of mine has a very powerful keris,that has been in his family for ten generations.He is in a position where he is forced to sell this keris.He really needs money,his wife has been sick,and he has had to borrow money,and if he doesn`t repay it by next Saturday he`ll lose his house.This keris is a really powerful keris.It doesn`t matter where it is,or how someone tries to restrain it,it can always find its own way home,to its rightful owner.It was made by Empu So-and-So,and has a gaurdian spirit.My friend lives in Surabaya,but he`s in Solo at the moment,because he came here to sell his keris.He knows he`s got a better chance to sell it in Solo than in Surabaya,because the people in Solo really understand and appreciate keris,not like the people in Surabaya,who only understand money.
If you would like to see this keris,I can introduce you to my friend."
Now,the salesman did not present this story.That was my uncle`s job.The salesman found the mark,then my uncle presented the story,and introduced the mark to a relative of the salesman,who did,in fact,live in Surabaya.The relative was the supposed owner of the "magic" keris.
The mark was given the full Solo "magic"keris spiel,negotiations were entered,and since one of the selling points was the origin of the keris,the mark was introduced to the other friend,who was the member of the kraton hierarchy.The kraton man had engaged the services of another member of the kraton entourage,who was a specialist in evaluating the mystical /magical powers of keris.
This mystic specialist had been given the information that he had to pass on to the mark,the salesman`s kraton friend introduced the mark to the mystic,the mystic went into his trance act,and confirmed that the keris was in fact made by Empu So-and-So,and its gaurdian spirit was Nyai Such-and-Such.By now the mark is really hooked.It only remains to prove the ability of the keris to find its own way home.
So,back to my uncle`s house goes the mark with the powerful magic keris.Uncle and salesman`s relative are waiting for him.It is proposed that to prove the ability of the keris to find its own way home,it should be locked in my uncle`s safe,and that the mark and the salesman`s relative should then go to the salesman`s relative`s house in Surabaya and wait for it to arrive.Uncle locked the keris in the safe,and to prove that no one could open the safe ,gave the key to the mark to hold.
The mark and the salesman`s relative then got into the mark`s car to drive to Surabaya,about 200 kilometers away.
As soon as the car drove around the corner,the salesman came in from the back room ,where he had been waiting,uncle opened the safe with his other key,the salesman took the magic keris , jumped on his motor bike,and rode hell for leather to Surabaya.
Of course,by the time the mark and the salesman`s relative arrived in Surabaya,the magic keris was already home,in its rightful place.
This keris was purchased by the mark for the approximate value of a decent house.
Everybody involved in the scam was paid off.

I`ve said it before:what you think you see happening in Jawa is not necessarily happening.
The story above is a bit complicated,and perhaps difficult to follow.I can gaurantee you that by Javanese standards,it is a straight forward,simple scam.The sort of thing a child could dream up.

Why would all these people get involved in such dishonest activity?(particularly my uncle,who was,and is,a pillar of the church).
In Jawa most people need money all the time.Everybody always owes someone else money or favours.People form loosely related networks,the members of which will work together to advance the interests of a single member,thus repaying,or generating,a social obligation.Javanese are not like people in western societies,and Javanese society is organised,and functions, in a different way to western societies.Javanese moral standards are totally different to western moral standards.And most importantly,if you are not a part of the group,you`re fair game.And the name of the game is Rip-Off.

So,want to talk about magic keris?I`d just as soon not,thank you.

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ruel
Senior Member
posted 06-23-2001 22:05     Click Here to See the Profile for ruel   Click Here to Email ruel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If nobody has an objection, I'm going to try to make a simple chart of cross-linguistic kris-terms from the information provided above. More for my own benefit than as a standard reference, but it ought to help clear things up just the same, or at least stimulate someone else to make a better and more authoritative one.

