Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Old Tajong or Coteng??? (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=2007)

VVV 7th March 2006 10:51 PM

Old Tajong or Coteng???
 
6 Attachment(s)
At first I thought this Keris was a Coteng.
But after reading in the book "Spirit of Wood" it looks like what is described as a
Tajong 1 Hulu Coteng, the oldest version (page 120 and 168).
And it doesn't look like other Coteng I have seen.
What's also strange is the "head scarf" that I haven't seen on any other Tajong or Coteng.
I would really appreciate comments from the more knowledgeable on Malay/Patani Keris.
And is it a Tajong, Coteng or both? :confused:

Michael

BSMStar 8th March 2006 01:02 AM

6 Attachment(s)
Micheal,

I do not know very much about these... I have a silver one that I would like to know more about too... I do not believe it falls into either of the above categories.

nechesh 8th March 2006 03:30 AM

Michael, i don't know all that much about keris on the peninsula side, but i must say i love this one. Any chance of some better pics of the blade? It does seem to me to fit more clearly in the tajong catagory than coteng, but it is an unusual one. I am sure that some of the peninsula crowd will have better info for you. :)

Alam Shah 8th March 2006 04:30 AM

An 18th Century Coteng style...
 
VVV, your's looks like an 18th Century coteng hilt. But your sheath form is unusual.

Reference:
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/taman.sari/...iran_pekaka.htm

BSMStar, your's is a coteng...a pretty one. ;)

Some write-up on Tajong and Coteng
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/taman.sari/...tion/patani.htm

Some other examples...
http://www.kampungnet.com.sg/module...lbum.php&page=9

Hope it helps... :)

VVV 8th March 2006 11:00 AM

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Thanks Alam Shah,

I forgot to look in the article of CÚdric le Dauphin that is referred to on the great reference site you linked to. I will do so later tonight.
At first glance the conclusions of the hilt evolution in the Le Dauphin article seems to differ from the ones in Spirit of Wood?
But I have to check if that's the case later.

Below is an additional picture of the blade to Nechesh.
No visible pamor as you can see (dapur Pandai Saras?).

I also have the silver Coteng version but I have heard that the oldest hilts are made of wood.
Is that correct?

Michael

BluErf 8th March 2006 03:28 PM

Hi,

VVV's keris is a coteng. The hilt does not have a beard, and has a very 'flat' head. Tajongs have boxier heads and a beard. This coteng is unusual in that it has that highly exaggerated garuda mungkur at the back of its crown. The sheath is of a very old form. Its amazing it survived. Please take extreme good care of it because it is very rare. Try not to do anything drastic to it please. The blade is of the pandai saras form. However, most cotengs I've seen do not come with pandai saras blades. They come with this sort of blade:

http://pachome1.pacific.net.sg/~dspf/

Hence, there is a possibility (I'm not 100% sure) that this piece may be 'put together'. Even then, its well-fitted, so it still looks good. Some Bugis-influenced blades can also be found in coteng kerises.

Cotengs and tajongs are very closely related. In some cases, they are almost hard to tell apart:

http://www.kampungnet.com.sg/module...=view_photo.php

The above hilt is boxy like a tajong, but has no beard. Even more confusing - the sheath form is usually associated with cotengs.

BSMStar's hilt is probably a modern reproduction made in Indonesia. The beak is not too correct, and the "front-view" proportions is not quite correct. The hilt was probably made based on a photo, because the proportions are more or less correct when viewed from the side, but not from the top. Plus, the motifs on the hilt looks very S. Sumatran, not N Malayan.

VVV 8th March 2006 04:05 PM

Hi BlueErf,

Thanks for your comments.
I agree with your way to differ the Coteng from the Tajong but after reading Spirit of Wood I am confused. Do you have the book?
The Tajong 1 in their evolution of Hulu Tajong is just like a Coteng, even called Tajong 1 Hulu Coteng, but still is described as a Tajong. :confused:
On the blade I also agree but can assure you that I at least haven't fiddled with it. ;)
It fits perfect in the scabbard so if some exchage has been done maybe it's a change of only the hilt?
But in this interesting thread I noticed a Coteng (DA Henkel's) that have a similar blade as mine?
http://www.vikingsword.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/001218.html

So maybe it could be original?

Michael

VVV 8th March 2006 06:05 PM

I have now been able to check the source of the link that Alam Shah shared

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/taman.sari/...iran_pekaka.htm

It's seems to my eyes as if the article from CÚdric Le Dauphin is using the pictures from the old web site of D A Henkel on Peninsular Keris as illustration on the evolution of the Tajong?
BUT one hilt is then mislabeled and that's the one resembling mine which is dated 17th C at DA Henkel's site and 18th C in the article of Le Dauphin?
In the book Spirit of Wood it's dated pre 18th C.
I presume the change of dates is based on C Le Dauphin's own research and that he disagrees with the conclusions of D A Henkel, Nik Rashidin Nik Hussein as well as the authors of the book?
The article of Le Dauphin is very well written and impressive so I guess he has his reasons for changing the dating?

