Originally Posted by Kiai Carita
I am still interested in the angle the ukiran is fitted on to the tang. Does anyone have any information about how the Jawanese positioned the ukiran in pre-Mataram II times?
Bram, i wonder if your best bet on this question would be to view some of the early acquistions that are in some Dutch museums and collections. I think some of these were collected as early as the 16th century. Though it is possible that the hilts have moved position over the years i think this would be our best chance of seeing the presentation of a keris from that era.
While many keris may not have the structural integrity for fighting, many actually do. So likewise one might ask why bother making a blade with the structural integrity to fight if that is not it's intention. Why bother to temper blades. Many modern keris makers do not quelch the blade after forging for fear of destroying their work, but this was not the case with older keris. Why did mpus in the past take the risk to quelch blades is they didn't need to be battle-ready? Also it is certainly the case that many of the older blades that we see have had their structural integrity compromised by many years of acid washings. Again, pristine blades that are held in old collections that have not gone through this continual process might prove to be more structurally sound and battle ready.
Certainly there were always blades that were made purely for talismanic purposes and these may have always been thin or in some way physically unsuitable for fighting. Your point about the many different dapurs is well taken, but keep in mind that the vast majority of keris are simple, straight blades. I would not be surprised to find that different and complex dapurs were developed over the years with purely symbolic purposes involved. Still, many straight, sturdy and practical blades have come out of Jawa over the centuries which would do quite well in a fight.