Join Date: May 2006
Gustav, I'm not sure if you realise it, but you are saying pretty much exactly the same as I am saying, that is:
I am not prepared to say that pamor miring did not exist in Jawa prior 1700, but it was most certainly was not widespread.
Of the examples you list, the Sendai keris has pamor sanak I believe. It was examined by a Javanese gentleman --- Martowikrodo or a similar name --- and he states this in his report. I've read this somewhere, but I forget where. It might be on the net.
The keris in the Rustkammer in Dresden does appear to have a blarak pamor, it may be a Javanese keris, but certainly not a Central Javanese keris, and it is a keris of exceptional quality. Didn't get to photograph this one, but I did spend a very long time looking at it through glass.
KKA Kopek is North Coast origin.
If complex pamor miring was made in Jawa prior to 1700, it was a very rare occurrence, and its manufacture would certainly have been limited to those areas that had substantial populations of Muslim immigrants and their direct descendants. This means the North Coast and parts of East Jawa.
As for EDB.16 in Copenhagen, the surface of this keris was polished and I was only able to pick up the bare outlines of the pamor, these were not sufficiently clear for me photograph the pamor pattern, nor were they sufficiently clear to permit an analysis of the way in which this pamor was constructed. I may have been able to guess at how it was constructed, but I definitely could not see it sufficiently clearly to carry out positive analysis. It would seem that Mr. Weihrauch has some abilities which I lack. It is unfortunate, but I have given undertakings that I will not publish photographs of any of the keris I examined, were I able to do so it would be very easy to see that the presentation of this blade makes it impossible to analyse the pamor construction.
Below is my notebook sketch of the outlines of this pamor.
Yes, I am aware of the direct contact of Middle Eastern Muslim clerics with areas of the Philippines, and I feel that there was probably direct trade contact as well, but I am still inclined to believe that the metal working skills used to produce pattern welded blades in the Philippines came from Jawa, not direct from a Muslim country.
Yes, that round tang does seem to be fairly substantial evidence that this style of blade is closer to the roots.
The need to adequately oppose Spanish blades story has been around for as long as I've been playing with keris. Probably longer. To me it sounds pretty convincing, particularly when we look at the more substantial tang and the blade geometry in both dimensions.
However, I recall an idea put forward by one of our members here, I think perhaps Federico Malibago, that linked development to slave gathering. That idea impressed me considerably at the time. Without doing any checking on his facts or sources it really did sound like a strong possibility.
Perhaps the truth of development lays somewhere between a number of different influences, some seemingly obvious, others much less so. For instance, would it even have been possible to equip large numbers of warriors with these swords at any earlier time? The amount of material required to make a great big whacker of a sword is vastly more than is required to make a short poniard. The man hours involved? Where were the artisans? The fuel required? Charcoal --- how much manpower to produce it, let alone the gathering of primary fuel from suitable trees.
Just maybe they needed to wait until population and trade rose to a point where everything was available to produce the necessary weaponry.
As to when it happened. If I had any interest in trying to produce a believable hypothesis on this I'd begin by looking at population numbers and distribution, then I'd look at trade. When I'd identified a period that seemed to give adequate numbers in these two areas I'd go looking for literary sources. Since there seems to be some considerable interest in these keris-sword things, it surprises me a little that nobody has yet seriously got their teeth into the subject and tried to answer some of the big questions.