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-   -   Keris Malela Unduk Unduk (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=18896)

Gustav 9th August 2014 10:32 AM

Keris Malela Unduk Unduk
 
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Dear All,

there are some pictures of beautiful Keris Malela from Malay Peninsula, especially in old UBB Forum, yet none of older Keris Unduk Unduk. The post of Dave Henkel in this old thread

http://www.vikingsword.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/001573.html

is the only information available to me about this quite fancy form of Keris. As mentioned in that thread, old pre-WWII examples are very rare, during the last years I have seen only one old Keris Unduk Unduk for sale in Europe.

This one is only of average quality, yet it could be pre-WWII indeed. Like almost all new ones, the other old Keris Unduk Unduk I have seen had Sogokan going until the tip of blade - the maker of my blade apparently didn't want to take the risk, as he was clearly struggling with the shape of Luk (they are not so well done one should expect on a Keris Malela coming from Terengganu) and the carving of Ricikan. The pierced-through parts of Greneng and Jenggot (are they perhaps symbolising foam of sea ?) are quite well done - on many contemporary examples they look somewhat awkward.

The sheath, Pipit Teleng hilt and Pendokok are all Terengganu. Interesting to note, this form of Pendokok still has exactly eight petals, referring to lotus as a seet of a deity.

Gustav 9th August 2014 10:36 AM

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More pics:

Gustav 10th September 2015 09:37 AM

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Here are the picture and two close-up extracts of the only old Keris Unduk-Unduk I have seen so far.

Sajen 13th September 2015 02:22 PM

Hello Gustav,

great keris also when it is maybe not very old, thank you very much for sharing. :)

Regards,
Detlef

Gustav 18th March 2016 02:59 PM

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Found one more - acquired 1928, hilt seems to be Akar Bahar. Blade could be Gonjo Iras, which possibly means a lot of dificulties carving Sraweyan and Blumbangan.

Gavin Nugent 15th June 2017 07:14 AM

provenance
 
Just doing a little light reading....I seemed to have missed this last year Gustav, thank you for sharing, this outs to rest the question of the form being new or old, referring to claims but some collectors that this is only a later 20th century design...

Gavin

alexish 15th June 2017 08:32 AM

Indonesian made malela-like keris
 
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Just for reference, I enclose pictures of an Indonesian-made malela-like keris for your comment.

A. G. Maisey 26th June 2017 02:00 PM

Alexish, this keris that you have posted a photo of is a very recent, current era keris.

The wrongko is attempting to be something that it is not. The carving and finishing is crude, it is trying to be a Bugis form, from where I don't know, but it is nothing at all like any wrongko of this broad general Bugis style that I have ever seen.

The pendongkok was very probably made in Surabaya, or at least marketed through East Jawa. I cannot see enough detail of the hilt to comment.

The blade is another story.
This is a very good example of a Kemardikan blade. The level of skill that is displayed in this blade appears to be of a very high standard.

As current era keris art it is a very good keris.

Chop up the wrongko and use it for firewood.

Have the blade re-dressed in a traditional Javanese style. If this keris belonged to me it would go into a very high quality East Javanese sandang walikat.

David 26th June 2017 11:19 PM

Well, i don't completely disagree with what you say here Alan, although this thread has been specifically about Keris Unduk Unduk, not all Keris Malela, so it does seem a little off topic for they thread. It does seem to be a well crafted modern era blade though.
For me personally, while probably made outside of Malaysia, i would hesitate to dress this blade in East Jawa form since the ricikan seems to embrace many elements that are specifically non-Javanese. :shrug:

A. G. Maisey 27th June 2017 12:22 AM

I agree with you David, it is not about those sea-horse things, but it is about keris, and I doubt that Alexish is sufficiently advanced in keris knowledge to discern the fine variations in varying forms of keris. To an uneducated eye there is sufficient similarity in the ornamentation of the sorsoran in Gustav's sea-horse and Alexish's kemardikan to consider both are of a type.

As for ricikan in Alexish's keris being non-Javanese, well, the rules changed when the Jakarta Boys decided that we now had a legitimate name for current era keris. The new tangguh was Kemardikan. These days just about anything goes, it is art in the form of a keris, and Alexish's keris is pure kemardikan, it makes no pretense to be anything else, thus it does not need to conform to tangguh parameters set down in earlier times.

My preference would be for a good quality SW wrongko simply because it is a blade that should be appreciated for its own sake, not because it is part of a sociological phenomenon, and I would choose a Jawa Timur SW because they tend to be a bit more decorative than the Jawa Tengah ones, which would permit the top of the wrongko to follow the top of the gonjo. In any case, this kemardikan blade comes from Jawa Timur.

But if you reckon its too far off-topic to be here, why not open a new thread for it and shift it?

David 27th June 2017 05:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
I agree with you David, it is not about those sea-horse things, but it is about keris, and I doubt that Alexish is sufficiently advanced in keris knowledge to discern the fine variations in varying forms of keris. To an uneducated eye there is sufficient similarity in the ornamentation of the sorsoran in Gustav's sea-horse and Alexish's kemardikan to consider both are of a type.

