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Old 12th December 2007, 03:49 AM   #23
Boedhi Adhitya
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 103

Originally Posted by Michel
Thank you Gentlemen,
You both helped.
To let you understand why is it important for me to understand some words of "Javanese" (and not Indonesian, as I had assumed), I am in the process of giving shape to a keris patrem.
Well, now I see why you desperately want to understand those terminologies/step.

What you really need is, IMHO, a stong 'mental image' on how the keris shape suppose to be. Then, try to realize it. It is very important. Take particular attention to proportion of length, width, thickness and angle (the condong-leleh), in whole, in every details (ricikan), and on proportion of each detail compared each other (for example, between the sekar kacang and jalen, and sekar kacang, jalen, and gandhik, and so on). Make a picture, or model as a guide. Ki Yosopangarso described it as Wujud =a finely defined details/ricikans, and Wangun ='proper harmony', 'balance' of each ricikan and the blade as a whole, including the pamor appearance. It also describe the word 'diwangun' = to make it 'wangun', to 'harmonize'. Wangun is deeply connected to your feeling/rasa. 'Wangun' or 'not wangun' is judged by your feeling. You must have a feeling for wangun in every step of keris making. So, wheter you are forging, grinding, filing or chiseling the blank, and even etching, you must make 'wangun' as your main consideration.

Ngilap and ngleseh is part of cold/benchworking process (not so 'cold', I think ). So I assume you've made a keris blank.

After you make a keris blank, the next step is 'silak/nyilak waja ' : to reveal the core/steel. Etching the edge will help. Examine the position and thickness of the core (wheter it is properly centered or not and the thickness is even and thick/thin enough). If problem encountered (very likely), you solve it by 'ngilap'= fine forging. Then you do the nyilak waja again or 'nyawati' to see wheter the problems has been solved or not. The difference between 'nyilak waja' and 'nyawati' is : on 'nyilak waja' you simply make a blunt, perpendicular edge, while in 'nyawati' you make a very acute edge/bevel. Nyawati is the refinement of nyilak waja. It also make a rough edge.

Repeat the process : Nyilak waja/nyawati - ngilap - nyilak waja, until all core centered and has even thickness. Some other works may be done in between, including 'diwangun'. After all core centered, the next step is 'ngleseh'. Ngleseh is simply to reveal the pamor by filing/grinding the blank. While nyilak waja/nyawati and ngilap concentrated on the edge, 'Ngleseh' start the process of shaping the whole blade. You may do some ngilap too, if needed.

As Pak Alan said, not every body agree to the order given. You may customize your own process, as needed. But the principle may be the same : working the edge/core, the blade, then the details/ricikan. When and where each process would overlap each other, depends 100% on you.

It is worth to note that not everybody, even today's keris maker, would recognize all the name of the process. Nglanji or pidakan are quite common, but ngilap, I think, is not.They just simply don't bother . It is useful if an empu try to communicate some of the process to his assistant, such as "please do some ngilap again here and here.." and so on, but not every keris maker has assistant today.

Other book describing the keris making process is The World of Javanese Keris by Garret and Bronwen Solyom, among other.

I made some hasty illustration that I wish may help.

Good luck !
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