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-   -   Keris Sundang Melayu with twist core (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=17344)

VVV 15th June 2013 04:58 PM

Keris Sundang Melayu with twist core
 
6 Attachment(s)
Like CharlesS, I also have a weak spot for the Malay versions of the large keris.
Here is my latest find with a nice twist core and a scabbard usually not seen matched with a Malay keris of this size.

Michael

Battara 15th June 2013 06:09 PM

What a nice example! I love the twistcore. Heavily etched. You can tell the unique okir work of the this piece versus that found on Moro pieces.

Sajen 15th June 2013 08:28 PM

WoW! :eek:

CharlesS 15th June 2013 09:32 PM

Super piece Michael. What dramatic twistcore.

The scabbard looks like a Sumatran keris scabbard.

What a beaut!

Gustav 15th June 2013 09:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS

The scabbard looks like a Sumatran keris scabbard.


Actually it's called Sampir Kusiwo and comes from northern Malay states. I thought, it would be more typical for Kelantan and Kedah, yet I could be wrong.

Yet the curved Loto, typical for this Sampir, surely is influenced by Palembang.

Very interesting and nice ensemble, Michael!

Spunjer 16th June 2013 12:03 AM

yowza! now that's a twistcore!!! excellent find, Michael!!!

VVV 16th June 2013 06:17 AM

Thanks,

Gustav, I did not know what the scabbard is called but I would also place it in North Malaysia.

Michael

kino 18th June 2013 05:01 PM

VVV, that is very nice addition to your collection. Amazing blade. I like the deep waves. If this was Moro, I believe some would classify it as being archaic.
At what age would you place this as?

I have a Malay Kris with a twist core blade, a similar but an ill fitting scabbard.
Congrats.

VVV 18th June 2013 05:08 PM

Thanks Kino,

I would also classify it as archaic, which is the step after proto-kris on my scale.
It is slightly below 21 1/2" over all with a 17" blade.

If you already have posted pictures of your Malay kris, please share the link?
If not, maybe you can post it, too?

Michael

A. G. Maisey 19th June 2013 04:30 AM

I have in my keeping the keris that was the State Execution Keris of Brunei, it was made and commissioned in 1842. The blade is exactly the same style.

VVV 19th June 2013 05:08 AM

Hello Alan,

I have read your earlier posts about this kris and I must admit I am very curious to see it.
Maybe you could share pictures of it with us at the forum (as it is not a Javanese keris)?
What are the measurements of your kris?

I would suspect my kris to be a bit older than the mid 1800s.

Michael

A. G. Maisey 19th June 2013 08:38 AM

Blade length 19", overall length 23.25".

Michael can you please tell me your reasons for believing this keris of yours to be older than mid-19th century?

colin henshaw 19th June 2013 08:50 AM

Not my usual field of interest - but its a great looking piece !

VVV 19th June 2013 09:40 AM

Thanks,

My reasons are based on a combination of: the size (2" shorter blade than yours and smaller than the regular mid to late 19th C kris), the flow of the waves (see Kino's comment), features at the "sorsoran"-area, the miniature pommel and the way the twist core is done.

Michael

A. G. Maisey 19th June 2013 12:24 PM

Thank you Michael.

Yes, I can understand how length of this type of keris might influence one to think it was from an earlier period.

I'm not sure that the luk form tells us anything in the absence of documented comparison pieces. I note Kino's comment, but this is not a Moro keris.

I've seen perhaps 3 or 4 of these keris over the last 30 years or so, and the features in the sorsoran are always done in the same way.

To my eye, this miring pamor is the style of work I expect to see in later pieces. The techniques and technology required to weld this type of pamor and to achieve this degree of perfection did not develop until relatively recently in the areas of keris production with which I am familiar.

Frankly, I have very little knowledge of keris outside the core areas of keris tradition, however, applying the tells that I use in my own area of expertise, I would place this blade at no earlier than the first quarter of the 19th century, and the dress as somewhat later.(19th century = 1800's)

Just as a matter of interest, what is considered to be an early date for a Moro style keris? What would be the date attached to the earliest documented example?

