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Old 29th August 2010, 05:12 AM   #1
Battara
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Default Bugis Chieftain's Keris: does it exist?

I have heard of a Bugis Chieftain's keris and that the scabbard is fat with a wide wranga with possibly some silver, ivory, or little gold, but short and stocky never the less.

However, one knowledgable source informs me that such a creature does not exist. What do you folks think? If it does exist, what would it look like? And finally if they do exist for sure, are they truly rare?
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Old 29th August 2010, 05:27 AM   #2
Alam Shah
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A very good question. I believe they do exist. However, it is not from Sulawesi, but rather a Bugis evolution elsewhere..

Battara: can you pm me your source, please.
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Old 29th August 2010, 05:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alam Shah
A very good question. I believe they do exist. However, it is not from Sulawesi, but rather a Bugis evolution elsewhere..


Alam is right.. Having been shown egs of these and speaking to him and others on these I too share the opinion that it does exist... however, what we have to be clear about is the fact that a Bugis Chieftain pc is not necessarily one that originates from their Sulawesi homeland. There may not be anything there that resembles this at all. I have yet to see on from Sulawesi...

But the Buginese were noted seatarers and political medllers extraordinaire in south east asia.. The history of south east asia in the Malay peninsula, Riau Islands & southern Sumatra are rplete of their influence and intervention, often militarily in support of succession disputes of the various royal haouses there. As a result, variation of the Bugus theme exist... The Bugis Riau, Bugis Palambang & Bugis Trengganu forms are all distinctive...

The Bugis Chieftain form is likely to have been the product of areas within south east asia that lies within these specific geographical expanse.. ie Riau Islands, Southern Sumatra or the Malay peninsula... a mix of Bugis root forms and the extrapolations of the indigenous Malays of these areas on that basic form...
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Old 29th August 2010, 08:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alam Shah
A very good question. I believe they do exist. However, it is not from Sulawesi, but rather a Bugis evolution elsewhere..

Battara: can you pm me your source, please.

Alam Shah - I have seen your datu Bugis keris and tend to agree with you but have not seen evidence in literature as of yet. My roon is a mess right now so it may be a while before I can find the source.

BigG, yes you have a point as well. Not necessarily thinking of a particular place since the Bugis were nomads and are all over.

However I was wondering what constitutes a datu Bugis keris for sure.
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Old 29th August 2010, 11:56 PM   #5
Amuk Murugul
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Hullo everybody,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I have heard of a Bugis Chieftain's keris and that the scabbard is fat with a wide wranga with possibly some silver, ivory, or little gold, but short and stocky never the less.

However, one knowledgable source informs me that such a creature does not exist. What do you folks think? If it does exist, what would it look like? And finally if they do exist for sure, are they truly rare?


May I suggest that a good short-cut would be to find someone with 'KARAENG' or 'DAENG' in their name as they may be a good primary source.

Best,
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Old 30th August 2010, 09:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amuk Murugul
Hullo everybody,

May I suggest that a good short-cut would be to find someone with 'KARAENG' or 'DAENG' in their name as they may be a good primary source.
Have done that.. even with 'puang', 'andi', dr, etc.. although not exhaustive.. all the way to the royal house of Bone and Makassar, with links to NTB, Soppeng, Bima (NTB).. etc. If fact, awaiting inputs from some..
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Old 30th August 2010, 10:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alam Shah
Have done that.. all the way to the royal house of Bone and Makassar... If fact, awaiting inputs...


KEWL!

...but the caveat here again is that this may be a localise evolution of the basic Bugis form, influence perhaps by the context of the then existing socio circumstances that differs form the Sulawesi homeground and areas outside of the Malay Peninsula, Johor Riau Islands and southern Sumatra. So, the absence of verification from these personages from these other areas may not necessarily indicate the absence of the Chieftain form itself...
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Old 30th August 2010, 01:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigG
...but the caveat here again is that this may be a localise evolution of the basic Bugis form, influence perhaps by the context of the then existing socio circumstances that differs form the Sulawesi homeground and areas outside of the Malay Peninsula, Johor Riau Islands and southern Sumatra. So, the absence of verification from these personages from these other areas may not necessarily indicate the absence of the Chieftain form itself...
True, information feedback from Southern Sulawesi, (Bone, Bugis-Makassar) and NTB regions indicated that such an exclusive form per se, does not seem to exist in the current culture there. Not seen in royal regalia, local or national museum collection, local collectors (not exhaustive). Referring to archives (not exhaustive) including Bugis literature from various sources, have not been fruitful so far. Hence, moving away from Sulawesi, NTB, and that region. Focusing more on Borneo, Sumatra, Riau-Lingga Archipelago, instead.. as a point of origin or evolution.

