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Old 17th March 2020, 08:43 PM   #19
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,519

OK, so Picasso did it on one of his visits to Bali --- probably lazing on Kuta beach in between surfing (he was brave man).

Or maybe it was Antonio Blanco.

But lets just pretend that Picasso was not involved and Antonio was too busy with building his little palace.

We are all accustomed to seeing beautiful, artistically carved hilts flowing from Bali. For a long time these hilts have been produced either by fully professional artists or by talented amateurs. We tend to forget that in early Maritime South East Asia one of the measures of the sensitive nature of a man was his ability to carve his own weapon hilt and scabbard. This was the societal balance of a woman's ability to weave.

Men : carving; women : weaving.

This same measure could still be seen in operation amongst the Dyak peoples as late as the 1970's. It was one of the ways that a man or woman demonstrated their fitness for marriage.

In rural Central Jawa men will still, today, make their own keris fittings, not to demonstrate fitness for marriage, but to save money that they they cannot afford to spend.

In April of last year a Balinese gentleman gave me a hilt that he had carved, it was rather crude, he had painted it with gold paint. He was not a hilt carver, a craftsman, yes, but he did not carve hilts. In Bali, people other than professional hilt carvers also carve hilts.

My immediate impression when I first saw this hilt was that it was a learner's first attempt, or it was the product of somebody who could not afford to pay somebody else to work for him.
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