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Old 20th August 2012, 07:23 AM   #61
migueldiaz
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Gustav, thanks for the pics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
Which leads us back to Ron's very old kris with a round tang that defied the trend. Well, I'm still scratching my head on that one. Can it be that the smith was Indonesian? Could the prematurely broken 'elephant trunk' be another sign that the smith was not that familiar with the finer points of making a Moro kris? Just thinking out loud ...
Given said pics posted by Gustav, then all the more I'm led to speculate that Ron's kris must have made by an Indonesian also, with the roundish tang and all ...
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Old 20th August 2012, 10:11 AM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Given that early ("archaic") Moro kris seem to incorporate all the exact same minute details of design that we find on the Javanese keris (gandik, gonjo, sogokan, blumbangan, kembang kacang, greneng w/ rondha, lambe-gajah, etc.) and that none of these features are visible on any of the examples of these ancient kalis that you have posted i have a very difficult time accepting the Moro kris as 70% homegrown as you have suggested.
David, thanks again for the comments.

I'm presenting below a rehash of my earlier visuals. And this will enable me to outline more clearly my position. But lemme say at the outset that I'm not emotionally attached to this position

In fact if my theory (or anybody else's theory) can be demolished soon, then I think we will all agree that that's progress. That is, the whole point of the discussion is to merely find the 'best fit' in the data vs. the interpretation.

But first we have to agree on what defines a Moro kris. For me and simplistically speaking, a kris to be a Moro kris has to have the ffg.: (a) an assymetrical blade; (b) a ganya, i.e., the guard; and (c) that whole 'elephant trunk' assembly with the gaping 'mouth'.

I think it's reasonable to add a 4th one: a greneng, i.e., the blade trap, as I know of no Moro kris that doesn't have this. And let's add a 5th and final one: the tang has to be non-circular, otherwise it won't be an effective slashing weapon.

Thus the five items above would be the 'must have'. And the rest would merely be 'nice to have'.

Using the above criteria, obviously the Bohol kalis is not a kris. Bec. though it satisfies four of the criteria, yet there's no "c". But I think all of us agreed already that the said kalis is not a kris.

Yet still, for me that kalis is a key piece in the puzzle. And that's because the said kalis, planted the seeds of what will become the Moro kris. And so we now turn to the plate below.

First the easy part -- the lower half of the plate pertains to what we already saw before: the leaf-shaped assymetrical double-blade over time and space was the classic form, both in our islands and abroad (Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, etc.).

And I've made the thickness of the aqua horizontal line thinner as one reached the 19th century. What I'm implying there is that the volume of blades produced with that design declined, as more assymetrical and larger blades grabbed the limelight over the last 300 years or so.

Now on the upper half of the plate --

The group of three hilts/blade should actually be on the lower half of the plate. But I just ran out of space. Anyway, it's good to also place that bunch up on top, because together with the Bohol kalis, we can see the seeds of what will aggregate to become a Moro kris:

(1) the 'elephant trunk & mouth' ['C'] on the northern Mindanao gold hilt is for me a key evidence, that the Moro kris must have been homegrown -- and as a side note, the round thing on the other side of the hilt is reminiscent of some Moro kampilan hilts, as well as other Indonesian hilt forms;

(2) then the blade assymetry on the Bohol kalis ['A2' crossed out] is yet another baby step;

(3) still on the Bohol kalis, the guard/ganya ['E'], and its greneng [also 'E'] would be further proofs; and

(4) finally, the square or rectangular tang ['D'], starting with the 10th to 13th century pieces would round up the picture.

In summary, since all these big ticket items can be found on archeological weapons artifacts in our country, then it is reasonable to conclude that most of the Moro kris' features are homegrown (the '70%', if we are to pick a number from the air).

As for the 30% (the finer features of the kris, which can't be found on ancient Phil. kalises), that to me is just icing on the cake And I can attribute those to Java as the source of the design elements (and this is not to belittle Java in any way of course).

Pls. correct me if I'm wrong. But my impression is that you are focusing on the 30% as proof that the Moro kris was not homegrown. But wouldn't that be a case of the tail wagging the dog?

But as I mentioned, I'd also like to try and destroy my own theory, if only to find out what's a more plausible scenario. Hence, while we all await with bated breath and with great anticipation Alan's book, can you please comment on the following?

