Join Date: May 2007
Location: J a k a r t a
Why Rong Dha?
I think dr David proposed us a very interesting topic to discuss. Yes, not all the Javanese keris bears details of “greneng”. But this specific detail has its importance in the development of (Javanese) keris culture.
Greneng usually found in keris with luks, although some straight (lurus) dhapurs of Javanese keris do have this detail. I tried to note from an existed list of about 212 dhapurs in Javanese keris (let me lend the list of dhapurs’ details, of Mr Haryono Guritno, “Keris Jawa, Antara Mistik dan Nalar”, page 172-179), some 109 out of them (about more than a half) with “greneng”. Mostly keris dhapur with luks. (From 94 straight dhapurs out of 212, only 46 have detail of “greneng”, or less than half of those 94 straight dhapurs have “greneng”). There may be of course, more than 212 keris dhapurs in Javanese keris.
And this is my personal view on “greneng”. Javanese like to “speak” with symbolism. As do in keris too. So, beside the nature of keris as a weapon, keris is also the symbol of their small world. (Beside the nature of keris as a weapon, it is also a “sipat kandel”, or “medium of someone’s confidence”). So it is not surprising, if the Javanese tried to put symbols of life, their small world, on the details of keris.
All details of keris, from tip to the bottom of keris, bear this life symbolism. And they express their symbolism in “natural language” (The javanese speak more with heart, emotion, than with logical reasoning).
Let us talk the details from the tip of keris. There are at least four kinds of keris tip’s forms: (1) Nggabah Kopong or like empty rice grain, (2) Mbuntut Tumo of like the tail of human hair’s louse, (3) Ngudhup Gambir, or like the ‘Gambir’ flower’s bud, (4) Nyujen of sharp pointed like the tip of ‘Suji’s” leaf. (Please, see the illustration).
The details of the ‘gandhik’ (front-bottom of the keris) also mentioned with this “natural” way. The “sekar kacang” (like the peanut’s flower, or like the trunk of elephant). Also the details surround the “sekar kacang”, like “jalu memet” or cock’s spur, “lambe gajah” or like the lips of elephant… The keris itself, is the symbol of a human body. If you lay the keris with the handle upright, than the handle is the “head” of the human body, and the whole blade of keris is the body.
And the part of “wadidang” or rear-bottom of keris? This is quite “strange”, because some keris have two “dha” forms (the javanese may call these details as rong dha or two dha, or let you spell it in easier way as “ron dha”). “Dha” is the 12th alphabet in the javanese scripture or what people called as “caraka-script”. (Please see the illustrations below).
Yes, the big question is why they depicted the “dha” scripture in the “greneng”, and not the other javanese alphabet? And why two “dha”, and even “four dha” in the “greneng susun” or “greneng robyong”? And maybe the next question is, like dr David’s question: what is the purpose of “greneng”?