Thread: Apropos display
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Old 19th May 2010, 11:38 PM   #7
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,838

David, regarding these double blawongs.

The blawong actually has its roots as a wall decoration, not as something used to display keris. You can still sometimes see the old blawongs in village houses that are just a picture of a wayang character, or some other significant thing, hung as probably a protective device.

At some point, keris with particularly protective qualities began to be placed on these picture boards.

I have a number of old blawongs, the oldest probably dating to the second half of the 19th century, none of these old blawongs have been made specifically to hold keris, but have had holes to accept a cord to hold a keris put into them, seemingly, as an after-thought.

It seems to me that these double blawongs, and blawongs made to accept tombak and pedang and other things in all sorts of combinations, are a comparatively recent development and are a purely commercial production, intended only as wall displays.

We could theorise about the place of the double blawong:-

as Guwaya has pointed out, Javanese thought and culture is permeated by the concept of duality;

within a Javanese house, parts of the house can be identified as male, parts as female;

sometimes keris will be found in pairs, one male, one female, usually as a patrem;

if the keris is hung on the wall as a protective device, and that keris has a paired mate, then if the full protective effect is to take place, it can only take place within the presence of the pair, rather than only one of the pair;

because of the duality of the house, and the duality of paired keris, there is no contradiction in this, as the keris have been put together not as a displayed item, but as protective device, and protective effect flows from the concept of duality.

I repeat:- theorization.

I have never heard this, nor read it, nor even considered the question, but if we want to play cultural guessing games, I'm as willing as the next to float unsupported ideas.

Just don't hold me to them.

We can have discussion, we can have theory, we can have assertion, and we can have fact.

The above is neither assertion, nor fact.

Fact must be supported by evidence or logical argument.

Assertion must be something that the asserter truly believes to his own satisfaction.

What I have given you is theory as a part of discussion.

But I'll also give you an assertion:- double blawongs were produced to provide a marketable commodity to be purchased by people to whom Javanese cultural mores did not apply.
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