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Author Topic:   Thailand Keris??? (Pix)
Bill_Marsh
Senior Member
posted 09-26-2002 12:01     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill_Marsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
q

[This message has been edited by Bill_Marsh (edited 10-08-2002).]

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justin
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posted 09-26-2002 12:25     Click Here to See the Profile for justin   Click Here to Email justin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am still a novice but lets see how good I am at guessing.I think the blade looks to be from the peninsula and looks like it is fairly old but the sheath and handle look a little suspicious to me.

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MpuSombro
Member
posted 09-26-2002 12:42     Click Here to See the Profile for MpuSombro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks more to a Sumatran keris to me. The silver more to the Sumatran side with wrangka symbolizing water buffalo horns of the Minangkabau tribe in Sumatra. Both blade and scabbard are rather old. Nice and beautiful kris.

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zelbone
Senior Member
posted 09-26-2002 13:59     Click Here to See the Profile for zelbone   Click Here to Email zelbone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bill, you always seem to post beautiful and fascinating pieces! I believe Dave Henkel should be able to help out on this one. Nice keris!

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Henk
Senior Member
posted 09-26-2002 14:33     Click Here to See the Profile for Henk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello

I'm new in this forum but like more new members I'm also impressed by the knowledge of the members here.
I agree with MpuSombro. This keris comes from Sumatra. I have never seen such a wrangka. But it is a very nice one. The ukiran is a so called Kingfisher. Such a keris is on the top of Paul's Keris Page.
A beautiful keris.

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justin
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posted 09-26-2002 14:40     Click Here to See the Profile for justin   Click Here to Email justin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It isnt the first time I have been wrong.

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john
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posted 09-26-2002 20:47     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As Zel said, Dave would cetainly be able to help on this one. Meanwhile, I'll not spoil the fun but it's not from sumatra.

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Naga Sasra
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posted 09-26-2002 21:12     Click Here to See the Profile for Naga Sasra   Click Here to Email Naga Sasra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John, I concur and agree!

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DAHenkel
Senior Member
posted 09-26-2002 21:53     Click Here to See the Profile for DAHenkel   Click Here to Email DAHenkel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This piece is most definitely a coteng (pron. cho-teng) and comes from way up north on the Peninsula in what used to be known as Singora (song-go-roh), present day Songkhla, Thailand. Truly old ones are very rare though and I think this one may have a more recently made hilt. I don't really know enough to say 100% for sure but I suspect so leastwise. I've seen a number of these with hilts like yours turn up recently but they are a little different from the older ones. Both in terms of their construction, materials and in feel. Still its well made and attractive so you should be happy with it.

The blade and scabbard certainly look old, taking into account the limitations of digital photography. They tend to have smaller, more sturdy - almost bahari-like blades. They tend to have one of two different scabbard styles. One, like yours has more spiral daun tips and the other is more tajong like. Unlike other keris from the region the preferred wood used on these is kayu petai belalai which is reddish to brown in color and does not have much in the way of figuring or grain patterns.

I had one drop into my lap quite unexpectedly on a trip up to Pattani and almost declined, not realizing what it was, because it was in really rough shape. The keris gods were in my favor that day though and I got it at a price I could live with. Then when I took it down to Kelantan my friends there all went nuts. It took a while but I've managed to get it into presentable shape.

The bigger question for me now tough is whether those from Singora were all chased silver over wood or whether there were plain wooden ones as well. Occasionally wooden, beardless and more coteng like hilts turn up but I don't know for sure if these were coteng hilts or a variant of the tajong which comes from more towards the south in Pattani and Kelantan.

Since then I've seen a few more examples. Paul has a Sumatran keris with a coteng hilt posted on his site. It was purchased in Kedah which makes sense since there would have been quite a bit of intermingling there between Sumatran Malay's and N.E. Peninsular Malays. Artzi has one in his private collection too (I wish he would post more pictures though, hint - hint). That one was bought in Bangkok which as you will see in a moment also makes sense. There is also an example in Frey's book but the picture is very small. The magazine article has it a little better. M. Kerner also has an example but attributes it to Pattani - typical.

There has been a considerable amount of confusion regarding the provenance of these pieces. Frey attributes his first in the magazine to Kelantan and later in the book as Pattani. Kerner says its Pattani. Locals in the N.E. Peninsula though all attribute it to Singgora though and they do seem to turn up more the more north you get. All told I've seen less than 20 or 30 examples of varying quality. Apparently a lot of these ended up north in Bangkok as war booty. Paul says he's seen dozens of them in a war museum of some sort there. The most I've seen in one place was about a half a dozen pieces in a Chinese goldsmith's shop in Haadyai.

