Thread: Unsusual hilt
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Old 4th January 2010, 07:57 PM   #19
Naga Sasra
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Boca Raton, Florida, USA
Posts: 107
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Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to the question from me, it helped me better understand the reasoning behind your opinion.
I do however; have a few comments regarding the matter of reference material in general.

You are absolutely right, a reference book should contain useful facts with references from authoritative sources, while this statement is true it also represent the major problem facing all literature as it apply to the Keris, which is lack of creditable informational resources from where authoritative information can be found.

Unlike Europe where history is well documented thru the ages, Indonesia are in the peculiar situation where history have been rewritten to fit the policies of past houses of power or rewritten to comply with changes in religious beliefs, so the possibility of having creditable information derived from the old documents or books are indeed slim, as these documents or books most likely have been rewritten over and over.

This leaves us with present literature and some older books from the late 18th and 19th century and nothing creditable prior to that other than the Serat Centhini which also has been rewritten over the years. So what is written is hearsay, passed down thru families or coming from present day authorities on the subject.

For the longest time there were very little literature available on the subject of the Keris, this in the last years seem to have exploded with many a picture book available, and that for the most part is what they are, picture books! Very little information with few if any reference to quoted sources of information.
Which bring us to the present day and the discussion on “Hulu Keris”. Here again I agree with you, this booklet I believe was never intended as an academic, well researched and referenced book, but an informational work in nature.
As for someone doing a serious scientifically researched reference book on the Hulu encompassing the entire Indonesian Archipelago, I sincerely doubt it, as what one may interpret a hulu as being today, may not necessarily be what it was interpreted as being say 300 years ago. A potential author of such a work will run into the problem of having little or no documented reference material.

Your question:
Without revealing my true age let me answer it this way. If I came to Solo at the age of 17 and someone offered me a hilt, I do not believe I would have asked :”what does this style represent?” I think I would have looked at it, feeling it in my hands, lightly rubbing it and if interested in it start a bargaining process, if successful and not knowing was it represented I would start to research the hilt upon returning home.
Basically I would do the same thing today. Many many many years later.
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