VVV 19th June 2013 12:41 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Alan,

I will not be home with my reference works (like Scott's work on how the Spaniards described the Philippines in the 16th C) for two weeks but here are several reference krisses, datings and most of the earlier discussion on this issue on this forum.

"archaic kris threads"

I would consider the early 19th C kris as archaic and those krisses that closely resemble an Indonesian keris as proto- or transitional kerisses.
Here is an example of a "proto-kris" that I would date as earlier than the one in my first post (next to a regular-sized Madura keris).

Michael

A. G. Maisey 19th June 2013 09:48 PM

Thank you Michael.

So the period around 1800 is considered to be about the time when these Southern Philippine swords in the form of a keris began to appear?

Thanks. That's pretty much as I had thought.

I tried the "archaic" link you provided, but it took me nowhere.

I look forward to your further comments.

kai 19th June 2013 11:37 PM

Hello Alan,

Quote:
So the period around 1800 is considered to be about the time when these Southern Philippine swords in the form of a keris began to appear?

A bit earlier at least IMHO. How much this extends into the 18th century (and even earlier) is still not well researched yet; the main problem is the scarcity of reliably provenenced museum examples.

Here's an old discussion on archaic (Moro) kris:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=241


So, what would be your estimate when twistcore-like pamor appeared in, say, central Jawa?

Regards,
Kai

A. G. Maisey 20th June 2013 12:58 AM

Thanks for your input Kai.

The question really is:-

when did complex pamor miring motifs begin to appear in Jawa?

My answer is:-

I do not know

My qualification is:-

perhaps complex pamor miring did not appear in Central Jawa until the late 18th, early 19th century; in other words at the time when the keris had already been reduced to an item of dress.

There are many reasons for this opinion, and I do not feel inclined to expand upon those reasons here, because to do so convincingly would require a very large number of words and very long time to write them. Probably complex pamor miring appeared in East Jawa and along the North Coast prior to being reasonably common in Central Jawa.

In any case, if a keris that dates from circa 1800, and of the type under discussion in this thread, is regarded as "archaic" then there is really no reason to doubt that twist pamors did exist in "archaic" keris of this type.

In any case, what seems to qualify as "archaic" for this type of keris is regarded as a rather young weapon in the core tradition of the keris.

VVV 20th June 2013 06:29 AM

Alan,

Sorry about the link, maybe the session expired.
Try yourself to search "archaic kris" on this forum and you will find several interesting threads and pictures of archaic kris.

On the dating I seem to have been unclear. I meant that the archaic kris survived into the first quarter of the 19th before being replaced by the next style in popularity. When it first appeared is more difficult to date but there seems to be a collector's consensus that it was produced at least from the early 18th C.

The kris sword is mentioned, but not pictured AFAIK, in much older sources but I do not have them with me when traveling.
Hopefully someone else can check them. Otherwise I will have a look and return to this thread in two weeks.
Scott's book would be a god start but there are several other sources that describes what the Philippines, Brunei, Borneo, North Malaysia and Sulawesi (= "the kris sword belt", the areas being close to the major Malay/Indonesian iron sources in Borneo and Sulawesi) looked like between 16 - 18th C. Both the kampilan and the kris are often mentioned in those travel descriptions from early European visitors.
At that time the kris sword still also was popular in the Central Philippines. I found this description in an extract on my computer, from Scott's book Barangay: Sixteenth Century Philippine Culture and Society, on the Visayas, page 148:

"There were two kind of swords - kris (Visayan kalis) and kampilan, both words of Malay origin. The kris was a long double-edged blade (modern specimens run to 60 or 70 centimeters), either straight or wavy but characterized by an asymmetrical flare at the end of the hilt end, called kalaw-kalaw after the kalaw hornbill.The wavy kris was called kiwi-kiwo, and so was an astute, devious man whose movement could not be predicted. Hilt were carved of any solid material - hardwood, bone, antler, even shell - and great datu warriors had them of solid gold, or encrusted with precious stones. Blades were forged from layers of different grades of steel, which gave them a veined or mottled surface - damascened or "watered." But even the best Visayan products were considered inferior to those from Mindanao and Sulu, and in turn were less esteemed than imports from Makassar and Borneo. Alcina thought the best of them excelled Spanish blades."

