View Single Post
Old 3rd August 2007, 04:20 AM   #15
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,591

Don't be so modest Pak Ganja.

Your English is very good indeed. You express yourself clearly on most occasions, and you write fluently. Our problem here is not with your English expression, it is with identifying something written in years past that we do not now accept, and looking at why we do not accept it.

What Hill wrote was based on general belief at the time he wrote it. The early writers in English, on the keris, debated various theories of origin back and forth. Some of the exchanges became pretty heated.I'm not sure exactly how the name "Keris Majapahit" arose. A point of origin for use of the term could probably be identified, but this would involve a lot of time in going back through all the mentions of this form. It might even go all the way back to that Dutch academic who found one in one of the stupas at Borobudur.In any case, it doesn't matter much at this remove who started calling these little keris, "Keris Majapahit" . They are known as that now by many, if not most collectors outside of Indonesia.

Yes, I agree that confusion could arise about the term "Keris Majapahit", but if we simply use "Keris tangguh Majapahit", when that is what we mean, there will be no confusion.It is simply a matter of saying what we mean, instead of taking shortcuts.

Your use of the phrase "stand point" confuses me. I do not know exactly what you mean here. Rather than have me guess, could you please put this thought in another way?

In essence, what Hill said was this :-

keris Majapahit are small and useless as a weapon

if Keris Majapahit are charms then it is logical that they followed rather than preceeded the keris proper

no proto-type keris of the keris proper has been found

the available evidence indicates that the keris proper was a new weapon in the 13th century

the length of a normal keris is about 12" to 16"

In the context of knowledge at the time Hill was writing, I don't think I can disagree with any of this.

We now know about the Keris Buda, we now have identified certain relief carvings, so we can point to fore-runners of the keris proper. This information was not available to Hill.

To me, its a simple thing:- these early writers saw things in light of the information they had available; we have additional information available and we see things differently. A hundred years down the track there could be more additional information available, and a different point of view to our own may prevail.

It is a simple thing:- we've moved on from Gardner, Woolley, Hill. It is no different to a medical doctor moving on from blood letting.Somebody who studies medicine does not turn to 50 or 100 year old books to further his knowledege. A serious student of the keris should study current sources if he wishes to stay abreast of current knowledge.

I would ask you to bear one thing in mind:- I started to study keris in about 1955, Hill published his paper in 1956; Gardiner published in 1936, Woolley published on origin in 1938.
I grew up on this stuff. Way back then, everybody more or less accepted as gospel that the original keris was the Keris Majapahit.
We have now expanded our knowledge, and I don't think many people believe this any longer, however, if the Keris Majapahit did exist prior to the 13th century, then it may have been a contributing factor to the form of the Modern Keris.

Our major problem is this:- we do not know if the Keris Majapahit existed pre 13th century or not.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote