Join Date: May 2006
Again I thank you Guwaya for your comments in respect of Spielman's thesis.
Let me make it very clear that I have no opinion regarding this thesis. I have not read it, I cannot read it, and I can only go on the reports of those who have read it. I have summarised these reports and I thank you again for delivering virtually the same opinion of Spielman's work as the opinions I have already received.
My "highly respected student of the keris" is in fact a Dutchman, and although German is one of his second languages, I have the assurance of German native speakers that he is fluent in this language. I regret that I am unable to name this man, but perhaps it is sufficient to say that he is a man in his sixties, an academic, and an ethnologist. It is his business to understand the writings of those in his field.It is clear that since he has delivered the same opinion of Spielman's writings as you have yourself, that he apparently did understand what was written.
It should also be noted that his praise for Spielman's presentation is equally as high as your own.
Taken from " KRISSES, A critical bibliography,David van Duuren", herewith is the complete review of :-
Der javanische "Keris": Funktion und sozio-religiose Symbolik.
(Mundus Reihe Ethnologie, Band 41). Bonn:Holos, 1991.
This published edition of a doctoral thesis, which the author had originally delivered at a Cologne university, deserves to be included with the best general introductions to the Javanese keris. Spielmann has managed to include and concisely review each and every imaginable significant and interesting aspect of the kris. He presents a scientific argument , tightly and systematically arranged . It consists of two large chapters; the first is about the details and symbolism of the kris's ornamental elements
(Detaildarstellung und Symbolik der Verzierungselements"-p.25-92), the second is devoted to its function ( Funktion der Kris'-p.93-141).
These include a selective yet viable survey from the existing literature, complemented by many drawings (taken from the sources in question). Admittedly the author does not develop a personal viewpoint; rather, the value of his work lies in the way it ties facts into fiction and vice versa. In the final section the structuralist models created by the 'School of Leyden' experts and in particular by Rassers, are subjected to critical investigation and consequently deemed overly mathematical and abstract. Preliminary to writing his thesis Spielmann had conducted researches in several German and Dutch museums; in Holland he had also studied the large private collections of A. Th. Alkema and J. van Daalen.