(a) what would be the oldest Javanese artifact or image, wherein we can see something like 'C' in the illustration below (in any weapon), and we are not looking for a whole keris, that is, just that particular design element -- once found, we then compare the age of that, vis-a-vis the 10th to 13th century dating of that gold Mindanao hilt bearing 'C';

(b) what would be the oldest Javanese artifact or image, where there's a ganja preferably with greneng, in an asymmetrical dagger -- again, we will then compare it with the 10th to 15th century Bohol kalis bearing those features; and

(c) finally I've always been intrigued on what's supposed to be the oldest Javanese keris/es, as recovered from an archeological dig; can you please post pics of those? given Java's very rich cultural past, I've always wondered why I can't seem to find pics of those, which I'd really like to compare with ancient Phil. kalises.

In summary, if certain key design elements will be found on earlier Javanese objects (as compared to the Phil. specimens), then I will happily move on and formulate a different hypothesis

PS - My fearless forecast is that in between the Bohol kalis (10th to 15th C. AD) and the present Moro kris form (17th C.?), there ought to be another missing link in which either the leaf-shaped blade would have straightened already, and/or the gandhik would already be there on the opposite side of the greneng, with the gandhik design element most probably coming from Java, together with the janul, bungkur, lambeh gajah, etc.).

BTW, 'B' in the plate refers to the sun-fire-bird motif, which can be traced to the ancient Austronesian religion that venerates those, as the icons of the Upperworld (and the naga or croc or turtle, etc., as the icons of the Underworld). And so we see a coherent picture, of how the archeological items provide evidence of a continous stream from the past to the present forms.
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Old 20th August 2012, 10:18 AM   #63
A. G. Maisey
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There will be no book coming from me Miguel. I have consistently rejected that idea for more than 45 years.So luckily there is no need to abate your taking of breath.
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Old 20th August 2012, 10:27 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
There will be no book coming from me Miguel. I have consistently rejected that idea for more than 45 years.So luckily there is no need to abate your taking of breath.
What?

But didn't you say this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Miguel, the most recent opinions relating to the development of the Modern Keris (ie, the keris form that followed the Keris Buda) have not yet been published. With God's blessing perhaps later this year they may see daylight.
Incidentally, for somebody starting to study the archeology and history of the Javanese keris, what would be a good reference, if any? Thanks! PS - So who's the author of the forthcoming book you mentioned, if the info can be divulged already? Thanks again.
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Old 20th August 2012, 11:23 AM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
Gustav, thanks for the pics.

Given said pics posted by Gustav, then all the more I'm led to speculate that Ron's kris must have made by an Indonesian also, with the roundish tang and all ...


Dear Migueldiaz,

regarding the pictures I posted in#43, I would like to pose my opinion, which, of course has not much weight.

The kris without gonjo is the one nearest to the Javanese/Balinese keris. Yet even this kris has features we never would see on Javanese/Balinese keris, regardless of their age.

The kris with gold hilt is a big step towards typical Sulu kris.

Ron's blade in my eyes has a very Mindano like Gandhik area, which even would not fit the features of the more Jav./Bal.-like Sulu Gandhik. Here I really don't understand, why it has to be made from am a smith from present day Indonesia territory - just becouse it has a roundish tang?
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Old 20th August 2012, 12:37 PM   #66
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[QUOTE=migueldiaz]
I think it's reasonable to add a 4th one: a greneng, i.e., the blade trap, as I know of no Moro kris that doesn't have this.
[QUOTE=migueldiaz]

It has little to do with the discussion of kris origin, yet here I would like to remark, there are Moro kris without greneng.

[QUOTE=migueldiaz]
And let's add a 5th and final one: the tang has to be non-circular, otherwise it won't be an effective slashing weapon.
[QUOTE=migueldiaz]

Yes, but without any doubts there simply are Moro kris with round tang. You can't ignore them.

[QUOTE=migueldiaz]
(1) the 'elephant trunk & mouth' ['C'] on the northern Mindanao gold hilt is for me a key evidence, that the Moro kris must have been homegrown
[QUOTE=migueldiaz]

These ornamentics/symbols are found at many places in SEAsia, as you do remark by yourself. With the same ease you say this feature is Gandhik with 'elephant trunk & mouth' someone could remark it resembles Greneng. For a key evidence of a theory this likeness is a very week point.