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wong desa
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posted 06-25-2001 18:54     Click Here to See the Profile for wong desa   Click Here to Email wong desa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What will follow is a bit off to one side of the mainstream of this discussion,however,I think it is worth putting up,because it is a pretty good example of what I`ve been saying about my inability to determine quality from an electronic image.
At the moment there is a keris for sale on Ebay,Item #1440826095.The quality of the pics are about as good as it is possible to get ,the description reads well,there is no attempt to present a recent piece as an old piece,the item is described as contemporary,the price is given as $325,and it is an unreserved auction,the seller is Bali Direct.
Based on what I can see in the pics,this looks like a pretty nice keris,and at the price,it is an absolute give away.In fact,if it is as good as it looks,you could not buy it ,on the ground,in Bali for this price.
And this is the whole problem;its simply too cheap.When you read into the description,you find that its not really silver,but"silver on copper",which I guess means silver plated.But still,its an honest decription.
The one thing the description does not,and cannot tell me is the level of quality.
And I simply cannot gauge that quality from the electronically generated photos.
If I had good quality analogue photos in my hand,I might be able get some sort of idea of quality,but from the digital photos,all I can see is shape and colour.

Now,I know what a good quality keris,of this type costs in Bali,when you can find them.
There`s plenty of low quality stuff around,and its not real expensive,but good quality is scarce,and expensive.
If I did not have this knowledge,gained from personal experience,I would possibly be tempted by the Ebay keris I`ve mentioned above.
But since I know what a good quality keris,of this type costs,and since I cannot judge the quality of the keris in question from the digital pics,as far as I`m concerned,it can stop in Bali.
A suitable new owner for it would be a tourist,looking for a souvenir.

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Naga Sasra
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posted 06-25-2001 21:32     Click Here to See the Profile for Naga Sasra   Click Here to Email Naga Sasra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am absolutely delighted with all the activity on this subject, after returning from a trip to Belgium I found that great questions had been posted together with opinions that make this all worthwhile as a forum of discussion.

On the subject of Fraud, Forgery,Deception and Rip-off and after reading all the postings since my last entry, I tend to agree, that the single biggest deterrent from falling into any or all four of the traps when buying keris is knowledge and manual handling of the blade. It is however, only a deterrent, as even the most knowledgeable can and most likely has been taken in the past and it will happen again in the future without doubt.

As for examples on all four categories, many has been mentioned and I will just add a personal experience from Jawa. This has to do with a newly made Madurese blade being processed to look like something it is not.

This workshop was in the process of a fraudulent modification of making a blade look a lot older than what it really was. What they were doing was to file down the Pesi, and the Greneng, to make it look like normal wear of a keris exposed to the climate of Indonesia over the centuries, then they acid treated the blade in a very strong solution, then stained the blade. The result was a blade that looked a lot older than it really was, for example the Pesi that is normally very smooth on newly made blades, was now rough and had an angular shape to it, the Greneng was "worn" down as if the blade had been in the arsenik solution to clean the blade (mewarangi) on a regular basis over the centuries, the same effect happened to the rest of the blade. Of cause I was not supposed to see this, and can therefore not reveal the particular workshop, but this is being done today.

The other major deterrent cannot be emphasized enough, and keeps getting repeated, that is the "story" whatever it is don't buy it, that count for both the story of the smooth seller as well as the imagined story of the buyer. When a keris change hands, it usually come with a story, such as it belonged to a LOW ranking Kraton member, and maybe it did! It has a guardian spirit inside that is very powerful and it is good for protecting ones home. Well, after the house was robbed and the roof caved in, perhaps it was time to let it go, this time it used to belong to a HIGH ranking Kraton member, the following time it changed hands it has a little Kinatah Emas applied and now it used to belong to a Prince etc. etc., just like the manuscripts that has been transcribed generation after generation, it is likely that the "story" changed for reasons that could be changes in the written language, and or the interpretation of certain words, or as in the case of the keris, a change in the ranking system at the Kraton or an outright lie to sell the "story" and with that the keris.

