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Old 14th December 2008, 03:12 PM   #10
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 238

Hello BluErf,

Probably better to wait until next time you find a decent Cirebon set one as the hilt seems need to be retired, but that's just an opinion; or at least get a temporary mendak to compliment the set and remember don't fit too tight . The hilt was acquired in Jakarta from someone who knows too little about keris. Without having sufficient reference, at first I thought it was Sumatran as I don't recognize the ornament. But DD from Germany inform me that it is Nyamba style, to which I later agree even it is different from what I previously preceive as Nyamba style.

To my knowledge Nyamba style is a wayang figure inspired hilt. But why Samba? I don't know. On Ensiklopedi Wayang Purwa (seems to be extracted from different sources), there are two characters of Samba, the first one is Sanghyang Samba, later known as Sanghyang Batara Guru. The second one is Samba the son of Sri Kresna, an army chief commander who usually supported by Batara Durga when he needs help. But what interesting is Samba as also known as Wisnubrata in Central Java is not an idol figure while in West Java he is an ideal/brave army figure. Another interesting information is that in Madura, Samba often described with a tail since her mother is Dewi Jembawati is a daughter of resi Jembawan-a monkey character. So maybe West Java?

I think this Samba hilt relates to the so we known as Cirebon Raksasa or Jawa Demam up to whatever similar in the Malay/Bugis world. But as usual it just a wild guest (to put it better: an imagination without enough reference), I might be unable to proof. Just observe at the figure, which so similar with Cirebon Raksasa. As for where its originates, maybe anywhere with wayang background. But how about the idea of Banten/Bantam? Cirebon was once under this kingdom right? Anyone has a reference?

As we know wayang in Islam period is dehumanized figure (do I use the right term to described "formed into less human like"? ), perhaps the same case in the keris world. Your hilt has the relatively similar hand position but not showing a mudra finger (or it is the stylized ornament between the hands?), but the hand position itself may reflect certain meaning (ancestral?). Further more it might be transformed further to what suit Islam better, a folded hand and the more non-creature or say human like Jawa Demam. All the bird/garuda-like figure on keris world might be a later explanation IMO.

P.S: I remember Adrian Noe's collection has a similar hilt, the one made of gold but the head is lion (?) - sorry I'm not able to find the webpage anymore. It's not a Javanese set, maybe a Sumatran kind.
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