[QUOTE=migueldiaz]
(4) finally, the square or rectangular tang ['D'], starting with the 10th to 13th century pieces would round up the picture.
[QUOTE=migueldiaz]

As earlier mentioned, even early Javanese keris forms and pre-keris daggers also have a rectangular tang. It is absolutely nothing unusual&typical only for Philippines.

[QUOTE=migueldiaz]
In summary, since all these big ticket items can be found on archeological weapons artifacts in our country, then it is reasonable to conclude that most of the Moro kris' features are homegrown (the '70%', if we are to pick a number from the air).

As for the 30% (the finer features of the kris, which can't be found on ancient Phil. kalises), that to me is just icing on the cake And I can attribute those to Java as the source of the design elements (and this is not to belittle Java in any way of course).

Pls. correct me if I'm wrong. But my impression is that you are focusing on the 30% as proof that the Moro kris was not homegrown. But wouldn't that be a case of the tail wagging the dog?
[QUOTE=migueldiaz]

Here I would like to remark, all on Moro kris looks like a typical Keris-culture-periphery product: the symbolic details from Javanes/Balinese repertoire are taken and repeated in a increasingly ornamental way ("just icing on the cake"), with time progressing in features more and more typical for this peripheral region and mixing with the specifical ornamentics and symbols of this region. Such development per se is absolutely normal and absolutely typical.

Regarding the object from Bohol, the ancient japanese spearheads would give a more appropriate forefather of kris: you could find there by far more features similar to Moro kris. As I see, there (Bohol-object) is no Gandhik (ricasso) at all, and terms Gonjo (in this case Gonjo Iras) and Greneng would be need to be very stressed to fit the features of this object. It distantly reminds the silhouette of Keris Sepang or perhaps Keris Puthut, yet there simply are no Moro Kris Sepang and Kris Puthut, and no Moro kris at all, which would look like the Bohol object.
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Old 20th August 2012, 01:06 PM   #67
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Miguel, I never at any time have mentioned a book, and I never at any time claimed that I was publishing anything, still in the not too far distant future there might be a small, inconsequential paper published that has been around 35 years in the making, that could possibly answer a few questions.

The study of the Javanese keris cannot be accomplished by a study of the keris itself, one needs to read extensively in at least anthropology, sociology, history and art; in addition, more than a little time in the field won't do any harm. As a starting point, my favourite recommendation is Margaret Wiener's "Visible and Invisible Realms", that could well be followed by the five volume work of Dr. Th. Pigeaud:- "Java in the Fourteenth Century". A working knowledge of Old Javanese (language) is pretty useful too.

You must understand that it is not possible to separate an icon of a culture from the culture itself. The entire culture must be examined, as well as the society in which that culture blooms.

I like what you're trying to do here. I don't think you're moving in the right direction, but you are thinking in a line away from the norm, and that is to be respected. In the long term, I feel you might add something to our understanding.
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Old 20th August 2012, 04:04 PM   #68
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Miguel, Gustav has already answered some of what you have presented, but i will also give it a go.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
I'm presenting below a rehash of my earlier visuals. And this will enable me to outline more clearly my position. But lemme say at the outset that I'm not emotionally attached to this position

This is good to hear. I also have no emotional attachment here, no horse in this race, so to speak. I am not tied to the present accepted theory of development, but do need to see solid evidence to the contrary before i would change my own opinion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
But first we have to agree on what defines a Moro kris. For me and simplistically speaking, a kris to be a Moro kris has to have the ffg.: (a) an assymetrical blade; (b) a ganya, i.e., the guard; and (c) that whole 'elephant trunk' assembly with the gaping 'mouth'.
I think it's reasonable to add a 4th one: a greneng, i.e., the blade trap, as I know of no Moro kris that doesn't have this. And let's add a 5th and final one: the tang has to be non-circular, otherwise it won't be an effective slashing weapon.

I can accept all of these except the last. As Gustav has pointed out there are indeed examples of Moro kris with round or rounded tangs. They cannot be ignored and they are not going away.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
Using the above criteria, obviously the Bohol kalis is not a kris. Bec. though it satisfies four of the criteria, yet there's no "c". But I think all of us agreed already that the said kalis is not a kris.

Perhaps we need to define our terms better, but on the Bohol kalis i not only do not see an "elephant trunk", but also NO gonjo/ganya, NO greneng and NO proper gandik. Please keep in mind that we are looking at this weapon in a very 2-dimensional format, but the blade appears very flat to me. I do not see a gandik by it's Javanese application on this blade.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
Yet still, for me that kalis is a key piece in the puzzle. And that's because the said kalis, planted the seeds of what will become the Moro kris. And so we now turn to the plate below.

I would also like to point out that this is the only example of this exact blade form which seems to have surfaced in the Philippines. That seems odd to me for the "seed" of what was to become the prevalent sword of the Moros. Where are the others and all the transitional forms?
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
(1) the 'elephant trunk & mouth' ['C'] on the northern Mindanao gold hilt is for me a key evidence, that the Moro kris must have been homegrown -- and as a side note, the round thing on the other side of the hilt is reminiscent of some Moro kampilan hilts, as well as other Indonesian hilt forms;

I'd say there is little doubt that this gold hilt shows some of the stylistic flourishes that would be added to the Moro kris from the original Javanese design. But the "elephant trunk & mouth" were features well in place in Javanese keris centuries before they appear on "archaic" Moro kris.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
(2) then the blade assymetry on the Bohol kalis ['A2' crossed out] is yet another baby step;

The assymetric blade is classic to the area and did not originate in the Philippines. Certainly this ancient form influenced the early development of the Javanese keris as we can more clearly see in the keris buda.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
(3) still on the Bohol kalis, the guard/ganya ['E'], and its greneng [also 'E'] would be further proofs; and

I hate to keep repeating myself, but i do not recognize any greneng nor a gonjo/ganya on the Bohol kalis. A simple widening of the blade at the base is not what defines a gonjo. It is a separte piece that has both width and specific shape. Even when gonjo iras, it is defined by an incised line.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
(4) finally, the square or rectangular tang ['D'], starting with the 10th to 13th century pieces would round up the picture.

As both Gustav and myself have pointed out, square and rectangular tangs are not the invention of the Philippines. They were used long before the 10th century examples you post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
In summary, since all these big ticket items can be found on archeological weapons artifacts in our country, then it is reasonable to conclude that most of the Moro kris' features are homegrown (the '70%', if we are to pick a number from the air).
As for the 30% (the finer features of the kris, which can't be found on ancient Phil. kalises), that to me is just icing on the cake And I can attribute those to Java as the source of the design elements (and this is not to belittle Java in any way of course).

I am afraid that it is these "finer features" that you refer to here that is what actual make a keris/kris a keris/kris. They are not flourishes, they are the meat of the matter. You seemed locked a the rather superficial, 2-dimensional overall assymetric leaf-shaped blade. Also the blades must be examined in 3-dimensions to truly understand the shape and design of these features.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
In summary, if certain key design elements will be found on earlier Javanese objects (as compared to the Phil. specimens), then I will happily move on and formulate a different hypothesis

As i mentioned before, i think we can safely say the the "modern" keris emerged in the Mojopahit period, though elements such as the gonjo and kembang kacang may have developed earlier. Since no known Moro kris with these features seem to have been created until a couple of centuries later and when they do emerge that look almost identical in features to their smaller Javanese/Balinese cousins i have little else to go in as to which preceded and influenced the other. If you can show me a 13th-14th century Moro kris with all these features intact that might be a game changer.

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Old 6th September 2012, 10:08 PM   #69
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Gustav, Alan, & David, many thanks for the replies

I'm still traveling at the moment (in Europe), and I continue to sift through hundreds of pics I've taken and counting (all about edged weapons, and which I'll post on separate threads later -- but just the ones I'm allowed to post). Hence, it may take some time before I can reply in more detail.

But here's a few quick ones --

1. first of all, I'm glad that these friendly 'debates' amongst forum members can be made: as said, if people are always agreeing, then no new knowledge can possibly arise;

2. I still think that your (Gustav & David's) definition on what makes a blade a keris-kris is very restrictive; and

3. but rather than debate on my no. 2 above, would there be a 3rd party definition we can all resort to? (e.g., from an authoritative book on kerises, so that it's not my own definition vs. your own definition) -- but this is not to say that I doubt what anybody here is saying; I'm just trying to borrow a principle that's used in business, wherein whenever there's disagreement, then one resorts to common industry practice or to a third party definition (e.g., via the judicial courts' previous clarifications).

On the other hand, I also realize that defining what a keris-kris is, can be tricky even among experts. But still, it might be worth a try.

Also, another way to resolve the matter (at least in the case of Moro krises), is to ask the old timers & smiths (i.e., Moros), on what makes a Moro kris a Moro kris. And whatever definition they'll give will have to be it I guess, since these are the very people that make these. I'm really meaning to interview Moro old timers soon. Thus, everybody please wish me 'luck'!

Finally, I just like to kindly reiterate that coming up with a definition as to what makes a bladed weapon a 'keris' [Javanese] or a 'kris' [Moro], etc., is the crux of the matter.

And my humble assessment of the current state of the 'debate' is this, and I'd like to use an analogy:

a. first, let's liken the kingdom of blades into the animal kingdom, where you have all sorts of birds, insects, fishes, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, etc.;

b. now for me, I define a "keris-kris" to be like the "primates", i.e., apes of all sizes & variations (all the guys we see below), that is, even though there are variations in these apes' looks, yet they are unique enough compared to the other mammals, & much more vs. the other animals;

c. and if I may be a little redundant just for the avoidance of doubt, I similarly think that the keris-kris form factor is unique enough vs. other blades, such even though the Bohol kalis may not have the finer details of a Javanese keris of the same age, yet compared to all the other blades out there, the differences between the Bohol kalis & Javanese keris will not be that significant relatively speaking; and

d. but on the other hand, my understanding of what David & Gustav are saying, is that they are alternatively defining a "keris-kris" (and still using my same analogy), to be a "gorilla" and nothing short of it.

In summary, in my own view a keris or kris stands out enough within the 'blade kingdom' by virtue of its unique shape. In the same manner, primates by virtue of their unique features, similarly stand out enough.

And for somebody to define a primate as equal to a gorilla only, is being too restrictive

Thus in conclusion, a definition [of a keris-kris] that would be the consensus of most experts should be had first IMHO, before further meaningful discussions can continue.

Just my two cents, and thanks to all.

PS - Like all analogies, at a certain point my analogy will fail. But I do hope that my little illustration above helps clarifies things a little. Thanks.
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Old 6th September 2012, 11:02 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
2. I still think that your (Gustav & David's) definition on what makes a blade a keris-kris is very restrictive; and

3. but rather than debate on my no. 2 above, would there be a 3rd party definition we can all resort to? (e.g., from an authoritative book on kerises, so that it's not my own definition vs. your own definition) -- but this is not to say that I doubt what anybody here is saying; I'm just trying to borrow a principle that's used in business, wherein whenever there's disagreement, then one resorts to common industry practice or to a third party definition (e.g., via the judicial courts' previous clarifications).

Well Miguel, for me it simply is what it is. While your idea of a third party definition might work well in some cases, it seems somewhat impractical in the case of keris/kris. Just because it is is a book doesn't make it so and i cannot personally think of any "authoritative" book on keris that spends that much time on the specifics of what technically makes a keris a keris. Perhaps someone can think of one that does.
As for the primate analogy, i think perhaps you are destroying your own argument there. For a blade to be a keris/kris, i have stipulated only that:

1. it have a asymmetric blade
2. it has a gonjo (separate or iras)
3. it has a gandik
The bohol "kalis" has only an asymmetric blade.

Now, to be considered a primate here is a short list for you:

1. Forward-facing eyes for binocular vision (allowing depth perception)
2. Increased reliance on vision: reduced noses, snouts (smaller, flattened), loss of vibrissae (whiskers), and relatively small, hairless ears
3. Color vision
4. Opposable thumbs for power grip (holding on) and precision grip (picking up small objects)
5. Grasping fingers aid in power grip
6. Flattened nails for fingertip protection, development of very sensitive tactile pads on digits
7.Primitive limb structure, one upper limb bone, two lower limb bones, many mammalian orders have lost various bones, especially fusing of the two lower limb bones
8. Generalist teeth for an opportunistic, omnivorous diet; loss of some primitive mammalian dentition, humans have lost two premolars
9. Progressive expansion and elaboration of the brain, especially of the cerebral cortex
10. Greater facial mobility and vocal repertoire
11. Progressive and increasingly efficient development of gestational processes
12. Prolongation of postnatal life periods
13. Reduced litter size—usually just one (allowing mobility with clinging young and more individual attention to young)
14. Most primates have one pair of mammae in the chest
15. Complicated social organization