This bring us to the seller, which could also be a major deterrent if it is a reputable dealer who is knowledgeable, it also bring us to auction houses thru out the world, our fellow collector and of cause Ebay. Except for the knowledgeable reputable dealer, the key word is "Buyer Be Aware" as one has to depend on sometimes fussy pictures that has been manipulated, with colors that are way off, pictures taken with inexpensive digital cameras, and descriptions that are just as bad, not necessarely because the sellers want to deceive, but because they are passing on the "story" in fact less than a handfull of all the sellers on Ebay correctly list their goods for sale, words are flying freely, such as PB this and that.

However, I feel there is a need for the service Ebay provide, and once in a while a good piece come about, I for one has been able to optain a few pieces worthy of my collection, they were "sleepers" and found either because of a bad listing technique, or simply because others watching at the time didn't know what they were, or took it for granted that they were made to look as something they were not, as the keris looked like it was made "yesterday". Then again I have also purchased keris that had every indication of being right, and looked right on the pictures, only to find upon receipt that they were junk, a mistake that I would not make if I handled the blade in person. I just take that as a continued learning experience and end up giving the keris to someone that might develop an interest in keris down the road. If the budget allow for buying a pig in a poke, don't be surprised or disappointed, if it is not what one expected it to be, after all the initial investment is accordingly low and one usually get what one pay for.

As far as the well known auction houses are concerned, here again "Buyer Be Aware" as the most of them with a few exceptions rely on their reputation, rather than fact and knowledge, at least as far as our interest is concerned.

To ruel, I applaude you for making a chart of keris terms, so that all the participants as well as the readers that do not contribute are on the same track. Thank you.

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empu kumis
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posted 06-27-2001 09:14     Click Here to See the Profile for empu kumis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hallo kerislovers,

I try to take part in your discussion but in my last replay I was on the wrong place

sorry

empu kumis

[This message has been edited by empu kumis (edited 06-27-2001).]

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john
Senior Member
posted 06-27-2001 23:27     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From what have been gathered from the past few posts, there are unanimous agreements amongst the seniors in "The story", individual knowledge, and honest knowledgeable dealers, when it comes to keris procurements. All experiences/knowledge, opinions and guidelines/advises put on the table have been enlightening. Iwan's story has clearly illustrated a few things; "The story" (the lie pertaining to "the Magical keris"), the modus operandi of a scam, "what one think one see happening in Jawa is not necessary happening", and the humour of the story itself but when one think of the many similar "Marks" around, it isn't really funny. I particularly find Naga Sasra's first hand witnessing of the Madura workshop's fraudulent modification of newly made kerises to something they are not both revelationary and disturbing, especially so when one now knows many such kerises are flooding the market and are still ongoing! Should anyone out there know of similar fraudulent activities, do please share with us!! I'm sure all will profit from them!! On a lighter note, I'm also learning some new phrases! For example, I didn't know what "a pig in a poke" meant! When I asked everyone in the office about it, no one knew and it was only after we looked into 3 dictionaries that we believe we've got the answer.

Whilst we are being guided to the elements of what constitute a "good keris", no doubt we are concurrently reaping much side "benefits".

By the way, welcome to the right place, Empu Kumis.

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empu kumis
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posted 06-29-2001 09:43     Click Here to See the Profile for empu kumis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi kerislovers,
about your idea to build an own system of value I must say it will be more better to use the Indonesian system. Even we dont know much about Sumatranese or Buginese blades. A mixture of your own terms and Javanese is a paradoxon. More better we learn the Javanese System. I still hope somebudy will go to the Buginese and to Bali and to ... people to learn and to write about. In the next time I will try to tell some more about the Javanese (Central-) keris.

empu kumis

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empu kumis
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posted 06-29-2001 10:15     Click Here to See the Profile for empu kumis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi kerislovers
About Fakes I can tell you we have many prooves in privat and Museum collections. A few books I will mention:
Haryati Soebadio (chief editor) 1993Art of Indonesia , Tauris Parke Books, London, page 186-187 with a piece of the National Museum in Jakarta purchased in 1947.

