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Old 13th December 2007, 09:45 AM   #26
Boedhi Adhitya
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 103

You are correct, Pak Alan. It wasn't possible to draw the silak waja, nyawati and ngilap's illustration/explanation from Pak Guritno's book alone. I was using 'another sources'. Not really another sources, actually, as it also came from Empu Djeno. It is a note on "Urut-urutan Panggaraping Dhuwung" or "The Sequence of Keris Making", consist of 75 steps from "masuh" to "marangi", with approximate times needed for every step, which totally takes 113,5 days. He needed 1 silak waja, 2 nyawati and 2 ngilap in between. He employed 11 'kewangunan'/diwangun through all process, and the last kewangunan takes 3 days alone.

The times tables is obviously too long for 'contemporary smith', as the 2005 Keris Making Competition proved that it is possible for experinced keris maker to 'carve' a keris from the blank in 3 days, with good result. Angle grinders and other power tools were in charge, though.

The note was presented by Empu Djeno himself in Pametri Wiji Meeting somewhere in 90's. Pametri Wiji is keris lover club founded in 1983, based in Jogjakarta, and still held regular meeting once a month until now.
Fortunately, I accidentally brought this note along with other to U.K., as there are some work that I must finish.

Originally Posted by A.G. Maisey
Actually, if the forging of the blade is carefully carried out, the core will usually be found to be fairly well centered; it is only with careless forging that a core will be so far off centre that we need to make a large compensatory adjustment. Usually you can carry out any necessary adjustment as you go along, without making a special process of it at the beginning of the blade carving. If it is necessary to make major corrections, you would finish up with a blade that was far too thin, which is a well known fault in the work of one particular very well known empu of the current era.
You are right, Pak Alan. This particular well-known empu told me that he was intensionally using an uneven, convex Javanese anvil (on the contrary with European Anvil, known as 'paron londho'='dutch anvil'), as it adds more 'activity' to pamor such as beras wutah. Not all Javanese anvil is uneven. We (and he, surely) know that the activity came directly from forging unevenness. So, he chose consciously to make his blank uneven! Well, of course there is a prize which he must pay. And yes, this particular empu's works should have been better, in term of aesthetical standard. But I admire his works for it's wasuhan and it's ability to show some 'guwaya'. (Guwaya is a very complex term. Perhaps, it could be translated as 'charisma', but not exactly the same).

The reason of why he couldn't reach such a high standard could only be hypothesized. I assume it was simply because he lacked of good examples, while his father didn't fully transferred all the knowledges, as he himself admitted. His father, believe me, was a truly capable empu. Mbah Kamdi (Grandpa Kamdi, as Sukamdi nicknamed), a well-known Solonese keris maker, simply commented,"If it really is Supowinangun's work, then undoubtely, he was a real empu", when I showed him Supowinangun's work, which it's attribution is beyond doubt. Supowinangun passed away in an old ages in 1960's. He left no notes, no drawings, nor any of his works to his family. A very unfortunate event.
I think we all agree that studying many good examples is an important step to produce good kerises. Court's empus could do better because they had access to Court's Pusakas, the best examples as it could be. They event copied it, in 'Mutrani' tradition. The same step is taken by Maduranese or Solonese makers. But never Djeno. I don't know why. Despite his work's flaws, I sincerely honor him for devoting his life to keris world and traditions.

Today's keris makers would haphazardly 'wound' the blank with an angle grinder then forge it flat to achieve the same result. A keris maker which is a good friend of mine told me that he sometimes has to go back and forth to the local smith to adjust the core thickness to prevent him from getting 'kandas waja'(='beached to the steel/core'=the steel core is revealed in the place where pamor should be). He works on Madura's blanks (and on old blades too ), sometimes specially order the blank with a prescribed structure / construction.

Regarding your translation, I believe you have translated those word properly.
Ngleseh is, indeed, tricky word. Lesehan means sitting on the ground, preferably with a mat. But in keris making world, If I may suggest, it better be translated as 'cold-rasping'. You would feel the 'spreading' movement when you do it, and I think it is why it's called 'ngleseh', other than 'ngikir'=from kikir=file/to file.
Nglempeng ada-ada means to precisely center the ada-ada
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