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Old 13th September 2006, 01:54 AM   #44
A. G. Maisey
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I personally feel that Pak Bambang`s submission on the present day position of the keris in Javanese society belongs exactly where it is.

I think the original question was something like---"when did the keris cease to be a weapon"

Pak Bambang`s submission , I believe, is perfectly in context with the search for an answer to this question, for as he points out, he is presenting only one aspect of the nature of the keris, and that aspect relates to present day belief.

I understand perfectly where Pak Bambang is coming from, and although I do not personally agree with this position, I would be a fool if I did not acknowledge that for many people in present day Jawa, what Pak Bambang has written represents the truth.

This of course raises the question of the nature of truth, but truth, like history , becomes actual when sufficient people believe that something is so.

For instance, Pak Bambang has used the dapur brojol as an example to reinforce his position.

However---

the word "brojol" has the meaning:- "lower on one side than on the other"

the association of dapur brojol with the birthing process draws upon derivatives of "brojol", that is, "mbrojol", "kebrojol", and "kebrojolan"

For somebody who wishes to attach a symbolic meaning to dapur brojol, it is natural that that symbolic meaning should be to do with birth, and if sufficient people believe that the placement of a keris of dapur brojol under a bed when a woman is ready to give birth, will ease that birth, then for those people, and for the woman concerned, the keris will ease the birth.

But for an objective cynic, dapur brojol is named thus because the base of the blade is very obviously lower on one side than on the other.

Regarding the cultural position of the keris in Bali.

Pak Bambang, I regret that I must disagree with your statements in this regard.

Whilst it is true that the keris did play a part in the puputans, a study of early literature and sources makes it very clear that the keris in Bali prior to European domination of Bali, very definitely fulfilled a weapon role. Most certainly, the role of the Balinese keris as a weapon varied significantly from the role of the spear, the sword, and firearms, but this current sanitisation of the Balinese keris is completely off the mark when measured against the evidence.
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