Vanna e Mario Ghiringhelli 1991 Kris Gli Invincibili page 48-51

Koos van Brakel, David van Duuren, Itie van Hout 1996 The Georg Tillmann Collection at the Tropenmuseum Amsterdam A Passion for Indonesian Art page 50. Photografs of the same kerisses you will find in Ir. Moens 1935 Naskah Keris I (his Collection of Material, probably with plans to write about the keris)in the Museum Sonobudoyo in Yogyakarta.

This kind of faking is called "GEBALAN" in Java. But this are still simple examples for fakes. Mostly old blades where used and carvings where cut ouf of a bigger gandik. A lot of this work was done by Madurese people before the start to make new blades. Madurese merchants travelled through Java purchasing old mostly cheap blades and bringing them back to Madura. There they was made "more valueable" and sold in many places. The situation today is still almost the same but more dangerous, because the faking has improved. Gold on blades is done already very good (I`m not talking about Madura) and is sometimes difficult to recognise. So be very careful and dont miss a lense.

empu kumis

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empu kumis
Member
posted 06-29-2001 11:07     Click Here to See the Profile for empu kumis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi kerislovers
about pamor I`m able to tell you somethings new. I think Wong Desa said forget about meteoric pamor. We have only the proove from Prambanan in the middle of the 18th century only Ki Hudoyo Doyodipuro 1997 in his Daya Magic-Manfaat-Tuah-Misteri page 32 mention a fall of a meteorite in the 17th century but without proove. We dont know it had nickel or not. For more Information on meteorites in Indonesia look to the Handbook of Ironmeteorites. I think the most pamor material was made of local iron. Also pamor luwu was in the first sense iron and not pamor, see Bronsens work. In the oxis project there is still an excavation by David Bulbeck from the ANU the found some iron i think from the first century. But back to local iron. In 1997 I started the first time to melt iron from ironsand (magnetite, rutile, ilmenite) from Cilacap (this resource of iron ore is known earlier then 1921)and we got several ironsponges and small balls with a high grade of carbon. If you make a blade of the ironsponge you have a white-greyish pattern and if you celect the balls the "pamor" becomes brighter. The pamor looks like so many old pamorblades and is beautiful. And due to analyses and comparision with its probably the same stuff. In old kerisses there was titanium oxid (Haryono Arumbinang talked about titanium, but this was only the halve of the truth). Piaskowski and Bronson found also titanium oxid. Titanium doesnt mix with iron but you will find it in the impurities or slag enclosures of the iron. This black sands are used in history by dayaks for traditional ironmaking also. The name of this sand is in Bali bias malalo and in Java pasir malelo like the besi malelo in the older literature of Java. The childrens on the southcoast of Java playing with magnets to catch the sand. The beaches are full of millions of tons with sand containing about 50% of iron. As a modern recource of ironore its not much because of commercial alternatives in Norway and many other places of the world. But for using as material for kerisses its a real good iron. I have done more then 28 tests on melting various ores with good results and my last test was done this year in Bali an again i got from 10 kg of sand 1,8 kg of iron. Because its expensive the danger it will be used for fakes is not so big but possible. So again be careful.

empu kumis

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VANDOO
Senior Member
posted 06-29-2001 16:10     Click Here to See the Profile for VANDOO   Click Here to Email VANDOO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WELCOME EMPU KUMIS IT IS GOOD TO GET THE VIEWPOINT OF ONE WHO MAKES KERIS, IT IS DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF COLLECTORS AND SCHOLARS. WE HAVE THE KERIS IN COMMON YOU TAKE PRIDE AND PLEASURE IN CREATING A GOOD KERIS AND WE TAKE PRIDE AND PLEASURE IN HAVING GOOD KERIS IN OUR COLLECTIONS. THERE IS ALSO PLEASURE IN LEARNING ABOUT THE THINGS WE COLLECT. ON THE SUBJECT OF METEOR IRON BLADES, HAS ANYONE TRIED GETTING A REAL METEORITE AND MIXING IT INTO THE IRON YOU USE AND SEEING WHAT THE RESULTING BLADE QUALITY WOULD BE? I WAS ALSO WONDERING IF YOU KEEP COMPARITIVE COLLECTIONS OF KERIS THAT ARE AS CLOSE TO PERFECT AS POSSIBLE OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BLADES AND PARMOR TO TEACH STUDENTS AND TO JUDGE AND IDENTIFY BLADES OF THE SAME TYPE. ENOUGH QUESTIONS FOR NOW, I NEVER SEEM TO RUN OUT OF THEM!

