Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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scratch 30th July 2008 03:33 AM

First Keris acquired
6 Attachment(s)
G'day, :)
I purchased this keris locally, I liked the way it felt in the hand and the blade looked old to me. Could this be a short Bali keris? I'm guessing the hilt and mendak are newer? The scabbard fits blade. I have also included a hilt that I guess is modern?
Blade length from hilt 14 3/4 in.
Blade thickness at hilt 1/2 in.
Comments on age and origin would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,


Marcokeris 30th July 2008 04:10 AM

The two hits seems to be new
The mendak too
(Bali) blade and sarong old

scratch 30th July 2008 10:42 AM

Thank you for confirming origin Marcokeris :)
I am also happy to learn that blade and sarong are old, pre 1900's?
What would a hilt and mendak congruent to the age and style of blade look like? I guess this is quite a common blade and scabbard, yet it has led me to become enthusiastic about learnig and hopefully acquiring a few more keris, I do like the larger Bali pieces :)



David 30th July 2008 03:21 PM

It is certainly in Bali dress, but i am not convinced that the blade is Balinese. It looks more Javanese to my eyes.
I agree that the sarong is older while the hilt(s) and the uwer are new. Nothing wrong with that. :)
Your Bali hilt is no great piece of carving, but it has a nice expression IMO. I like it. An older hilt wouldn't necessarily be all that different. There are countless styles of Bali hilts.

scratch 30th July 2008 10:03 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Thank you for your comments David :)
Would that be East Java?
It feels like a practical piece to me :shrug:

scratch 31st July 2008 12:09 AM

4 Attachment(s)
If it is helpful, here are some different blade perspectives.
I have given blade a light etch and can see a pamor?



Marcokeris 31st July 2008 04:36 AM

Originally Posted by scratch
Thank you for your comments David :)
Would that be East Java?
It feels like a practical piece to me :shrug:

From this pictures the hilt could be older.It's difficul to understand the age from a photo.There is no FEELING!
Is the surface smooth or not ? How is the colour/aspect of the hole on the bottom ?

Henk 31st July 2008 08:55 AM

I think this keris is from Bali or Lombok.
The blade was rather neglected, but in my opinion it was a polished blade.
An attractive ukiran. Hard to tell if it is an old one from the picture. Wrangka seems to have some age. The gandar is a more recent replacement.

You better etch the blade with warangan to get the pamor out again.

ganjawulung 31st July 2008 10:19 PM

Originally Posted by scratch
G'day, :)
I purchased this keris locally, I liked the way it felt in the hand and the blade looked old to me. Could this be a short Bali keris? I'm guessing the hilt and mendak are newer? The scabbard fits blade. I have also included a hilt that I guess is modern?

The blade looks old to me too, Daniel (just guessing, from pics only). And also good garap (workmanship). But no matter, whether it is balinese, lombok or javanese blade, the warangka is suitable for it. IMHO, maybe it will be better if you would add balinese style silver pendhok to cover the gandar (specially ordered by the owner). Good timoho wood "pelokan" (upper part of the warangka), old balinese style, but with different "gandar" (lower part of the warangka or scabbard).
How to add the silver pendhok? I think you may send the warangka only, to someone in Bali (I don't know, maybe in Celuk near Ubud or Sukawati, Gianyar Bali) or to Jogjakarta (Java). There are a couple of silver carvers in Kota Gede, near Jogjakarta who could do it...

scratch 1st August 2008 12:48 AM

I understand what you say about photos Marcokeris. I lack the experience to tell handles/ukirans age, It shows smoothness in areas of possible hand contact, whether this is thru handling or artificial, I can't say. Who does the figure represent? I had thoughts of a Balinese dancer or hindu deity?
Hello Henk! Your thoughts and comments are always very appreciated :)
I have used 0000 steel wool and mineral oil in preparation for a traditional style etch that the previous owner is providing ingredients and instructions for. I am interested in seeing the results, if all goes well.
Thanks for your interest and suggestions Ganjawulung :)
I'm glad that you mentioned the blade was of good workmanship, I had thought it wellmade but lack any comparisons. Where older keris all crafted by Empu or did a graded system of keris bladesmiths exist? There is a box of keris bits and pieces that includes a few metal lower scabbard/gandars that I may acquire, as well two books "The Kris mystic weapon of the Malay world" and "Kris Gli Invicibili"
The keris seems to be a subject of much depth.


scratch 18th August 2008 06:53 AM

First warangan attempt
4 Attachment(s)
I was hoping for a darker stain, perhaps I should readminister process?
Any thoughts on pamor please? Random or planned, neither?
I am liking keris very much :)
Thank you in advance for your time.

