Join Date: Dec 2004
i did not missed your point i can agree to a certain level, the bugis and balinese used keris sometimes as a weapon but to my opinion this only happened when there was nothing else at hands. In the tropenmuseum in amsterdam there is a balinese keris of the absolut highest rank, with gold, gems, etc, it was captured during the attack of the dutch at bali somewhere late 19 century or early 20th. the officer who took it was attacked by a balinese man with it. he used it because it was his last savier (this last is my interpretation why use such a keris for any other purpose than defend your life).
myself i have a maduran keris wich is rather large with pamor and more important to this subject: the blade was heated for about 30 cm, like japanese blades. Of course this happened to make it stronger and sharper. you can clearly see the spots where the clay didnt protect the steel anymore. it is extremely sharp but it is impossible to use it as a slasher because the peksi would break and this hardening is not needed for thrusting. (this raises yet another question.........)
i also know what pitch is used for but it is not proved to be put there by the first owner. it could be a later addition for example when the dutch attacked bali, and the use "whatever you have" spirit came up!
most bali keris handles are big, now i'm not small 1,88 cm long, normal hands, and those grips are to large for my hands, (not to hold but to use) most indonesain men are at least to my opinion smaller than the average western guy > smaller hands.
as for bugis: the pistol like grip is not a very logical solution if you are planning to stab someone. it just does not fit your hands right.
You are right when you are saying that the dutch used the locals against their own people, but did they make keris for this purpose or did they use their "own" keris?
so my conclusion would be: used as a weapon? possible, but only when there is nothing else at hands, definitly not created for this purpose.
About the shortening of the blade: there are a lot of keris who are shortened, to my opinion this was possibly done because the keris was partly damaged by corrosion. dirt and perhaps water in the sheath, destroyed the point. to make it look better just cut a bit of.
i'm not saying you are wrong but i just have my doubts.
have a nice christmas!!