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Paul de Souza
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posted 09-27-2002 09:53     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul de Souza   Click Here to Email Paul de Souza     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have an example of an old coteng with an ivory hilt. Pictures are attached below. Unfortunately the nose has been broken sometime in the past but its a rare early form of the coteng hilt (I think).

The Blade looks Javanese/Sumatran but it is basically similar in form to the silver coteng on my website. I remember Dave telling me that the coteng have blades other than the diamond section tajongs of Pattani.Thus it explains the sumatran like blade.

Incidentally both keris were acquired in Bangkok but 10 years apart. The Arms Musuem is the armory at the basement of the Dusit Hall (?) The big western building with the Thai roof outside the old section of the Palace.

There were several cotengs mounted on the walls but not many. There was only one Tajong as far as I can remember but a few good melela blades on display. Most of the keris caught me by surprise as they had crude Javanese plena like hilt but with crude diamond section blades with no ganja - they looked massed produced. Most of the weapons were Thai Dhas or mid-19th century western style swords.

Bill - your blade is a bahari.

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BluErf
Senior Member
posted 09-27-2002 11:14     Click Here to See the Profile for BluErf   Click Here to Email BluErf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul,

The nose of the hulu definitely looks broken off, but I suspect the original nose may not have been fully ivory. Could it have been a protrusion of ivory to which a separately-made nose (gold, silver, ivory?) was attached?

From the head, I wouldn't have suspect it was a coteng hulu. Its the sitting posture - hands on knee - that struck a chord. So could the early forms have 'flatter', simpler heads, just like the early tajong hulus?

Just a couple of thoughts.

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Paul de Souza
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posted 09-27-2002 11:29     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul de Souza   Click Here to Email Paul de Souza     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bluerf,

Its a clear break - don't see any attachment points. You are right about the ahands - its an early characteristic that later disappears. When I first saw it, it didn't occur to me that it was a coteng hilt till I had a second look.

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justin
Senior Member
posted 09-27-2002 11:30     Click Here to See the Profile for justin   Click Here to Email justin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a question now.Coteng and tajong,what is the difference?I thought they were both 'kingfishers' are they different forms of kingfisher?

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Paul de Souza
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posted 09-27-2002 11:56     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul de Souza   Click Here to Email Paul de Souza     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Justin,

Its the style and form.

A coteng is smaller than a Tajong. And a Tajong has a diamond section blade with very definate characteirstics.



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justin
Senior Member
posted 09-27-2002 12:05     Click Here to See the Profile for justin   Click Here to Email justin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ahhh,thanks.I thought that coteng and tajong refered just to the hilt,so it is actually the entire keris.Thanks,I am learning more about keris everyday.

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MpuSombro
Member
posted 09-27-2002 13:49     Click Here to See the Profile for MpuSombro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Blade of coteng does`nt fit very well into the sheath and it looks a bit odd or perhaps it was made that way. Could it be `ivory hilt` not its original property because no pendokok is noticable. Correct me if I am wrong, hilt motif is more towards hindu god of the Javanese. Could it be....original hilt and sheath being replaced?

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Bill_Marsh
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posted 09-27-2002 17:55     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill_Marsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all the replies.

Paul, what is a bahari blade?

What are the characteristics?

[This message has been edited by Bill_Marsh (edited 09-27-2002).]

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Mick
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posted 09-27-2002 22:12     Click Here to See the Profile for Mick   Click Here to Email Mick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bill

Look at Paul de Souxa's post of 8/13/2002.

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BluErf
Senior Member
posted 09-27-2002 22:17     Click Here to See the Profile for BluErf   Click Here to Email BluErf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul,

It is a break, definitely. But if the dimensions of the nose is as we know it today and the nose is one piece with the body, wouldn't the piece of ivory from which it was made be gigantic?

Or perhaps the early forms had shorter noses...

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DAHenkel
Senior Member
posted 09-28-2002 02:31     Click Here to See the Profile for DAHenkel   Click Here to Email DAHenkel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, this has become quite an interesting thread. I got to thinking about Paulís posts and the two coteng examples he has and I think we may have some interesting results here. First off, I had remembered Paulís silver coteng as having come from Kedah but the fact that it comes from Bangkok may or may not poke a bit of a hole in my theory that it is mounted on a Sumatran blade and scabbard. Certainly the scabbard is absolutely nothing like anything else coming from the N.E. Peninsula but Iíve been surprised before so there is no reason why I couldnít be surprised again.

It has more resemblance with the kerises from Southern half of Sumatra cf. another keris from Paulís collection.

Now does this mean that Paulís silver coteng has a copy sheath made by a Peninsular craftsman or is it a Sumatran keris with a coteng hilt? Canít say myself, either is a possibility.

