Thread: Mataram Wedung
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Old 2nd April 2020, 05:58 PM   #1
David
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Default Mataram Wedung

I was debating whether to show this wedhung that i have recently acquired on this forum. Frankly there are many keris in my collection that i consider "not for public display" and had thought i might also consider this wedhung a to be a part of that more personal collection. Some may have already seen the dress of this wedhung as it had been posted by it's previous owner in threads about painted dress (sunggingan). However the blade has not been shown here before.
I decided to show it after scanning our pages on information about wedhung and realizing that very little has actually been discussed about these interesting court blades and i have also never seen one quite like this one here or elsewhere. So it seems like a good item to add to our archives. I also thought that perhaps we might all be a little bit bored in these pandemic Covid-19 days and need something interesting to look at and discuss.
This is a reasonably old example (late 16th - early 17th C) that can conservatively be placed as early Second Mataram, when Islam became the official dominant culture of Java. It has a more elongated blade than many later wedhung with the unusual (though not unknown) feature of a sharped false top edge from the tip to about the middle of the blade. It is a pamored blade with an elegantly cut wideng (like the greneng on a keris). The blade is 12.75 inches and length over all in the sheath is 18.5 inches. The blade is still extremely edge sharp.
The sheath is old (though probably not original) and received this beautifully executed alas-alasan motif sunggingan sometime in the second half of the 20th century. It carries the crest of the Surakarta keraton. It has a subtlety carved sash clip (sangkletan) made of white horn and held in place with silver bands.
The blade carries pamor. In the Surakarta keraton this is an indication that the blade belonged to a member of the royalty (prince), but i do not know is the same rules apply in Mataram times. It does seem likely that the wedung became a required item of court during this period of Mataram rule. Wedhung certainly existed in the in the pre-Islamic times of the Mojopahit Empire, but i cannot find any information yet on their place within that societal hierarchy. Once they did become a requirement for court wear they were seen as a symbolic implement meant to ensure the wearer's willingness to cut the path for their sovereign. In the Surakarta keraton ranks up to bupati anom may only wear a plain black wedhung, ranks of bupati and pangeran may wear a pamor wedhung. I do not know if this also applied to, say, wedhung in the Yogyakarta keraton or any other for that matter. So any information that can be added here on wedhung and the practices of their application in other areas and times in Java would be appreciated.
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