Last edited by Alam Shah : 30th August 2010 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 30th August 2010, 05:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
... My roon is a mess right now so it may be a while before I can find the source...

...However I was wondering what constitutes a datu Bugis keris for sure.


We shall await for more inputs from you on this with bated breadth then..
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Old 30th August 2010, 05:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Not necessarily thinking of a particular place since the Bugis were nomads and are all over.


An interesting point to note. In my discussion with friends with Buginese backgrounds in I'sia, M'sia & S'pore, I have been made aware of a particular Buginese philosophy that accounts for their well known "meddling". If it is not already known here... allow me to share.

The Bugis of the past revered the application of 3 "senjatas" or "weapons". This consist of the Tongue, the Penis & the Keris. ie what is meant here is that wherever the Bugis man finds himself to be, he should apply the use of persuasion and influence, symbolised by the tongue, the sealing of familial ties, symbolised by the penis and the application judicial and non gratuitous force of arms, the Keris, to insinuate himself in and amongst the indigenous culture that he finds himself in. This is admitedly anecdotal as I have not got around to actually making any research on written references. But its still quite an interesting recurring theme amongst descendants of the Buginese today I gather...

Thus the Bugis influence in the region through his political, military and other socio-cultural actions are seen to this day in much of the Nusantara region. As an example of this, many a royalty of the Malay peninsula has prominent Bugis lineage amongst them. This of couse translates in the prominence of the Bugis form in Keris making in the region too.

FYI. Rgds
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Old 31st August 2010, 08:05 PM   #11
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Hello,

I am very unsure if you speak about a keris like the one I obtain two or three years ago. When I get it the colour have been more dark and I thought the metal is some kind of brass until I cleaned the sheat with a tooth brush and a mild soap. It's gilded silver!

Detlef
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Old 3rd September 2010, 02:31 AM   #12
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Nice piece Sajen. One site has a similar Bugis piece with ivory hilt and gold in a similar style. They called it a Bugis sultan's keris.

Back to the Bugis chieftain's keris, would this be an example? It is sold from Freebooter's site: http://www.swordsantiqueweapons.com/s125_full.html
(someone beat me to it )
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Old 3rd September 2010, 03:47 AM   #13
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Battara, your example from Freebooter's for sale keris indeed looks like a chieftain to me, especially the gandar and buntut parts, but the sampir doesnt have the feel of a chieftain....

having read the characteristics of a chieftain's dress, may I ask what exactly constitute a keris blade / physical characteristics to be qualified as chieftain keris?
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Old 4th September 2010, 04:21 AM   #14
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Another fine example with Riau influence for discussion:
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Old 4th September 2010, 06:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PenangsangII
Battara, your example from Freebooter's for sale keris indeed looks like a chieftain to me, especially the gandar and buntut parts, but the sampir doesnt have the feel of a chieftain....

having read the characteristics of a chieftain's dress, may I ask what exactly constitute a keris blade / physical characteristics to be qualified as chieftain keris?


I believe the term chieftain keris is a term loosely coined by collectors to describe kerises belonging to people of some status. Not very high ranking, but maybe a village headman or local military captain or the likes. And essentially, status in some cases was expressed through the size of the sheath, which then made the batang look proportionately short. The width of the batang also became wider, and this sort of keris seemed to fall under the loose term "chieftain keris". I don't think the original owners of such kerises called it by this term.
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Old 4th September 2010, 01:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluErf
I believe the term chieftain keris is a term loosely coined by collectors to describe kerises belonging to people of some status. Not very high ranking, but maybe a village headman or local military captain or the likes. And essentially, status in some cases was expressed through the size of the sheath, which then made the batang look proportionately short. The width of the batang also became wider, and this sort of keris seemed to fall under the loose term "chieftain keris". I don't think the original owners of such kerises called it by this term.


Yep... ths is a plausible way of looking at it... a good angle with which to eplore the subject further
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Old 4th September 2010, 09:35 PM   #17
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BluErf, this was the definition I had come to understand as a chieftain's keris. And thus wanted to know if there was any merit to it.

Khalifah Muda, a good example of what I am talking about. I noticed that the buntut on this one is made of ivory matching the hilt.
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Old 5th September 2010, 02:11 AM   #18
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Another thought. Would it also be considered a chieftain's keris if it has some gold on it, say top and bottom like in the example I showed.
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Old 14th September 2010, 11:12 PM   #19
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No answers to my question?
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Old 15th September 2010, 03:17 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Another thought. Would it also be considered a chieftain's keris if it has some gold on it, say top and bottom like in the example I showed.