[Alcina was an early 17th Jesuit missionary who researched and documented the Philippines.]
Unfortunately I only had the chapter about the Visayas on my computer but, unless anyone will claim that the kris sword originated on Panay, I hope it will be of interest as a source that some kind of kris swords existed already in the 16th - 17th C in the kris sword belt.

The importance of Scott's research of the 16th C Philippines (based on Spanish sources from the same century) is "slightly corresponding" to Pigeaud's for Java in the 14th C, so I think his book will interest you.

Michael

Gustav 20th June 2013 07:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

My qualification is:-

perhaps complex pamor miring did not appear in Central Jawa until the late 18th, early 19th century; in other words at the time when the keris had already been reduced to an item of dress.



Alan, which kind of pamor would you consider as a complex pamor miring?

Has the kris in question a complex pamor miring?

A. G. Maisey 20th June 2013 08:10 AM

Thank you for your clarification Michael, and for all the additional information.

Going back 50 or so years I did do a lot reading of early publications that dealt with Malaya, Borneo and other SE Asian countries, much of what I read was Oxford University Press reprints, in fact I still have maybe a dozen large boxes of these books stacked in my garage. I used to have a very good idea of what that part of the world was like from the time of first European contact through to the early 20th century. However as my focus narrowed I lost interest in these other areas, and I have forgotten much.

I never did have much interest in the Philippines, and still do not, and I guess we can blame this disinterest in the society and culture of these other areas for my lack of knowledge of the weaponry found in those places. However, one is undoubtedly linked to the other. After the collapse of Hindu Jawa the character of the Javanese keris changed, and its common dispersal by principally Islamic traders saw it introduced into other places in Maritime SE Asia as an artifact that had virtually no relationship at all to its original purpose. Thus my loss of interest in the keris in these non-core areas.

Moving away from my excuses for ignorance, and back to a question that does have some interest for me, that is emergence of the sword in the form of a keris. Would it be reasonable to date the earliest appearance of this "sword-keris" at around the beginning of the 18th century, rather than the beginning of the 19th century? If this is so, what are the available sources for confirmation of this? If we cannot confirm, what evidence is there to support the "collectors consensus" that you mention?

Do we have a language interpretation problem in relation to the sword in the form of a keris, or is there no doubt at all that when reference is made to this artifact that word does refer to what many now refer to as the Moro Keris? (or kris, or criss, or any other generally understood synonym)

Please excuse my variant approach to this matter. You see, I do not think in terms of "nice catches", or pretty pamors or scarce and unusual forms. I think in terms of history and societal relevance. This of course means that I tend to look for verification of opinions, or if not verification, then at least some sort of logical supporting argument for an opinion.

GUSTAV

Any pamor miring is difficult, and once you go to a pamor miring you can count on using vastly more material, fuel and time. The possibility of error increases many times, and the possibility of failure increases many times.

Assessed on the basis of these factors alone, any pamor miring is by its nature a complex pamor. However, some are more complex than others, and these are pamors that are produced by twisting, splitting, re-welding, or other manipulation of the entire body of the bakalan, rather than by manipulation of the surface alone.

As examples, udan (hujan) mas is the result of surface manipulation.

The pamor in the keris that we are looking at in this thread is the result of manipulation of the entire bakalan.

VVV 20th June 2013 08:36 AM

Alan,

Oxford University is always a good source for credible references...
Anyway, Scott (who is an esteemed academic historian and not a weapon collector) is translating the 17th descriptions from the Jesuit missionary Acina (and earlier descriptions from other Spanish sources elsewhere in his book) as a kris sword (see my quote).
Other kind of blades he describes as daggers, so he seems to be quite specific on this matter (which of course is very essential for our discussion).
This means that some kind of kris swords existed already when the Spanish arrived to "the kris sword belt" in the 16th C.

To summarize:
a) Spanish sources state that there existed kris swords in the 16th C.
b) Weapon collectors state that some of the kris swords in museums and other collections - among them labelled "the archaic kris" (sword) - were made from the early 18th to the beginning of the 19th C.
c) It is not proven if the "archaic kris" (b), which we know what it looks like, is the same as the 16 - 17th C "kris sword" (a).
However, even if we at the moment do not have a picture here of the kris sword described in Scott's book, this does not imply that there is no proof of the existence of kris swords before the 18th C.