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DAHenkel
Senior Member
posted 06-29-2001 22:06     Click Here to See the Profile for DAHenkel   Click Here to Email DAHenkel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Welcome Empu Kumis. Glad to have you on the forum. I found your comments on pamor and iron rather interesting but a bit confusing as well. I never was really good in my science lessons You raise a number if interesting questions in your post. You indicate in your post that traditional pamor material was iron and you mention various iron ores which you have investigated. Could you perhaps elaborate some on the exact composition of these ore's? What I'm getting at here is what is it that gives these iron pamor's their 'brightness' and why are some iron's 'brighter' than others? The basic principle as I understand it is that, when a keris is stained, the warangan solution (be it arsenic trioxide or some other oxidizing chemical) causes a chemical reaction which oxidizes the outer layer of material on the blade. The fact that materials of different composition oxidizes at different rates causes some materials to darken or oxidize at faster rates than others. The reasons for the different rates of oxidation are at two levels. One is at the molecular level - in the rate in which iron molecules in the material combine with oxygen molecules to form iron oxide (FeO2); which is then tied to the condensed matter level in the stability of the particular molecular structure or matrix which the material is formed.

Some molecular structures are more stable and thus less "willing" to give up thier iron (Fe) molcules to oxygen (O) molecules in the unstable arsenic trioxide solution. Simmilarly at the condensed matter level the crystaline structure of the material also influences the rate in which any given material oxidizes. I've noticed for instance that in blades that have been quenched, the quenched portion of the blade is more susceptible to erosion (that is oxidation) than the portion of the blade which is not. As I understand it the quenching process draws heat rapidly through the blade thus "straightening" the crystaline structure of the material. For some reason this straightened structure appears to be more susceptible to oxidation. Any idea why?

Also, you mention pamor Luwu in passing in your post. As a dedicated Bugis keris fan I'm very interested in learning more about this material. I've been led to understand that the luwu material comes from a huge meteorite which crashed into Southern Sulawesi in pre-historic times. To your knowledge is this true or is pamor luwu terrestrial in origin? Also are you aware of any research that has been done on the molecular composition of this material?

Moving on, a question keeps poping up in my mind that I'd like to ask you all. We've learned quite a bit about these faked high end antiques and the minefield we have to navigate to avoid them. The overwhelming consensus here to "buy the keris not the story" has set me to thinking though.

The question is, are we willing to accept a well executed (and I mean, to the extent that the forgery would not digress from our personal perception of quality) faux antique if that keris in all other respects fit our expectations for a well executed keris? Much like owning a personally pleasing quality fake Rolex or a copy of the Mona Lisa, would it be okay in your minds to collect a fake PB X keris if the quality and price were atrractive to you? I can't answer for you all but I would say personally that I would.

There are a number of keris styles which I would love to have in my collection, original's of which I wouldn't even dream of owning. Cf. fig's 52, 53, and 138 of the Court Arts of Indonesia book (man those keris' rock!). People with the money can't even get thier hands on these puppies but I hope to someday be able to commission high quality copies of these keris'.

It also occurs to me that anyone seriously trying to sell a faked item of this rare aire certainly isn't goint to try and pitch me and my decidely middle class income. If he did I'd know he was full of it right off the bat. All of us here know full well that you don't chuck that kind of royal quality at the kind of money I can afford.