So it would seem to me at least that the requirements necessary to be considered a primate are far greater than those for determining a keris. And i'm not even getting into the necessary similarity in DNA structure. Clearly we all understand that keris vary in form quite a bit, just as we see in all these different varieties of primates. This has to do with many factors, including, but not restricted to geographic location, era of production, purpose (talismanic, use as a weapon, art and/or prestige, status, etc.). But no matter how much they might vary, they still all have the 3 features i specified above.
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Old 7th September 2012, 04:55 AM   #71
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I'VE NEVER SEEN THIS MUCH MONKYING AROUND ON A TOPIC BEFORE. A FUN AND INFORMATIVE TOPIC REGARDLESS

AS REGARDS THE KERIS WHY AND WHEN THESE FEATURES THAT SET IT APART EVOLVED CAN ONLY BE APROXIMATED UNTIL SOME ARCHEOLOGIST MAKES A DIG IN THE RIGHT PLACE AND PERHAPS WE WILL GET SOME ANSWERS.
I SUSPECT THE CHANGES MADE TO THE MORO KRIS LIKELY CAME ABOUT BECAUSE OF FIGHTING PREFRENCES AND STYLES OF THE TRIBES IN THAT AREA. THEY DESIRED A LARGER MORE ROBUST WEAPON BUT ALSO WANTED TO KEEP MANY OF THE FEATURES OF THE KERIS. BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED THE LEGENDS AND STORIES ABOUT THE POWER AND MAGIC OF THE KERIS AS WELL AS IT BEING A TRADITIONAL FORM SO THEY INCORPORATED AND MODIFIED ITS FEATURES TO FULFILL THEIR NEEDS.
BECAUSE OF THE SIZE OF THE MORO KRIS AND THE WAY IT WAS USED A ROUND TANG WAS NOT AS GOOD AS THE SQUARE ONE. I SUSPECT EARLIER SWORDS OF THE REGION WERE SQUARE TANGED AND CLOSER TO THE SINGLE EDGED FORMS, MANDAU,/KAMPILIAN AND POSSIBLY THE BARONG MAY PREDATE THE MORO KRIS.
I HAVE TRIED TO FIND AN OLD POST ON A OLD AND UNIQUE KRIS BUT SO FAR HAVE FAILED SO WHEN I CAN I WILL TRY AND TAKE SOME MORE PICTURES TO POST HERE TO SEE WHERE IT WILL FIT INTO YOUR CLASSIFICATION. PERHAPS ITS A MISSING LINK OF SORTS.
JUST CONJECTURE BUT NOT MONKEY BUSINESS
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Old 7th September 2012, 08:10 AM   #72
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Hello Lorenz,

Just a few notes (I'll try to expand on some other points raised when I finally find some time):


Quote:
I still think that your (Gustav & David's) definition on what makes a blade a keris-kris is very restrictive;

I'm afraid that this "strict" definition is the de facto consensus among the specialized collectors/researchers, even for those focused on non-Javanese keris or, like me, with a strong Moro bias.


Quote:
Also, another way to resolve the matter (at least in the case of Moro krises), is to ask the old timers & smiths (i.e., Moros), on what makes a Moro kris a Moro kris. And whatever definition they'll give will have to be it I guess, since these are the very people that make these. I'm really meaning to interview Moro old timers soon. Thus, everybody please wish me 'luck'!

I'm wishing you lots of luck in your quest and a safe return!
It would be great to obtain and preserve as much input by those old folks as long as we are lucky to have them around!


Quote:
Finally, I just like to kindly reiterate that coming up with a definition as to what makes a bladed weapon a 'keris' [Javanese] or a 'kris' [Moro], etc., is the crux of the matter.

I don't think any definition is really that important: names/definitions as well as concepts/ideas/hypotheses are just there to help communication/thinking. When discussing origin and evolution of a cultural phenomenon, we need to concentrate on the details rather than broad definitions. Moreover, definitions/conventions (even within a single culture while the keris has been influenced by a multitude of cultures, ethnic groups and religions) are bound to change over time.


Quote:
Thus in conclusion, a definition [of a keris-kris] that would be the consensus of most experts should be had first IMHO, before further meaningful discussions can continue.