My suggestion as a start is that some forumite who can read Spanish double checks the original sources of Scott's to find out why he considers them to be a kris sword, instead of a kris dagger.
However, Scott is a historian and his publication is following academic standards. This implies that his research and conclusions already have been peer-reviewed by other historians (who probably not were sword collectors and, like you and me, biased in this matter).

Michael

PS If I would have been at home I would have been able to present other historic references than Scott/Acina for kris swords earlier than the 18th C, but this is a good start.

Gustav 20th June 2013 08:57 AM

Alan, Kai, there are well known examples of Keris with Pamor Puntiran (twistcore), which are surely made before 1700. If this pamor wasn't popular in Central Java before 1800 (yet I think, the picture in Yogyakarta is another one then in Surakarta), it most probably has the reason, the technique of Pamor Puntiran is not coming from Central Java or Java at all.

So it would be wrong to conclude, Pamor Puntiran appeared on Krisses on Philippines only after they became popular in Central Java.

A. G. Maisey 20th June 2013 09:51 AM

Gustav, as you know, last year I looked at and photographed a number of very early keris held in several European museums.

In some cases I was unable to read the pamor, either because of the poor condition of the surface, or because the surface was polished.

In some cases the pamor was surface manipulated.

In only one keris was the pamor a miring pamor. This was keris EDB.16 held in Copenhagen. This keris probably entered the collection in 1674. My note reads:- "pamor skilfully manipulated, no name"

I am not prepared to say that pamor miring did not exist in Jawa prior 1700, but it was most certainly was not widespread.

I do not now possess, and I have never possessed a genuinely old Javanese keris, that is a keris that I have good reason to believe may date from before 1700, with a complex pamor miring. I cannot recall ever having seen such a keris.

It is most probable that the skills to produce complex pattern welds were brought to Jawa by Muslim metal workers. These people settled on the North Coast and in parts of East Jawa, rather than in the hinterland. In my opinion the skills used by the people of the Southern Philippines to produce complex pattern welds were brought to the Southern Philippines by Muslim metal workers, just as they were brought to Jawa by Muslim metal workers.

However, the metal workers who took the skills to the Philippines were very probably descendants of the original craftsmen who came from outside Maritime SE Asia. The craftsmen who spread the skills through Maritime S.E. Asia very probably came from the North Coast of Jawa and Madura.

Whenever I have shown photos of the blade of my Brunei keris to knowledgeable Javanese keris authorities they have given the opinion that it is Madura work, and this is also my opinion. Not "Made in Madura", but made by a Madura craftsman, or a craftsman who was trained by a Madura craftsman.

I really do not think that Central Jawa plays a part in this spread of form and technique at all, in my opinion it all came from the North Coast, which followed on from the original trade routes of Majapahit --- which of course were a development of earlier trade routes.

Gustav 20th June 2013 10:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

In only one keris was the pamor a miring pamor. This was keris EDB.16 held in Copenhagen. This keris probably entered the collection in 1674. My note reads:- "pamor skilfully manipulated, no name"



According to the dissertation of A. Weihrauch, this keris has twistcore Pamor, 1 rod on one side, 2 welded together on other.

The keris of Sendai with some greater possibility has twistcore Pamor, Miring in any case.

The age of Kanjeng Kyai Ageng Kopek can be disputed (traditionally attributed to Demak). It also has twistcore Pamor.

The Keris of August the Strong in Dresden has a Pamor Miring, perhaps the name could be Blarak Ngirid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

It is most probable that the skills to produce complex pattern welds were brought to Jawa by Muslim metal workers. These people settled on the North Coast and in parts of East Jawa, rather than in the hinterland. In my opinion the skills used by the people of the Southern Philippines to produce complex pattern welds were brought to the Southern Philippines by Muslim metal workers, just as they were brought to Jawa by Muslim metal workers.



This is also my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

However, the metal workers who took the skills to the Philippines were very probably descendants of the original craftsmen who came from outside Maritime SE Asia. The craftsmen who spread the skills through Maritime S.E. Asia very probably came from the North Coast of Jawa and Madura.



