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Old 30th October 2017, 01:43 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,165

Hello Fernando,

Is it Sumatran? Also, is it possible to tell its age based on the features?
According to the dealer, it was likely brought to the US at the turn of the 20th century.

Any more concrete evidence on its provenance in the US?
It's always tough to evaluate bits of info given by (many) dealers...

The blade is 31 cm long and 1.5 cm wide at the centre

This Bangkinang blade does look Sumatran, indeed. It has lost too many details to allow for a more critical appraisal though. If it has been cared for in a western collection for over 100 years, the blade could easily be from the 18th century; blades that came out of Indonesia more recently, can exhibit similar erosion and be much younger (including artificially aged new blades).

The hilt is some kind of ivory

The hilt clearly is from Hippo ivory. The style is typical for south(west)ern Sulawesi ("Bugis"); it is also not rarely found with keris from several Sumatran regions. I know of no data whether these got crafted locally or traded from Sulawesi - probably a moot point with so many Bugis/Makassar expats and traders living there and heavily influencing the whole region.

the hilt cup and pendok are made of silver

Both appear to be too wide: The pendokok/selut clearly is too large and was not crafted for this hilt; IMHO it also covers too much of the bungkul (rounded base of the hilt). An easy fix would be to ask a silversmith to turn the plain rim over (to the inside - this will make the rim less tall and diameter more narrow). It might be a shame to change a genuine pendokok if it really was antique; however, it does not appear to be a high-end example. The ensemble would look much better IMVHO...

In a similar vein, the upper part of the pendok appears to have a too wide opening for the base of the sampir and both probably were not crafted to suit each other.

the sampir and buntut are made of horn

I've seen similar buntut examples from the region. The sampir seems to have some age which could be consistent with it being antique; not surprisingly, it seems to be considerably younger than the blade. The fit is not terribly good - can you discern any hints that it wasn't made for this blade (wear, movement, etc.)?

I'm not convinced that this whole ensemble is original - however, keris bits and pieces have been swapped around for ages, especially on Sumatra with its many neighbouring cultures. Anyway, with a little effort, it probably can gain an even nicer look though!

kai is offline   Reply With Quote