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Old 18th September 2006, 11:31 PM   #24
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,873

Yeah, those kala topengans seem to crop up all over the place, but although the motif is found in a number of places, the interpretation is always different. I have often seen pics of the Madura style attributed to Bali, which is understandable, because although it may be "made in Madura", the root is Bali.Just as with the bright yellow gayam style wrongko that I posted a pic of.

With the mamas sandang walikats, I have seen them, and owned them, with Madura blades, and Madura handles, and as Madura is a part of East Jawa, I don`t have any problem at all with recognising that we can find the mamas SW in Madura, just as we can find it in East Jawa, Central Jawa, North Coast Jawa---in fact all over the place.

However, going back maybe 35 years a very well known collector who lived in Malang, East Jawa, told me that this was a uniquely East Javanese form of wrongko. He may have been wrong, but he should have known what he was talking about , because of where he was based.I have never come across anybody in Central Jawa who wanted to give these wrongkos anything other than an East Jawa attribution.

A big problem with something like this is that we just do not know where it originated, when, or for what reason. We can't associate it with a kraton---which would make things easy for us. All we have is this pretty scarce form of wrongko that is a more or less Javanese form, but in metal.

On Madura you have two major centres:- Suminep, which has a Kraton, and Pamekesan which is a Kabupaten, or regency. The towns associated with these places are just like country towns. Suminep is like a little country town, but the area it governs is very broad, because it covers a lot of little islands.
The countryside in Madura is dry, and poor. Wages there are depressed, there is virtually no industry, tobacco is grown, cattle are raised, and rice is almost in the luxury class.This is today I`m talking about.

Take it back 100 years or so.

I have a wee bit of difficulty in thinking of these mamas wrongkos as the product of a place that would have been essentially a poor, rural area.

A short journey by ferry from Madura we have Surabaya. Big, populous, lots of industry---currently drowning in mud from an uncapped oil test drilling. Been a big city for a long time.

These mamas SW's are never gimpy, cobbled together things---at least not in my experience---they show precision and skill in manufacture. The type of precision and skill one would expect to find in a city like Surabaya.

On the other hand, the keris fittings from Madura demonstrate lavish detail in carving, the type of thing that artist/farmers can do when they are filling in time before or after work, or in between seasons.

To my eye, the stern simplicity of the mamas SW just does not fit into the Madura artistic template.

But it does look like the product of advanced metal working techniques.

OK---here`s one of those hypotheses that I dislike so much:-

mamas sandang walikat wrongkos were possibly initially manufactured in Surabaya, and exported to other parts of East Jawa, including Madura.
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