This is very possible, yet need to be proved. I cannot quote my source, yet I have read about strong direct contacts of Philippine Sultanates with Osman Sultanate.

Spunjer 20th June 2013 10:59 AM

hello Alan,
in theory anyway, the reason moro krises is bigger than their indonesian and malaysian counterparts was because of the necessity in order to match the toledo blades of the spaniards. it has then been postulated that it was during around the era of Sultan Kudarat (reigned from 1619 to 1671) when the transition happened. the Moros had minor skirmishes with the spaniards prior to this era, but it was during Kudarat's when the three major tribes allied themselves for the first time against a common enemy.
the form of kris above (deep, pronounced and much narrower blades than their later counterparts) is regarded as the oldest type (referred to as "archaic"). i have a particular kris (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ed=1#post143776) that has a rounded tang, as oppose to the flat ones common to the later models. IMHO, this was a carry-over from when it was shorter and most likely similar to their indonesian counterparts. now the transition from the "archaic" style to the more common type is up for debate. now again, IMHO the reason for the transition to the more recent style would've been due to the widening and lengthening of moro kris.

A. G. Maisey 20th June 2013 01:31 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Gustav, I'm not sure if you realise it, but you are saying pretty much exactly the same as I am saying, that is:

I am not prepared to say that pamor miring did not exist in Jawa prior 1700, but it was most certainly was not widespread.

Of the examples you list, the Sendai keris has pamor sanak I believe. It was examined by a Javanese gentleman --- Martowikrodo or a similar name --- and he states this in his report. I've read this somewhere, but I forget where. It might be on the net.

The keris in the Rustkammer in Dresden does appear to have a blarak pamor, it may be a Javanese keris, but certainly not a Central Javanese keris, and it is a keris of exceptional quality. Didn't get to photograph this one, but I did spend a very long time looking at it through glass.

KKA Kopek is North Coast origin.

If complex pamor miring was made in Jawa prior to 1700, it was a very rare occurrence, and its manufacture would certainly have been limited to those areas that had substantial populations of Muslim immigrants and their direct descendants. This means the North Coast and parts of East Jawa.

As for EDB.16 in Copenhagen, the surface of this keris was polished and I was only able to pick up the bare outlines of the pamor, these were not sufficiently clear for me photograph the pamor pattern, nor were they sufficiently clear to permit an analysis of the way in which this pamor was constructed. I may have been able to guess at how it was constructed, but I definitely could not see it sufficiently clearly to carry out positive analysis. It would seem that Mr. Weihrauch has some abilities which I lack. It is unfortunate, but I have given undertakings that I will not publish photographs of any of the keris I examined, were I able to do so it would be very easy to see that the presentation of this blade makes it impossible to analyse the pamor construction.

Below is my notebook sketch of the outlines of this pamor.

Yes, I am aware of the direct contact of Middle Eastern Muslim clerics with areas of the Philippines, and I feel that there was probably direct trade contact as well, but I am still inclined to believe that the metal working skills used to produce pattern welded blades in the Philippines came from Jawa, not direct from a Muslim country.


SPUNJER

Yes, that round tang does seem to be fairly substantial evidence that this style of blade is closer to the roots.

The need to adequately oppose Spanish blades story has been around for as long as I've been playing with keris. Probably longer. To me it sounds pretty convincing, particularly when we look at the more substantial tang and the blade geometry in both dimensions.

However, I recall an idea put forward by one of our members here, I think perhaps Federico Malibago, that linked development to slave gathering. That idea impressed me considerably at the time. Without doing any checking on his facts or sources it really did sound like a strong possibility.

Perhaps the truth of development lays somewhere between a number of different influences, some seemingly obvious, others much less so. For instance, would it even have been possible to equip large numbers of warriors with these swords at any earlier time? The amount of material required to make a great big whacker of a sword is vastly more than is required to make a short poniard. The man hours involved? Where were the artisans? The fuel required? Charcoal --- how much manpower to produce it, let alone the gathering of primary fuel from suitable trees.

Just maybe they needed to wait until population and trade rose to a point where everything was available to produce the necessary weaponry.