On a different tack but certainly related to the first are those fakes which do fit within my personal description and price range. These are, frankly speaking fairly easy to spot with experience for the simple fact that, like counterfeit dollar bills, they simply aren't worth the effort needed to make them really hard to spot. It seems to me that for the most part faker's at this level either a) lack the skills necessary to make or just can't make passable counterfeits cost effectively enough and thus settle for making fakes that an experienced eye can spot; or b) would just as soon make fakes for the higher range market where there is a great deal more profit to be had.

The way I see it, as long as we're safely innoculated against the various cock and bull stories we can fairly safely go about our business. Plus, with a fairly well-experienced eye, if one were to get fooled into buying a "fake" the item in question would still make a nice addition to one's collection.

I have, for example, a nice little badik Terengganu in my collection which came with alleged ties to the royal family of Pahang. Seems some young prince had a penchant for the gaming tables and had run up a considerable debt with a local loan shark. He pawned the item to the antiques dealer in whose shop the piece first caught my attention. The arrangement was that the dealer could sell the item after a given amount of time had elapsed. Initially the dealer asked a rather exorbitant sum for the piece and gave me the part of the story which connected the piece to the royal family. However, when I balked and turned the item down he nearly halved the asking price making the piece in question a rather nice buy indeed. He explained this rather sudden drop (which I was naturally suspicious of) by pointing out that he was still making more money by selling the piece to me than he would have had the gambling prince paid off his ticket. Seems the dealer had gotten wind that the prince in question was "in the money" and might show up soon to claim his badik.

So did I buy the story? Not on your life, though I have confirmed from impartial sources that indeed there is a prince in the aforementioned royal family who is known to be a "kaki judi" (that is, a gambling man). What I bought was a very nice badik at an equally reasonable price. I've shown the piece in question to other collectors and all have agreed that I was lucky to have it for such a good price. The consensus is that the item is a high quality (though certainly not regalia level) antique. The fact that it comes with a rather interesting "possible" heritage was and still is essentially immeterial to me.

[This message has been edited by DAHenkel (edited 06-29-2001).]

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wong desa
Senior Member
posted 06-30-2001 02:56     Click Here to See the Profile for wong desa   Click Here to Email wong desa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Only one man in the world has the curriculum vitae that you outline ,Empu Kumis.
I bid you welcome.I am sure I speak for all when I say we are honoured and humbled by your presence.

In response to your three posts of 30th. June.
I agree that the system of evaluating a keris which is used in Jawa is established,and has a firm foundation,however,it is virtually impossible for anybody outside the culture of Jawa to learn this system.The initial aim of the "Good Keris" discussion,as I understand it,was an attempt to establish a system which could assist in the guidance of people who are outside Javanese cultural boundaries in recognising those factors which contribute to the quality of a keris.
It is a matter of practicalities.Since the vast bulk of people who contribute to this forum do not have even a basic understanding of the Javanese language or culture,the elements of a sub-section of that culture are clearly beyond them.However,if we are successful in ultimately being able to provide a primer on the elements of a "good keris",I believe that we will see many of the elements of the Javanese system brought into this,especially so in respect of Javanese keris.
You ,yourself,would recognise the difficulties associated with attempting to apply Javanese standards to,say,a Peninsular keris.

I am absolutely delighted to read of some of the work you have done in the smelting of iron.
When do you intend to publish on this?
Jerzy Piaskowski has been working on analyses of old gonjos,and blades,since 1988.He has produced a couple of papers,but,as I understand it,he has not had much success in finding a publisher.One of these papers is a massive work,and when it is published,it will rewrite the books dealing with pamor.

David,your query as to who would be prepared to own a high end "fake" provided the price was right,comes right back to what I`ve been trying get across for several months now.My direct answer to your question is that yes,I most definitely would.For one simple reason,I could never afford to own the originals.The same rationale stands behind my support for recent and new keris which carry scarce pamors ,or rare dapors.If I`m not prepared to accept recent workmanship,then I will never own examples of these.

