Join Date: May 2006
I.P., I think that perhaps your question posed in post #8 could well be central to any interest at all in the keris.
There is probably no "one size fits all" answer.
It is possible to simply like the appearance of the keris, and to collect keris as some sort of exotic, unusual thingamajig. I've known more than a few people who had this approach:- they liked keris, they collected keris, they knew almost nothing about the keris and had no real desire to know. The object itself was sufficient.
Other people might take a slightly more serious approach and learn how to perhaps identify location & time of origin of a keris, along with a few names in more or less the language or languages at point of origin.
There are other people who delve into the techniques and processes involved in manufacture, others who have an interest in cultural aspects, others who consider the history or development, and still others who have an interest in other things that I have not mentioned here.
My personal approach is that the keris is a weapon that has become a cultural icon and that to understand the nature of the keris one needs to understand its origins, its development over time, the ways in which it has been used and worn, the techniques of production both of the keris itself (ie, only the blade) and of its dress, and above all the way in which the culture & society from which a particular keris might originate is thought of within that culture & society.
No one of these approaches is necessarily correct nor incorrect, it is a matter of individual preference as to which road one wishes to walk along.
As to "kindergartens" I reckon I didn't get out of kindergarten until I was about 42 years old, 30 years after I obtained my first keris, and during that 30 years I had read everything in print & written in English that related to the keris. I might be a bit of a slow learner, but probably no more stupid than most people, it was just that I did not have access to the information I wanted until after I learnt the Indonesian & Javanese languages and could adapt my thinking process to the way in which Javanese people thought. I'm still only a learner.