Michael

PUFF 9th March 2006 02:56 AM

This construction 's not very famous. That 's why you gouy can't find it from documents published in the west.
According to an kris expert this piece might be "Sonkhla-Nakorn(SriDhamMaRaj)" (northern Malaya) design. The hilt is "streight beak Coteng". This construct mostly held by buddhist people in the class of artist or shaman medic.

Here 's a similar piece with the same construct...



Another piece...

nechesh 9th March 2006 03:42 AM

Sorry Puff, but i just don't see it. The only similarities here are in the hilts and even those have many subtle differences. The blades are very different dapurs and the sheaths are also very different styles and also lacks the bands. Is the hilt the only thing that determines the identity of this keris as coteng? How can you ID this keris as Sonkla-Nakor when it is so structurally different from the examples you present? :confused:

PUFF 9th March 2006 04:13 AM

I agree with you that the depurs are different and the sheaths are totally different. So, I just ID from its Coteng hilt which is quite unique for Kris from Songkhla and northern malaya provinces.

BluErf 9th March 2006 03:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by VVV
Hi BlueErf,

Thanks for your comments.
I agree with your way to differ the Coteng from the Tajong but after reading Spirit of Wood I am confused. Do you have the book?
The Tajong 1 in their evolution of Hulu Tajong is just like a Coteng, even called Tajong 1 Hulu Coteng, but still is described as a Tajong. :confused:
On the blade I also agree but can assure you that I at least haven't fiddled with it. ;)
It fits perfect in the scabbard so if some exchage has been done maybe it's a change of only the hilt?
But in this interesting thread I noticed a Coteng (DA Henkel's) that have a similar blade as mine?
http://www.vikingsword.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/001218.html

So maybe it could be original?

Michael


Hi Michael,

Yes I have the spirit of wood book. The tajong and coteng are very closely related. It is almost certain that they arose from the same original form, but for some reason evolved differently. The coteng form would seem to be the more primitive form. I think it really depends on how one wants to classify such hilts. I know there are people who consider cotengs a form of tajong. Well, I'd just leave it as 'they're closely related'. I can't say much about the dating except that there's a lot of guess-work and gut feel in those.

Blade-wise, the old cotengs do not have pandai saras blades. Dave's blade is not a pandai saras. Its a form of bahari blade. Note that it has no kembang kacang, and does not have the diamond profile that extends through the ganja. And yes, bahari is the other form of blade found in cotengs.

Your sheath form is the same as Paul's example (the ivory hilted one with the broken nose). Your sheath has suffered some damage to the dauns (the 'leaves' at both end to the sheath), but it is still in quite good condition.

The cotengs are found in the Songkhla/Singora area in present day southern Thailand. They are generally found in areas North of where Tajongs would be found. Crudely speaking, North yields more cotengs, South yields more tajongs. It's not a very big area, hence making cotengs one of the rarest keris forms around. There are quite a fair bit of variation in blade and sheath forms that are not properly documented, so we are quite 'in the dark'. The amount of variations almost suggest that each district may have a slightly different form of the keris.

And finally, yes, your coteng could be original. At any rate, please maintain it well for posterity! Remember to use wood oil (with oil like "Old English") a few times a year, and clean the blade with light neutral oil (wipe the blade dry of the oil). Sorry for nagging, but you are in possession of a very rare specimen (even amongst the rare cotengs).

BluErf 9th March 2006 03:18 PM

Thanks to PUFF for posting the coteng pics! I appreciate that! Any more pics of those examples please (especially the 2nd one)? :)

VVV 9th March 2006 06:00 PM

Thanks all for your comments and posting of examples.
Be assured BluErf, I will take good care of this Keris.
And thanks also for explaining more about the different blade forms.

How different was the old cultural traditions in the neighbouring states of Songkhla/Singora and Pattani?

Michael

BluErf 10th March 2006 02:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by VVV
How different was the old cultural traditions in the neighbouring states of Songkhla/Singora and Pattani?



Now, this sounds like a PhD thesis topic. I'm afraid this is very much beyond me. :)

Pattani was an old Malay kingdom that was the successor to the legendary Langkasuka kingdom of which not much is known. The Langkasuka kingdom came to being in the early part of the first millennium, and was constantly subject to invasions from other powers such as the Sri Vijaya empire from Sumatra, the Chola empire from India, and later on, Siam. Singora is the old name for Songkhla, I believe, and it exists on the northern boundaries of the Pattani empire. It probably was not under direct rule of Pattani, but like many other smaller states then, sweared allegiance and fealty under the Mandala system of rule. The people living in the areas of Singora and Pattani thus have very close cultural ties.