My only point of disagreement is in the use of the word "fake" when we are talking about recent and modern keris.
We`ve all taken to using the word 'fake' as a noun,myself included.When used in this manner,a 'fake' refers to any device used to swindle.In other words,the 'fake' must be accompanied by 'the story'.
I don`t think that we can regard the production of a particular style of keris,in the modern era,or for that matter,at anytime in the past,as a 'fake',unless it is also linked with "The Story",thus becoming an attempt to decieve,and perpetrate a swindle,or fraud.
If the keris is presented for sale as recent,then there has been no attempt to decieve,and thus we are not looking at a fake.Rather,we are looking at recent,or modern ,workmanship which can sometimes be of an exceptionally high standard.If we choose to purchase this example of exceptionally high standard workmanship,we have made our decision on the basis of quality,rather than on the basis of some (imagined)other properties.

This then,comes full circle to what I have already said in as many ways as I know how: base your decision to purchase on quality(in so far as you are reasonably able to).
It remains for us to define quality,but I do believe we are moving towards that definition.

May I suggest that we substitute "recent or modern" for the generalised use of the word
"fake",and only use "fake" where there has,in fact,been an attempt to defraud?


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DAHenkel
Senior Member
posted 06-30-2001 04:01     Click Here to See the Profile for DAHenkel   Click Here to Email DAHenkel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agreed. Certainly we need to be more clear on the use of the term "fake" and I think the distinction that the item was an attempt to deceive is the defining characteristic. One clarification though - does a high quality "fake," once unmasked remain a fake, or does it then become a high quality "copy" (possibly complete with artificial ageing)?

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wong desa
Senior Member
posted 06-30-2001 05:27     Click Here to See the Profile for wong desa   Click Here to Email wong desa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You could probably construct an argument for either point of view.My opinion is that it was always a high quality keris(not necessarily a copy),it only became a fake when the attempt to swindle was undertaken.When that attempt is past,it is once again a high quality keris.If the swindle is uncovered,the purpose of the high quality keris as an object to perpetrate a swindle,has been defeated,but the quality of the keris itself has not been altered.

Take,for instance the example given by Empu Kumis of the keris on pages 186-187 of Art of Indonesia.The caption reads,in part"---the seller claimed that it was one of a set of twenty ,made in emulation of the pusaka of the Surakarta court".I find this a rather peculiar use of the word "emulation",but if my interpretation of the writer`s meaning is correct,he means that it was made to either equal or excell the original.In fact,it does neither,and Blind Freddy can see that what we are looking at is in fact a pretty ordinary piece of workmanship with some gold thrown in.Was it originally presented to somebody as a genuine Surakarta court pusaka?At this remove,who knows?But it was apparently not sold as a genuine pusaka to the museum,thus when sold to the museum,it could not be considered a fake,although it well may have been a fake at some time prior to this sale.

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empu kumis
Member
posted 06-30-2001 17:52     Click Here to See the Profile for empu kumis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi kerislovers,

please have some patience with so many questions. As you saw english is not my mothers language. Its somtimes difficult to understand and to express my self. My dictionary is always close by. But anyway thanks a lot for your warm welcome.

------- Meteoric iron and pamor ---------
Many smithes american and european has tried to make kniveblades with good result. Myself ordered a knive blade with iron from pasir malela(I call it pamor Cilacap) Nickel 100%,
meteoric iron, pamor Luwu. The pamor Luwu comes from Soroako, Sulawesi it was a nickel mine from Canadian Nickel and is now the P.T. Aneka Tambang Nickelproduction. This not a former meteorite but different terrestrial clayores. I took two bags (46 kg) to Solo for melting and the result was 4.86% of Ni in the iron. It seems to be a lot of nickel but the ore was taken i a modern mine 10 m below the surface. We dont know where the Luwunese people took their ore and in what concentration. The contrast is not that you could immeditaly differentiate between tha layer of pamor. Only 100% Ni was brighter but also not so much. If you take a cyrogenic steel with 10 % Ni it becomes really difficult. For pamorlayers are many matrials. Phosphorus, Nickel, Carbon ?, Titaniumoxid but I dont know what Matirial is realy giving the bright colour. There is an artikel on wootzsreel written In JOM from ? The role of impurities in wootzsteel ?? Google Search engine will help if you ask for "wootzsteel". Maby its some of this traces of elements ?