As to when it happened. If I had any interest in trying to produce a believable hypothesis on this I'd begin by looking at population numbers and distribution, then I'd look at trade. When I'd identified a period that seemed to give adequate numbers in these two areas I'd go looking for literary sources. Since there seems to be some considerable interest in these keris-sword things, it surprises me a little that nobody has yet seriously got their teeth into the subject and tried to answer some of the big questions.

Gustav 20th June 2013 02:17 PM

Alan, I agree, we are actually saying the same.

The discussion for me started actually with this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

To my eye, this miring pamor is the style of work I expect to see in later pieces. The techniques and technology required to weld this type of pamor and to achieve this degree of perfection did not develop until relatively recently in the areas of keris production with which I am familiar.



For me the pefection of twistcore Pamor in Moro pieces is almost inexplicable, even more, becouse this is almost the only one Miring pattern we see in Moro blades. Just like they weren't interested in something other.

And exactly this is the thing that lets me think about Turkish Yataghans, where we encounter the same thing. No other technicques, perhaps some exeptional Adeg (like in some rare Moro blades), only twistcore, yet quite perfect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

Of the examples you list, the Sendai keris has pamor sanak I believe. It was examined by a Javanese gentleman --- Martowikrodo or a similar name --- and he states this in his report. I've read this somewhere, but I forget where. It might be on the net.



Actually I posted this article in the thread about Sendai Keris.
I can assure you, the pamor of it seems to be Miring, it could be even twistcore, yet it surely isn't Sanak. I am not allowed to show a picture of it.

A. G. Maisey 25th June 2013 11:14 PM

Gustav, I have now had the opportunity to examine perhaps the best screen photograph that is available of the Sendai keris. I have Photoshopped this image and reworked it to the limit of my capability, I have viewed the results on a high resolution screen, and then examined the screen image with a good quality magnifying glass; my eyes test at 20/20 wearing reading glasses.

In the sorsoran area of the Sendai Keris I can see some very faint, very slight white marks; in my opinion these marks, or traces, could be due to a number of reasons. I most definitely cannot see anything that would permit me to state categorically that the Sendai Keris has pamor miring.

Here is a link to the article by Wahyono Martokrido that you posted on 21st September 2012.


http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...06&page=2&pp=30


What Wahyono Martokrido says about the pamor in this keris is:-

The pamor is light grey in color, showing the patterns of curvy lines. The color of the pamor is not so contrast to that of the iron. This pamor can be categorized as pamor sanak, i.e. pamor made of different iron with so small difference in grain size and phosphorous (and arsenic) content in the metal.[13]
( the reference "13" is to Prof. Piaskowski's 1995 paper, a paper in which I had some involvement)

I think we might have to agree to disagree on this matter relating to the Sendai Keris Gustav, I can see no evidence of pamor miring, Martokrido could see only pamor sanak, and he held the thing in his hands.

I will accept that you can see firm evidence of pamor miring, but I cannot.

However, Martokrido does mention "---patterns of curvy lines---"; this indicates clearly that the pamor material has been folded and worked, but it cannot be taken as evidence that this working involved the miring technique.

Personally, I do not find the appearance of this twist pamor in Moro metal work to be so puzzling. Clearly it came from outside the area and was not an indigenous development.

There was solid, continuing trade and cultural contact between virtually all areas of Maritime SE Asia during the time in which this twist pamor in Moro weapons made its appearance; the most advanced smiths in the region during this period were those from Jawa/Madura (in this context Jawa and Madura can be considered as a single entity, the variation between the two places can be likened more to a district variation rather than anything else).

The style and execution of the pamor in the blade under discussion here, as well as other blades of this type that I personally have seen does appear to be Madurese. To my mind, this indicates a high probability that this pamor is a direct product of, or is linked to a smith, or smiths from Jawa/Madura, most likely Madura.

There is a possibility that the link for this pamor could be to some other place, and some cultural root. However, in light of the available evidence of trade and cultural contact across Maritime SE Asia, I do feel that a link to anywhere other than Jawa/Madura must be regarded as an outside possibility, rather than a probability.

I do feel that we are both on the same track here, but I think we must agree to disagree in respect of the nature of the pamor in the Sendai keris.


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