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Old 14th December 2007, 03:07 AM   #30
A. G. Maisey
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Join Date: May 2006
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Pak Boedhi, I have failed to make myself clear. I apologise.

Let me try again.

On language:- yes, ngleseh is definitely Javanese.

My understanding of the distinction between Javanese and Indonesian is imperfect because my teachers have been the people I meet and converse with everyday in Solo, as well as the members of my own family, and friends here in Australia. All of these people carelessly mix Indonesian and Javanese when they speak with me. None will ever use perfect Indonesian, and their idea of Indonesian is a level of Javanese with perhaps a few more Indonesian words than Javanese words.However, that said, I can often recognise Javanese words, simply because they are words that I do not see in Indonesian language publications.The word "ngleseh" is one such word. Not at all uncommon in the conversations I have, but I cannot ever remember seeing it in a publication in formal Indonesian.

Your remarks on the inconstantcy of the Javanese language are accurate.
Linguists recognise Javanese as a non-standardised language.Apart from which it is equally recognised by linguists that each speaker of Javanese regards the words he uses as his own personal property to alter and manipulate as he will, provided the meaning is clear to the listener.Above all, Javanese is primarily a spoken language, rather than a language designed for clear communication through print, thus, it relies greatly on inflection, and on the accompanying body language.

Which brings us back to "ngleseh".
You are handicapped by not having Haryoguritno's book in front of you, if you did have, I am sure that you would understand instantly what I mean.

If we look at the workflow we see:-

nyawati > diwangun > ngilap > ngleseh > diwangun > ngleseh > diwangun (and a further 20 more steps:- ndudut kembang kacang, ngisi jalen, ngeluk KK, mekak pidakan, ngleseh, diwangun, ngluroni, natah sogokan, natah tikel alis, natah sraweyan, diwangun, nglempeng ada-ada, diwangun, followed by the gonjo work)

the keris process of nyawati involves the opening up of the forged surface so you can see the place where the steel core surfaces; in practice, the way you do this is by a lot of repeated short, light throws of the file, you cannot afford to be too enthusiastic, you need to just pick away at the edge, just sufficient to be able to pick up the edge of the core; the word "nyawati" describes this process well, because you are repeatedly throwing the file at the surface, you are not seriously using the file to remove bulk metal

the next step in the work flow is "diwangun"; when we wangun something we build it, or give it form,or perfect it, so we've taken off a wee bit of metal with our nyawati, then we need to do the corrections by going back to the forge and giving shape, or improvement to the blade forging

the next step is ngilap , "ngilap", from kilap, "lightening"; we strike very light, very rapid blows---blows that are like lightening-- for the purpose of refining the work ( in western forge work, this is parallel with edge packing).

the next step is the much discussed "ngleseh"; in this step we spread the open area of bevelled edge upon the ground of the forged blade, we do this by widening with a file the bevel already established by the previous three steps

then we correct the form of the blade again, by cold working this time, so we have "diwangun" again

the next thing we do is to once again "ngleseh", this time we spread the bevelled edge all the way back to the centreline that will eventually become the place where we put the ada-ada

then we once again "diwangun" and correct the blade form

If we understand the way in which to work on a forging in order to produce a blade, it is fairly easy to see how we could use words like "ngleseh" and "ngilap" to refer to the actions involved in the work process.
To me, the use of these words is a completely logical development of a system of working instructions.

Pak Boedhi, it is not a matter of "literal translation", it is a matter of "literal understanding". Yes, some of the words I translated literally, because there was no translation given in Haryoguritno's glossary, but with just a little understanding of the actual hands on process it is easy to see how this literal translation can be understood to convey a specific work-application meaning. These words do not acquire a completely different meaning when used to describe keris work, they acquire a meaning parrallel with their common meaning, but specific to work on a keris.

As far as "guwaya" goes, I have simply repeated here the explanation given me by two Kraton Surakarta empus, and verified by a man who is perhaps the most respected authority on Javanese art, especially the keris. I have no opinion on this, I simply pass on what I have been taught. There are other words and concepts to refer to other characteristics, for instance, "wanda". In fact, both wanda and guwaya can be considered to be a level above the understanding of pure physical form, and begin to approach the level of being able to "feel" the keris.Although I used the word "staining" when I spoke of guwaya previously, actually the true meaning goes beyond just the result of staining a blade, but it is not possible for me to put the ideas associated with guwaya and wanda into English; "staining" is a fairly simple concept for ordinary people to understand.Wingit and wibawa are not similar to guwaya or wanda, but are specific feelings that can be generated by a keris;for instance you could say that the feeling of a keris is "wingit", but you cannot say that the feeling of a keris is "guwaya", because "guwaya" is an overall quality, not a specific quality.As I said previously, perhaps "charisma" is near enough for an understanding in English.

Keris competitions.
Keris are art.
Art should not be measured subject to artificial time constraints, nor should it be done under public gaze.
By staging competitions open to the public and subject to time constraints the making of a keris has been reduced from art to a manufacturing process and is measured by commercial viability rather than artistic parameters.
Public, timed keris carving exhibitions are garbage that can do nothing but damage the art.
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