Join Date: Aug 2009
amazing work, Graham, amd very interesting discussion!
"a lot of people want it, but who is prepared to pay the price?" Very true, even in my case I'm ashamed to say. Having had talks with Graham a few months back regarding a commission, then realizing the cost was staggering to me at first. Reading more into this subject, however, leads me to believe it is worth such a price.
This has also sparked more interest my desire of learning the process in which a Keris is made. I've been working/volunteering with a few blacksmiths, as well as professional knifemakers in order to gain a level of familiarity with the tools of the trade and plan (in the very very distant future when I'm comfortable with my skills) to find somewhere in Indonesia, much like Alan has, to further my skills by learning how to make keris (as well as the cultural traditions behind it). Perhaps also Malaysia, where their tradition of Keris Sundang making is apparantly still alive (although not thriving unfortunately). Of course, I would see this also as an academic endeavor (as opposed to attempting to make a living out of it) but with a slightly different purpose.
My eventual study will involve the development of the Moro style kris and how its journey from Java to Mindanao has affected its design. Particularly its early incarnations from the 18th century when the Kris Sundang from the Sulu Sultanate still exhibited the meticulous level of craftsmanship of its javanese predecessor. Later designs, I find, were more crude in terms of sculpting and chiseling of the blade's sor-soran area while its focus shifted onto crafting a broader, more hefty slashing-battle oriented blade. I always found it a shame that the balance between the two was never maintained as time had passed.
I think that to gain a more profound understanding of the Moro Kris that my ancestors have so frequently used in history, it is imperative for me to gain an acceptable in-depth knowledge on (not only the fabrication process, but the traditions behind) its predecessor, the Javanese Keris. Reading posts in this forum and gaining knowledge from textbooks regarding the Javanese Keris has further enriched my appreciation for the it as the profound cultural artwork it is, as opposed to just as the blueprint for another culture's weapon as I had once percieved it. It (The keris) is not, as I once thought, just a chapter of a book to flip through to get to the end -- it is quite a meaty story in and of itself!
Alan, I may send you a Private Message soon regarding Keris making appreticeship as I am very much interested.