If we look at the kerises from the 2 regions, those coming from the Pattani "heartlands" would seem to be more 'homogenous', of a readily identifiable class and type, with very high quality works available. The kerises from Songkhla/Singora tend to be more of a hodge-podge mix, possibly imported from various regions. the number of finer kerises from this region would seem to be a lot harder to find. This could of course be due to the relative rarity of the kerises from that region in the first place. But I would hazard that the Pattani "heartland" would be some sort of a 'technological and cultural centre' which creates the finest kerises, and the technology and styles are 'exported' to the fringe areas such as Songkhla/Singora. What applies to the kerises could have applied to other cultural traditions, I think.

VVV 10th March 2006 07:53 AM

Thanks BluErf for sharing this info!
20% of your PhD at the VVV Viking University is completed and approved with this excellent summary. Look forward to the rest of your thesis on Coteng and Tajong Keris...

Michael

Alam Shah 10th March 2006 01:02 PM

Book...
 
Hi all, An interesting read would be,

History of The Malay Kingdom of Patani, by Ibrahim Syukri.
(translated by: Conner Bailey and John N. Miksic)
Ohio University, Monographs in International Studies
Southeast Asia Series, No. 68
ISBN: 0-89680-123-3

No Coteng or Tajong form, but will be of particular interest to those seeking to understand the persistence of conflict in southern Thailand. :)

BluErf 10th March 2006 01:15 PM

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Here's a keris that went on ebay a while back. It looks like a proto-coteng/tajong from Sumatra.

It has South Sumatran motifs, and it looks a bit like the typical Sumatran garuda form (see last picture), but at the same time, it has the coteng/tajong characteristics - the posture of the arms and knees, the boxy head, square mouth with fangs, beginning of a elongated nose, the makara at both sides of the head with the awan larat motif.

The other hilt form which may be the ancestor of the coteng/tajong comes from the Tegal area in Java. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of this form. This hilt form is a rashaksa form, but it also has the beginning of an elongated nose.

Andrew 10th March 2006 01:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by VVV
Thanks BluErf for sharing this info!
20% of your PhD at the VVV Viking University is completed and approved with this excellent summary. Look forward to the rest of your thesis on Coteng and Tajong Keris...

Michael



lol. :D

VVV 10th March 2006 01:54 PM

BluErf,

Do you mean the Dursana hilt?

Michael

BSMStar 10th March 2006 08:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BluErf
BSMStar's hilt is probably a modern reproduction made in Indonesia. The beak is not too correct, and the "front-view" proportions is not quite correct. The hilt was probably made based on a photo, because the proportions are more or less correct when viewed from the side, but not from the top. Plus, the motifs on the hilt looks very S. Sumatran, not N Malayan.


I believe my ignorance is so bad that I do not have to plead ignorance in this area... :o :o :o

It may be my understanding or my definition of "reproduction"... but it seems that this Hulu certainly was not made to "fool" anyone into thinking this is an old Tajong or Coteng. I have never seen any thing like it before or since, so I am not sure what is being reproduced (or faked). It would seem to be something that was custom made? (It is made of silver, covering over a gray-black horn material.) Do you see a lot of this exact Hulu around? Or is it something more unique?

Being modern, that's OK (although, it took a good cleaning to get all of the oxidation off, some being copper based oxides at the "wing" joints - so it has been around a little while, a few hairline cracks, dents) ... it would seem that if this is a "typical" modern reproduction, one would expect to see more of them. Or is this just a custom piece that was made awhile back, that is not a "true" Tajong or Coteng. It could not have been "cheap" to make... I have seen some real pieces of junk out there, this one fairly nice (and fairly large too).

I like VVV's Hulu too!!! :D :D :D

Love these bird hilts!

nechesh 10th March 2006 09:09 PM

I am with you on this one B, i don't think it is correct to refer to your hilt as a "reproduction", just another in the vast myiad of variations to be found in the art of the keris and keris dress. And it is a very nicely crafted hilt indeed. :)

BluErf 11th March 2006 01:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BSMStar
I believe my ignorance is so bad that I do not have to plead ignorance in this area... :o :o :o

It may be my understanding or my definition of "reproduction"... but it seems that this Hulu certainly was not made to "fool" anyone into thinking this is an old Tajong or Coteng. I have never seen any thing like it before or since, so I am not sure what is being reproduced (or faked). It would seem to be something that was custom made? (It is made of silver, covering over a gray-black horn material.) Do you see a lot of this exact Hulu around? Or is it something more unique?

