Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Wolviex, thanks for your response. I was really hoping you would know WHERE this keris was collected as well as when. As for testing for gold, i see no reason why you would need to go to a special lab to have this done. The test is common and easy and any competent jeweler should be able to handle it. As for the pendok being glued on, that's a surprise. Not a single keris in my collection is like this, i would imagine because the gandar needs to be changed from time to time as it takes far more abuse than the wrongko when the blade is taken in and out. This only leads me to further question whether this sheath was made for this pendok.
I am thinking less and less that this is a Bali keris at all. While the stylistic similarities between Bali and Lombok are well know, lesser recognized are cetain (though to a lesser extent) similarities in the Madurese style. As has been mentioned before, the topengan is also a form used in Madura. On pg. 49 of "The Kris" by van Duuren, there is a topengan example that he calls Bali OR Madura. he couldn't tell for sure. Also see Tammens, Vol. 2, pg 224, a keris noted as East Jawa. Madura is part of the province of East Jawa. In "Keris" by Hamzuri, pg 43 we see a wrongko and hilt noted as Madura. In "Royal Gifts From Indonesia", Wassing-Visser, pg 61, a keris noted as a Balinese type keris, but it was presented by Adiningrat VII of Madura to William I in 1835. It seems highly unlikely that a Madurese ruler would present a Bali keris to a dutch ruler. Jensen also shows a Madurese ladrang sheath with a similar topengan i fig. 94 of his book. I hope those with access to these reference books will check out these examples and comment.
We know that the Madurese made similar topengan. We know that they sometimes used a similar hilt form to Wolviex's example. We also know that this sheath was not made for this keris. The pendok is not fitted properly and since wolviex is worried about doing damage in removing it (i agree you should not chance that) we probably will never know if this pendok/topengan was even made for this sheath. I think the sheath itself might be the only thing that is Balinese. I believe the keris is most probably Madurese. Dave is right to note that some early Balinese keris can resemble Javanese, but this keris isn't THAT old. You just don't see gonjo iras keris before the 17thC (Except for keris sajen and keris buda) and by that time the Bali keris had taken on many of it's own stylistic features.
In regards to gonjo iras, both Dave and Tom mentioned their belief in this thread that there is some special mystical power to this form. Can either of you give any point of reference to these remarks? I must readily admit that my impressions that this was a way to cut costs is purely hearsay, though IMO, the information came from a very reliable source. I have checked all my own written resources and the internet, bit very little has been written on the subject. Don't get me wrong, as an owner of a nice early 19thC gonjo iras blade, i would love to find some evidence of mystical/magickal intention. But i also am not willing to make assumptions such as since there are less of them they must therefore have some special power. We will be spending years debunking the meteorite mythology, i'd hate to see new unproven legends of the gonjo iras start circulating. So, can either of you gentleman provide some sources for your information, or is it just something you heard somewhere?
As for gemstones, i don't think they are inten. If they are rock crystal, they are the clearest and most flawless cut quartz i've ever seen. And the color doesn't seem right. I suppose Zircon is a possibility. I noticed you put the word "expert" in quotations. Did a jeweler or gemologist have a look at these?