Kind regards,

Dan :)

Rick 18th August 2008 02:07 PM

The handle is quite nice; I think I see the remains of a finish; is it painted or gilded Scratch ?

I can see pamor but it looks very minimal and scattered; or maybe it's just the picture ?
What staining solution was used ?
Warangan ?


scratch 18th August 2008 10:55 PM

The mix I used for staining was white arsenic and lime juice/warangan. I may have made the paste to runny. I sat mix for 15 mins. Left mix on blade for 15 mins, rinsed, then reapplied mix. Left for 15 mins rinsed, dried. This was my first attempt and any advice will be gratefully received. I had thought pamor came in both minimal and intricate forms?
Indeed, My camera skills/tools are not the best, I do try.
The handle may have had some black substance on it that has been removed :shrug: I cant be sure.
I have a Bali/Lombok piece that also needs staining.
Thanks for your interest Rick :)


Dan :)

A. G. Maisey 18th August 2008 11:57 PM

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Scratch, somewhere in the Forum posts are instructions for staining that I wrote. I don't know where they are, but maybe somebody can help.

Staining takes time. 15 minutes + 15 minutes is not even a beginning.

The last stain job I did took over a week in pineapple juice to clean, a few hours on detailing, and then two days of staining before I was happy with the result.

The image is of a blade I made some years ago.This was a swine of thing to stain. I worked on it on and off for the best part of a week. I cleaned it off and started again more times than I can remember.

I hope you are using laboratory quality white arsenic. Industrial quality can create some pretty interesting effects, like reds and greens and yellows and blues.

Rick 19th August 2008 02:57 AM

I think this may be the blade Alan is referring to . :)

Battara 19th August 2008 03:09 AM

Didn't know there was such a huge difference in arsenics! :eek:

A. G. Maisey 19th August 2008 03:17 AM

Yes Rick, that's the one.

I didn't realise that arsenic quality made any difference either---until I drove myself half crazy with trying to get decent results from industrial quality.

scratch 19th August 2008 10:04 AM

A G Maisy,
Thank you for your words :)
Unfortunately windows of opportunity for this particular staining process are not frequent. I will be patient. I will find staining thread with search again. I have Freys book. I believe it to be laboratory arsenic trioxide. It produces black? I will check with source, thanks for the alert.
What a lovely blade!
The dapor is meaningful in intent/Looks good. The requirements to forge such art are unknown to me. Thank you for sharing :) What is this bade dapor called? Is it chengkrong?
The blade I posted does look nice in a Java handle.
Hello Battara,


David 19th August 2008 12:32 PM

Originally Posted by scratch
I believe it to be laboratory arsenic trioxide. It produces black?

The color produced is dependent upon the types of iron used in the blade. Black is not always the result. Shades of gray are common.

A. G. Maisey 19th August 2008 12:55 PM

No Scratch, not cengkrong, pasopati.

Why do you mention Frey's book? Which edition?

scratch 23rd August 2008 01:55 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Pasopati,a lovely shape, Are modern made keris of this type availiable to collectors?
I am having trouble finding info on cengkrong, direction please?
A G maisey, "The Kris, Edward Frey, second edition" mentions a warangan method, is what I should have wrote. Does Freys method produce reliable results?
Is this an acceptable change? I hope to succeed in staining the blade with time.


Dan :)

A. G. Maisey 23rd August 2008 08:58 PM

Yes, it is possible to find current era blades of dhapur pasopati, however, they will not look like the one I made, as this is my interpretation. They will have the same overall appearance, and they will have the same features, but they will look different. Its the same with any art:- ask 20 artists to draw a tree, and each of those trees will be different.

I've got a cengkrong around somewhere, when I find it I'll post a pic.

The method published by Frey is in one of the later editions of his book. I do not know what he published, so I cannot comment.

The level of colour you have achieved is sufficient to read the pamor, so its OK. Not yet good, but OK.

A. G. Maisey 24th August 2008 05:19 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Two pics of cengkrongs.

The physical keris was made by Empu Pauzan Pusposudgo in 1983 and the foto of a certificate accompanies it. It should be noted that although Pak Pauzan is commonly referred to as "empu", he himself rejects this title, and prefers to be known as a pandai keris. This was the ninth keris made by Pak Pauzan.

The foto of the drawing is from a guidebook of keris dhapur.

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