Up to 20th Century, any gold works on keris was strictly forbidden as it was reserved for the royalty.
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Old 15th September 2010, 03:35 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PenangsangII
Up to 20th Century, any gold works on keris was strictly forbidden as it was reserved for the royalty.

Was this true everywhere in the keris world, or just specific kingdoms?
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Old 15th September 2010, 05:44 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Was this true everywhere in the keris world, or just specific kingdoms?


True in Malay based kingdom, esp. within former Malaka realm
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Old 15th September 2010, 06:01 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluErf
I believe the term chieftain keris is a term loosely coined by collectors to describe kerises belonging to people of some status. Not very high ranking, but maybe a village headman or local military captain or the likes. And essentially, status in some cases was expressed through the size of the sheath, which then made the batang look proportionately short. The width of the batang also became wider, and this sort of keris seemed to fall under the loose term "chieftain keris". I don't think the original owners of such kerises called it by this term.
However, let's have a look at some of the characteristics of this type of pieces.. ref: Edward Frey's, The Kris (3rd Ed), pg 64 and 67, Fig 24.. picture b and c. It is stated that these are Sulawesi-Bugis Keris. However, a few years back when checking with Sulawesi-based friends, collectors and dealers, these types are not found there. Personal findings indicated that these types are found in the Riau-Lingga archipelago. Some examples can be found in the collection of Malaysian museums and also at Asians Civilisations Museums in Singapore.
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Old 16th September 2010, 12:37 AM   #24
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Regrettably a lot of the info in Frey is very, very unreliable. When his first edition was published I wrote him a 14 page, hand written letter listing the things that were straight out wrong, ie , where he had misquoted a source, and things that he probably should look at again and perhaps come to a different conclusion. Additionally some photo captions were wrong. Some of these things were corrected in the second edition, some were not.

Frey's book is a nice little starter book for a new collector, its got a lot of nice pics, the broad span of text is OK for low level, general information, but don't rely on it for specifics.
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Old 17th September 2010, 09:58 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alam Shah
However, let's have a look at some of the characteristics of this type of pieces.. ref: Edward Frey's, The Kris (3rd Ed), pg 64 and 67, Fig 24.. picture b and c. It is stated that these are Sulawesi-Bugis Keris. However, a few years back when checking with Sulawesi-based friends, collectors and dealers, these types are not found there. Personal findings indicated that these types are found in the Riau-Lingga archipelago. Some examples can be found in the collection of Malaysian museums and also at Asians Civilisations Museums in Singapore.


Yes, for years collectors were under the impression that what was generally termed "Bugis keris" came from Sulawesi. The fact that even Buginese royalty in SulSel do not have in their possession that many keris of resembling to the book you mentioned struck me by surprise. We knew later that "sudanga", "alamang" and badik were more prominent within Bugis in SulSel realm, except recently (20th C?) where more keris were produced by the local pande. All along the antique keris in our possession have been peninsular or sumatran made, some even Cirebon made.
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Old 18th September 2010, 04:50 AM   #26
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Although I don't think this piece is Bugis, would it still qualify as a chieftain's keris, once posted by BluErf? (or would it also be considered Bugis after all?)
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Old 18th September 2010, 04:57 AM   #27
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Also Oriental-arms calls these Bugis keris chieftain's:

www.oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=1306

www.oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=2469

Any truth to this attribution?
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Old 20th September 2010, 04:09 AM   #28
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I think it was Adni from Malay Gallery that said alluded to the width and size of the wrangka is what designates a chieftain's keris. What do you folks think (since I am not sure)?
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Old 20th September 2010, 04:47 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Although I don't think this piece is Bugis, would it still qualify as a chieftain's keris, once posted by BluErf? (or would it also be considered Bugis after all?)
As far as I could recall, that was a piece from a Malaysian museum, posted by Rasdan. It is attributed to Bugis, but imho, not from Sulawesi. It's origin is probably from Peninsular Malay, Sumatran or Riau-Lingga, based on the 'prada mas', painted sheath. It somewhat qualify as a Chieftain Keris..
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Old 20th September 2010, 04:56 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Also Oriental-arms calls these Bugis keris chieftain's:

www.oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=1306

www.oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=2469

Any truth to this attribution?
Sheath form, looks like a Bugis Chieftain, but blade does not qualify as one. The second piece, I'm very familiar. It's in my possesion.. The blade although looks thick, the entire ensemble is small. (( see here for more details )) .
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