Letís assume for a moment that the blade on this keris is Peninsular. It certainly is atypical but then again so is the blade from his ivory coteng. Again I went digging and what I found was interesting after all. If we look at Artziís coteng the blade is also more akin to Paulís examples.

Like Paulís keris this one has a oval cross section, similar kembang kacang and a fairly tall ganja. I found one other picture of a similar blade but mounted in Pattani saribulan style.

So now we have four examples of simmilar blades, three mounted in coteng style and one in a neighboring Pattani style. Not surprisingly three of these also have similar luk formation Ė a style known to my Kelantanese informants as keris petola Ė literally very slight luk. Could be that blades from way up north were in this style. Still canít say for sure but it certainly looks possible.

continued below
The UBB script allows only 8 photographs per post. In order to keep sections of the text together with the intended pictures, I have pasted the remainder to my posts of 9/30/02 below - LAJ

[This message has been edited by Lee Jones (edited 09-30-2002).]

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MpuSombro
Member
posted 09-28-2002 03:11     Click Here to See the Profile for MpuSombro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your explaination makes sense very well. Thanks...looking forward to see the incoming pictures.

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Bill_Marsh
Senior Member
posted 09-28-2002 08:12     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill_Marsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Paul de Souza:
Bluerf,

You are right about the a hands - its an early characteristic that later disappears.


Could the disappearance of the hands have to do with the Muslim objections to actual representation of Hindu divinities, both human and animal on keris hilts unless made more abstract?

As mentioned in G.C. Wooley's, "The Malay Keris, its origin and development." 1947, page 71.

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DAHenkel
Senior Member
posted 09-28-2002 09:40     Click Here to See the Profile for DAHenkel   Click Here to Email DAHenkel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're right Bill. Nik Rashidin had observed that as the Tajong hilt develops it becomes more and more floralized. By the end of the 19th century the hands and arms have more or less disappeared under a mass of floral and vegetal motifs. Interestingly though this does not appear to have happened with the coteng. This may have had something to do with the fact that Singora came under Thai - and thus Buddhist - influence much earlier than Pattani. Late 18th early 19th as opposed to late 19th C. Indeed this may account for the rarity of ethnic Malay weapons from Singora. Perhaps Thai weapons came to be more popular and the Malay stle weapons died out sooner.

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Lee Jones
EEWRS Staff
posted 09-30-2002 19:25     Click Here to See the Profile for Lee Jones   Click Here to Email Lee Jones     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
DAHenkel's post of 9/28, continued

But then there is the anomaly, my own coteng.





This, contrary to Paulís memory, has a diamond cross section and is much more akin to blades which we commonly understand to be Northeastern Peninsula.


That said though it does not really come across as Pattani per-se. The greneng are not as prominent or as sharp as the usual Pattani keris.

continued below...

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Lee Jones
EEWRS Staff
posted 09-30-2002 19:38     Click Here to See the Profile for Lee Jones   Click Here to Email Lee Jones     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
DAHenkel's post of 9/28 concludes

Billís own coteng is also interesting because it has a bahari blade, the bahari being the short version of a keris panjang. His is consistent though with Peninsular style bahari blades which have typically Peninsular greneng. Here is an example.

Sumatran bahari blades have greneng more like this.

While weíre on the subject here are two examples of wooden hilts that resemble the coteng.

I have no way of telling if these are coteng or if they are proto-tajong which was Nik Dinís assertion.

Another example that is more tajong like but still lacks a beard

Finally an example of a different scabbard type than the examples posted so far.

This one has sadly lost its blade and hilt.

There are a number of different hilt forms from Java, Sumatra and the Peninsula that all resemble this form. The Coteng and Tajong are Peninsular and come from the old sultanates of Singora and Pattani/Kelantan respectively. There is quite a bit of controversy regarding their names. Some prefer ďkingfisherĒ or the Malay ďpekakaĒ this is not strictly speaking correct though since the hilt does not really represent a bird Ė more a bird like deity. Nik Din and his collaborator Waveney Jenkins are of the opinion that it represents the deity Shiva. This is because in one of Dinís examples the Tajong seems to be holding a scroll which Shiva was wont to do. Dietrich Drescher (Empu Kumis) has pointed out to me one major problem with this though. He says that in Bali, which remains Hindu to this day it would be unthinkable to represent Shiva with such exaggerated, animal-like features. Far too unrefined for one of the core deities. I personally canít get over the striking resemblance of the tajong to the Hindu deity Garuda. According to Dr. Farish Noor the brand of Hinduism practiced in Pattani was more Vaishnavite. This actually makes sense as Garuda was Vishnuís mount, thus the Vaishnavite Hinduís of Pattani would have held Garuda in high esteem and in a way he would have been symbolic of Vishnu himself.

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Bill_Marsh
Senior Member
posted 10-08-2002 23:33     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill_Marsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
q

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