You are most probably correct about Alexish not recognizing the difference between these two forms of keris. Hopefully by bringing the matter up he might now knows better. ;)

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
As for ricikan in Alexish's keris being non-Javanese, well, the rules changed when the Jakarta Boys decided that we now had a legitimate name for current era keris. The new tangguh was Kemardikan. These days just about anything goes, it is art in the form of a keris, and Alexish's keris is pure kemardikan, it makes no pretense to be anything else, thus it does not need to conform to tangguh parameters set down in earlier times.

I would tend to disagree. Though this blade clearly mixes aspects of styles of blade making i believe there is a pretense towards the Malay peninsula here in the intricate open carvings on the blade as well as the faux batu lapak at the base of the blade, which, though seen on Jawa blades is much more common on Malay keris AFAIK.
Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
But if you reckon its too far off-topic to be here, why not open a new thread for it and shift it?

Frankly Alan you should feel free to discuss this blade right here if it pleases you. I don't think it worth the trouble to move to its own thread, but if Alexish would like more discussion on it he is certainly free to do so. :)

A. G. Maisey 27th June 2017 10:23 PM

David, the Jakarta based keris group of people did change the rules.

This blade is pure Kemardikan, and that places it outside any traditional framework. It does not pretend to be anything other than what it is, it is not pretending to be Peninsula, nor Sumatran, nor Javanese. Nope. Its Kemardikan and proud of it. It does definitely have some East Javanese characteristics in there as well, but its not pretending to be East Javanese either.

Yes, I agree with you, in older, more traditionally made blades we do find more open-work in Peninsula blades, however since the late 1980's Sumenep, and Sumenep influenced craftsmen, have been making keris blades that display open-work. I had one some years ago that was all open work, top to bottom, a total filigree job.

If we take a look at "Court Arts of Indonesia" --- Helen Ibbotson Jessup, we can see a number of examples of open-work in the broad expanse of Javanese art. Perhaps the most frequent use of open-work as a Javanese art attribute can be found in wayang puppets, and especially in the gunungan.

In keris we can find limited openwork in keris of royal quality, and in other tosan aji. In "Court Arts ---" there is a very nice keris betok that is attributed to the 19th century (a false attribution actually, but that is a different story) that is completely filigreed with a Kekayon motif (Tree of Life, which refers to the Gunungan).

Open work, or filigree work, or krawang work in keris and in other art forms , is not exclusive to objects from the Malay Peninsula, it is common in Jawa, and I think that further detailed research would show that in fact it occurs right across the Indonesian Archipelago.

David 28th June 2017 05:30 AM

I sorry i was not more clear Alan. I did not mean to imply that such open spaces carvings don't exist on keris across the archipelago. However, to my eye the style of the vegetal motif carved into this blade looks distinctly Malay. Your mileage may vary. ;)

A. G. Maisey 28th June 2017 06:43 AM

I guess its pretty much a matter of what each of us can see, to me, this lung-lungan motif in Alexish's keris looks no different to a thousand other lung-lungan examples from all across the region. Isolate it from the keris, put it on a plain background and I couldn't say with any authority where it had been created.

alexish 28th June 2017 09:52 AM

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With regards to the sarung of the new Indonesian Malela-like keris, it is actually based on a peninsular Malaysia design. Please see attached pictures. This sarung form is called Kusriwo.

David 28th June 2017 04:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexish
With regards to the sarung of the new Indonesian Malela-like keris, it is actually based on a peninsular Malaysia design. Please see attached pictures. This sarung form is called Kusriwo.

I believe that your final product is arrived at much in the way of that old game of "telephone". That is when someone is given a complex sentence and it is whispered in another's ear down the line until at the end of that line the sentence that is repeated back has only a vague resemblance to the original.
The Malay Kusriwo sampir you present here is already a modern interpretation with some artistic license and flourishes, perhaps a bit more extravagant than the form originally intended. Once in the hands of your Madurese (?) carver that form becomes even more abstracted from what one would expect to see in a Kusriwo sarung.

A. G. Maisey 28th June 2017 11:29 PM

Yes Alexis, David is absolutely correct, the scabbard you have shown a pic of is already a non-traditional form.

I personally feel that there is nothing really wrong with modern interpretations of the old forms, this has happened all throughout keris history, and in fact it is probably one of the reasons for the extremely long time that the keris as an object form has been around so long:- the form and its interpretation changes to suit the needs of the current environment.

Perhaps the important thing is that we recognise what it is that we're looking at and categorise it accordingly. If we regard this rather exuberant scabbard form as a current era, artistic enhancement that uses the keris form as a canvas and then paints upon it, then we have a legitimate object.

It is a similar thing to what happened with the arch-typical Balinese "souvenir keris". These began to appear --- as near as I can work out --- some time during the 1960's. The early ones used old blades, and the scabbard was carved from black ebony, often the carving was of a very high standard. These older "souvenir" keris have now become collectable in their own right, and it is probably correct to say that no representative keris collection that includes Balinese keris is complete without an example of one of these "souvenir" keris.

But as we moved into the 1970's and then the 1980's the quality of these keris fell through the floor, and the later ones are not much good at all.

The point to this rather long comment is this:- if we are going to focus our collecting on current production, non-traditional types of keris, then what we are collecting is modern art, using the keris as a canvas. In this case we need to apply the same standards as are applied by any collector of modern art in selecting what is collectable and what is not collectable.

Those standards embrace basically two things:- form and quality of execution and materials.

Form can be a subjective judgement.

Understanding of quality needs to be learnt.


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