Being modern, that's OK (although, it took a good cleaning to get all of the oxidation off, some being copper based oxides at the "wing" joints - so it has been around a little while, a few hairline cracks, dents) ... it would seem that if this is a "typical" modern reproduction, one would expect to see more of them. Or is this just a custom piece that was made awhile back, that is not a "true" Tajong or Coteng. It could not have been "cheap" to make... I have seen some real pieces of junk out there, this one fairly nice (and fairly large too).

I like VVV's Hulu too!!! :D :D :D

Love these bird hilts!


Well, 'reproduction' does not mean it is mass produced. It could be a custom reproduction. If one looks at the traditional forms and place of origin, this silver hilt would be an 'oddity'. True, it could be be the 'first of a new genre', but until we see this sort of hilt widely adopted, it would continue to be an 'oddity'. Its not to say that this hilt is bad quality or anything, but just to make it clear to everyone what we are looking at, especially if we are talking about the archetypal cotengs and tajongs. :)

BluErf 11th March 2006 01:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by VVV
BluErf,

Do you mean the Dursana hilt?

Michael


A picture would be helpful to make sure we are on the same page. :)

VVV 11th March 2006 06:33 AM

1 Attachment(s)
BluErf,

It's on page 124 in Karsten Sejr-Jensen's book.
I think it's this one from the Tropen photo archive?

Michael

PS Nice hilt you picked up at eBay!

BluErf 11th March 2006 03:41 PM

Oh, I didn't bid on that hilt. I just collected the pictures for reference. Costs too much to buy every interesting keris... :p

Yes, the hilt you posted is the one. See the posture, hand signs, the crown, the makara by the side of his head, and even the anklets that are very often seen on tajong hilts. It has all the essential features of a proto-coteng/tajong, and a long nose to boot. :)

VVV 11th March 2006 04:28 PM

Yes, I agree that this wayang figure hilt (Dursana/Dursasana) resembles a Tajong hilt.
I also think that it's probable that the Tajong hilt comes from this wayang figure.
But I can't prove it so it's pure speculation...

Michael

RobT 13th March 2006 03:21 AM

Sheath Question for BluErf
 
3 Attachment(s)
Hi,
I don't want to hijack the thread but I would appreciate it if you could tell me if my sheath is another example of the rare type you mentioned. I would also like to know if the blade (which fits the sheath well) and the hilt really belong with the sheath. Do you know what this sheath called and is it only found in the peninsula? Last but not least, should the mendak on my piece have a stem below it?
Sincerely,
RobT

BluErf 13th March 2006 01:25 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Hi Rob,

I'm so jealous -- you have another rare keris form which I have been looking for, for years!

This keris is from Java, easily 17th century. Probably from one of the Javanese kingdoms in the Northern coast. The parts are complete and fitting to each other. It's not supposed to have a mendak; instead, the hilt has that brass selut. The blade is definitely Javanese. I think the whole package is 'original'. Congratulations!

The sheath form is a very early type, probably very close to the "root" of the keris sheath "evolutionary tree". You can call it the 'proto-ladrang', with the 'leaves' on both ends not as pronounced as later ladrang forms. And yes, it is very similar to the early coteng sheath posted here. This 'proto-ladrang', you may have noticed, is also very similar to the Balinese ladrang form, which also has muted 'leaves' and similar 'keel' shape (see 1st 2 pics below). Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of some of the older Balinese ladrang forms, which are not as fancy as the one below, and is closer to your keris sheath. It has been said that the Balinese inherited the keris-making traditions of the early Javanese Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms, and is closer to the original early Javanese keris forms than in Java itself.

Your keris sheath is probably the forerunner to the early coteng sheath. I would not find this surprising, considering the widely accepted view that the keris spread out from Java to the rest of the Southeast Asian archipelago. While the keris and sheath forms in Java evolved, so did the keris and sheath forms in the other regions, and they eventually became so distinct that the commonality is hard to spot. However, when one looks at the early sheath forms from each of these region, one starts to find the similarities.

Sometimes, you also see sheaths from other regions, such as Sumatra or even Bugis areas, that are reminiscent of this early Javanese sheath form (see 3rd pic below).

Its an interesting connection to think about. :)

BluErf 13th March 2006 01:35 PM

2 Attachment(s)
And here's another of those old Javanese ladrang form similar to yours. I also throw in a Sulawesi sheath, which if you look carefully, has the similar 'leave' structures on both ends of the sheath, but a lot more subdued. The boxy form is clearly evident in both sheaths.

Now it's not so difficult to visualize the commonality between the Javanese keris and the Bugis keris, is it. :)


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