Thread: Apropos display
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Old 21st May 2010, 01:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by guwaya
Taking a keris pesi iras is a good way to introduce this polaristic concept as we have the blade (snake = female and the hilt = representing an ancestor or anthropomorphic figure = male). Both controll via the theoretical concept of the polarism each other and finally build the entirety.

I am not so sure that taking the keris iras as an example for this discussion makes that much sense since it is the exception to the rule and the great majority of keris have separate gonjo. In the case of a separte gonjo if we are to discuss it in regards to polarity the gonjo seems the obvious female part that is pierced by the pesi of the wilah. The pesi is an intrinsic part the wilah as a whole. So if i break this down to polarity the blade=male, the gonjo=female. I have heard the hilt described as the head of the keris before, but no necessarily as the male principle. What about hilts that depict female form? They are less common, but certainly exist. The so-called "durga" hilt comes to mind immediately.
You keep saying that the wilah=female, but i don't see anything other than your own personal assertion to this. What do you base this on other than your own personal view? You are the very first person, indonesian or otherwise, in my years of discussion about keris to suggest this. I have spent a great deal of time studying the symbolism of the snake (and naga) in cultures throughout the world. It too has a dualistic (male/female) character and nature. Snakes have been seen as symbolic of the great divine mother in some cultures. But due to it's very physical nature it is most often related to the male principle. So i am open to your interpretation, but i think you thesis needs more than your own personal assertion to carry any real weight.
As for seeing Javanese culture as Hindu and therefore Indian, i don't believe that is what Alan was suggesting at all. Certainly just as the Javanese have shaped Islam to the Javanese cultural model, they did the same with the Hindu religion. This does not mean, however, that we can have a full understanding of the synthesis without also understanding the concepts that the Hindu culture brought to Jawa.
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