Thread: Figural !
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Old 20th October 2019, 12:22 PM   #163
A. G. Maisey
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Join Date: May 2006
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If you say so Kai.

So give us a name.

Or maybe point us at a known monumental representation or a wayang figure?

Kai, my comment was this:-

"The simple knot of hair is normally associated with a low level personage, maybe a punakawan, or servant, or common man."

If you understood this remark to be an indication of an opinion on who or what this hilt could be, I apologise for my failure to be clear. This remark on the "simple knot of hair" was a general comment in respect of symbolism, it was not an inference of identity in respect of this specific hilt. For example, Bagong is often shown with a simple knot of hair, but this is not to suggest that the character that this hilt represents is Bagong.

In fact the protuberance on the head of this figure might not be a knot of hair at all. Prabu Ratmaja is usually depicted with a head dress that looks somewhat like the ornament on the head of this figure. I have several examples of Prabu Ratmaja, and you can find more scattered through some of the well known references, like "Keris Bali", and "Understanding Balinese Keris", in most of my examples of Prabu Ratmaja the hair finishes in curls at the rim of the protuberance.

Prabu Ratmaja was a Raksasa King, and my examples all have the requisite fangs. I cannot see fangs on this hilt, but they could be there somewhere. He is a reasonably common figure on Balinese totogan hilts because he is regarded as having extraordinarily strong protective powers, he is also reasonably common on Javanese figural hilts.

This hilt could be intended to be Prabu Ratmaja, but really, I am reluctant to put this idea forward with any conviction. Naming hilt figures is a recipe for argument, and the only person who could sometimes tell you exactly who a figure is would be the carver and original owner.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 20th October 2019 at 01:53 PM.
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