------ For complete analyses you -------

must wait untill my young friend has finished his Phd on kerisses. He will write about many of my ideas and experiences. I dont know he will publish in a public edition. But it will be interesting in how many copies it could be sold.

------ Wong Desa ----------

In my eyes a fake do not need a story. What is created first the story or the fake ? The story is to help to get better prices. Its cheating peoples. For the mentioned Naga Sasra I dont need a story and I dont want to speculate about that. If you look to the iron on the big size photograph left its not a "good" piece. The angle below the nagahead is wrong and you can see the gandik was rewshaped but in bad manner, the wangun of the blade is terrible, the ornaments of the goldwork are bad, that kind of pamor (there are two staffs with torsions left right a so called pamor untiran or puntiran. Pamor untiran is a family of manipulated pamor ironlayer and dos not fit into pamor mlumah or pamor miring. Another family is pamor nginden (the term nginden is normaly used for wood grain) Nginden is what Garett mentioned as reflective pattern. But anyway this kind of pamor untiran (somne say its pamor untu walang other say its pamor blarak ngirid)is normally not used to be covered by gold. So the tukang choose the naga body not so wide, that makes sense because a pamor unterian is not so easy to make and expensive. Kerisses with naga decoration has many times only a pamor wengkon (mostly keris nem neman and many keris naga sasra atributed to Sultan Agung used a fine pamor nginden. In this case Paul is wrong the pamor nginden in already present in the 17th cent. The gold work should not disturbed by a exellent pamor. It is never a kraton piece. If you compare with so many naga sasra of the rule of Sultan Agung its a fake and the story helps to get more money. My experience is just one of 10000 kerisses is a good keris. But that do not means not to collect kerisses at all. The swindle is planned when you start to make a fake and the cheating is done if you sold the piece as an old one. I have seen so many works like this in the last 39 years so I know everythings is possible. If collectors ask them selfs many of them must agree with me that difficult pamortypes or uncommon dapurs or with mhytical animal on the gandik more intersting to collect. The same is valid for handles. The beautiful planar handles of Bali, Yogya or Solo are almost not collected. Everybudy is collecting zoomorphic or anthromorphic handles.

Who could tell me how to put pictues or attachment in the post.

empu kumis

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Rick
EEWRS Staff
posted 06-30-2001 19:39     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For pictures to be posted; if you have a website you can link to them.

Preface the URL with [IMG]URL[/img]and your pictures will be hyper-linked.

If you do not have a website simply send the pictures as a jpg. attachment to either Lee or myself in an email with any text you wish to insert and we will see to the rest.

My email is in my member profile which is the first little box above each message posted by me.

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john
Senior Member
posted 07-01-2001 02:47     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Few points from the last few posts: Owning a high end "copy"; I would too if I could never own the originals or could not afford the originals provided the workmanship are of high quality holistically. BUT originals are originals. I could accept all newly made kerises that may be modelled after some existing ones BUT NEVER any new "made to look old blades" (by artificial aging) or blades made from larger old pieces or old blades with recently inscribed gold work.

Empu Kumis comments have been most interesting and freshly informative especially with something new on Pamor, and smelting of ores. I've always wanted to know more about keris making and from what sources Empus/smiths obtain their metals/ores. Are there any good references on keris making?

There are many more questions bouncing at the back of my mind but at this juncture would not want to overload him with more than questions already asked. It seems you have a wealth of research knowledge and experiences on mainstream Indonesian kerises. Please keep on sharing......

[This message has been edited by john (edited 07-01-2001).]

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