Thread: New keris
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Old 29th July 2005, 12:24 PM   #38
marto suwignyo
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I accept that as a member of a keris society based in Yogyakarta Bapak Boedhi Aditya has presented the meaning of the word "pusaka" as it is used by members of the society to which he belongs.

I regret that I am unable to agree that the term "pusaka", when applied to a keris is in fact widely accepted in Jawa as a term to indicate quality in a keris.

The pusaka keris could be expected to be of superior quality, as in its cultural context as a binding agent, the necessary qualities would only be able to have been brought into the keris by a maker fully conversant with the required ritual, however, simply because a keris is of adequate quality to allow it to be on a par with the expected quality in a pusaka keris, this does not make it a pusaka keris.

I do not challenge the right of any group of people to initiate their own jargon to simplify discussion of a shared interest, however, that jargon only has value and meaning within the group which has adopted its use. The meaning carried by that jargon within the group cannot be extended to the wider cultural or societal context.

It may be accepted that within the group of which Pak Boedhi Aditya is a part, the word "pusaka", as applied to a keris, or other item of tosan aji, carries with it the measure of quality. However, in spite of the claim that this is general usage throughout Jawa by all adequately educated students of the keris, in my experience , this is not the case. It may be so in Pak Boedi`s group. It may even be so in Yogyakarta. It is not so in some other places.

The qualification used by Pak Boedhi of "inherent pusaka values in a blade" I find quite acceptable.
This clarifies that the term "pusaka" as used within Pak Boedhi`s group has a meaning that relates to quality.
But again, this level of quality does not make a keris a pusaka:- what it makes it is a keris with inherent pusaka values, that is, a certain level of quality, both physical and perhaps esoteric.

My quote of Pakubuwana I in my previous post tells us exactly what a pusaka is:- it is something that binds the current custodian of the pusaka to his forebears, and to members of his kin group who are still living. In 1708 this was understood by Pakubuwana I , and would equally have been understood by the Javanese people whom he ruled. In the cultural decline which has occurred since 1708, this meaning has been lost, and now we have the term being used in some places as a measure of quality.

It is a phenomenon of societal development that this development seems to almost invariably go together with the erosion of cultural values.Bearing this in mind, it is understandable that the concept of "pusaka quality" could easily replace the true meaning of pusaka, and that the true spiritual meaning of exactly what a pusaka keris is, be forgotten.

In respect of the status of Djeno Harumbrojo, I stand corrected.
I had assumed that he had entered the heirachy of the Kraton Yogyakarta, and thus had been given rank and title. Apparently I was wrong. I apologise if my misstatement of fact has caused any inconvenience . I can only excuse this by saying that my base of knowledge and experience is not Yogyakarta.

In respect of Pauzan, he was not an antique dealer, prior to becoming a maker of keris, he was a night bus driver. His wife was, and is an antique dealer, and he assisted his wife on a part time basis when the antique business was begun, in , I think 1973 or 1974. Currently the correct form of address for Pauzan is Bp. KRT.H. Pauzan Pusposukadgo.It is many years since he carried the rank of lurah. I have known Pauzan as a good friend for more than thirty years.

Bp. KRT. Suparman Supawijaya (almarhum), was not a keris collector. He started life as a shoemaker, he became a soldier, then a dealer in precious stones and wesi aji, finally he became a maker of keris and other wesi aji, I had the good fortune to be a close friend of Bapak Suparman for the 14 years immediately preceeding his decease.

Subandi is one of the "anak-anak ASKI". The others are Yanto, Pandi, Widodo, Kamdi, Bagio, and of course, Yantono.The STSI was the ASKI, prior to its status being changed in the mid 1980`s.

I could be wrong, but my current information is that Subandi is not employed as a lecturer. He was certainly never taught by Pak Pauzan.

When the keris school was set up in the ASKI, as a part of the faculty of plastic arts (ie, sculpture), and under the leadership of Pak Yohanes Yantono, both Pak Parman and Pak Pauzan were approached to act as lecturers. They both agreed, however, neither were ever called to lecture. This is something that made both men feel slighted and has caused ill feeling until today within the keris community in Solo.

In fact, the only teacher of keris art is Pak Yantono, and he has not had a pupil in years.Pak Yantono could never be considered an empu; he is of the Katholic faith and by definition is culturally unsuited to be considered as an empu.
The total number of people who have graduated as makers of keris could be counted on the fingers of two hands, and none currently ply their trade, but prefer to use their qualification to work in other pursuits, as factory managers, salesmen , pigeon breeders, and so on.
Pak Yantono still makes the occasional keris, but he is now over fifty years of age, and is the head of his faculty, and prefers work more in accord with his changed status.

I do not know Pak Sukoyodipuro or Pak Hartono personally, and I have not heard mention of either of these gentlemen from my friends within the Surakarta Kraton community, nor from people within the keris world in Solo, except that I do know of Pak Sukoyodipuro as a maker of keris.
My knowledge in this respect could be flawed, and I will certainly follow through on this question.
It seems incredible to me that Pak Sukoyodipuro could have achieved the rank of KRT in such a short space of time, and especially whilst not living within Surakarta; it normally takes many years to achieve this rank.
Of course, since the decease of Pakubuwana XII, there has been a considerable amount of confusion in Kraton affairs in Surakarta.

Regarding Bali, the distinction between "in the Kraton", and "for the Kraton" is important.
I repeat:- the empus of Bali were not members of the heirarchy of any kraton. They were members of the Pande clan , having their own priests, and outside the Balinese system of caste. This is well documented in the literature.



To recap on the core matters under discussion, which I understand to be:-
1) the meaning of "pusaka keris",
2) the meaning of "empu"

In respect of pusaka keris.
I accept that Pak Boedhi Aditya and his group of keris fanciers in Yogyakarta have attached a meaning to "pusaka keris" that equates this term to a measure of quality.
I do not accept that within the context of Javanese culture this is a correct interpretation of the term.

In respect of empu.
My original definition stands, and I complement Pak Boedhi upon his expansion of my definition by provision of a further explanation of the qualities required of an empu.
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