IMHO the most important step for discussing this Bohol blade would be to narrow down its dating (the current guess is pretty much useless). Have you received any response from the curator wether a donation will speed up a reanalysis with modern techniques?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 15th September 2012, 01:43 AM   #73
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HERE ARE SOME PICTURES OF THE OLD AND UNUSUAL KRIS. IT IS 28 INCHES OVERALL, BLADE IS 22 AND 11/16IN. LONG. 4 AND 15/16 IN WIDE ACROSS TOP. HANDLE IS CARVED OF HORN WITH SILVER FITTINGS. IN THE FORM OF SOME DEAMON OR DIETY WITH TONGUE PROTRUDING. IT SHOWS A LOT OF AGE AND HAD A OLDER BLADE FORM LIKE A MALAYSIAN OR INDONESIAN KERIS. WE HAD A GOOD DISCUSSION ON IT IN THE OLD ARCHIVED FORUMS BUT I COULD FIND NO TRACE OF THE POST.
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Old 15th September 2012, 06:17 PM   #74
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That's a very cool old kris Barry. I suspect that it is not Moro, but a Malay form. Seem obvious that this one was not made to incorporate asang-asang. If anyone can locate the old thread on this i'd like to read it. That hilt is very, very awesome!
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Old 20th September 2012, 04:32 PM   #75
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David, Barry, & Kai, thanks for all the comments.

And to 'monkey' with the topic some more, earlier there was a comment on why is there only one such example of a proto-Philippine kris (i.e., the Bohol kalis) per my assertion or speculation.

My answer to that is that discoveries of archeological blade artifacts are really few and far between. Also, if an evolutionist would have finally found his half-ape/half-man missing link and he found only one, I don't think people will question why there is only one example. Btw, I don't believe in evolution (but that's going off-topic).

On the dating of the Bohol kalis as being supposedly no good -- because it's very wide (a 500-year range, between 10th to 15th century AD) -- I don't agree with the 'no good' objection We have to distinguish between precision and accuracy (see illustration below).

If while traveling around New York and New Jersey I lost my bag and a reliable person told me I lost it for sure within Central Park, that tip won't certainly be no good. The info is admittedly not precise (Central Park is about 3.5 sq-km). But on the other hand the info is very accurate (at least I'd know that the bag is not in Brooklyn, and for sure it's not in Jersey). And if somebody will add that my bag was last seen at Strawberry Fields (the Lennon memorial inside Central Park), then that would not only be accurate but also very precise.

The 10th to 15th century dating is surely accurate -- there's consensus amongst experts that it's within that age range. But we need more precision as we all said. And a radiocarbon dating or any other suitable lab procedure is the next step, as far as getting a tighter age range is concerned.

So what am I trying to say? Haha, I lost my train of thought ...

PS'es --

Barry, nice examples you posted there. It's now clear that the blade profile ('waisted') used in the Bohol kalis still lives.

David, I think my primate analogy didn't come out that clearly. It's my fault. So I'll rehash the analogy, and make another post very soon (just fixing the revised 'planet of the apes' illustration). Thanks.

Kai, and I still think it's all about definitions
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Old 20th September 2012, 05:22 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
Barry, nice examples you posted there. It's now clear that the blade profile ('waisted') used in the Bohol kalis still lives.


Dear Migueldiaz,

this blade shape is not something reserved for Bohol object.

This is the picture of a keris with provenance. It came to Japan at 1620.
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Old 21st September 2012, 05:25 AM   #77
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Just a quick one on one of Barry's posted pics above ... I just found out that if you google the pic's filename (e.g., "ev01a monster kris.jpg" for that smallest pic), then it'll lead you right to the webpage. Thus, voilà! --

'HELP WITH IDENTIFICATION OF SWORD KERIS'

However, Google didn't work for the two other pics .... Perhaps the forum moderators can ask the techie who maintains the forum as to how we can do a global search within EAAF, using any search string (i.e., whether keywords, or photo file names, etc). I think setting up this search function will be a piece of cake ... if it's not already there
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Old 21st September 2012, 05:47 AM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav
... this blade shape is not something reserved for Bohol object. This is the picture of a keris with provenance. It came to Japan at 1620.
Thanks Gustav, for the pic. And I see that you've been talking about these objects for quite some time now. Nice discussion!

But may I know what the point is? Because at first blush, it appears to me that you are giving me 'ammo' instead That is, these objects were supposedly picked up in Manila (i.e., Philippines) back then, in the early 1600s. Hence, presenting these objects only help me bolster my contention that the 'waisted' kalis blade, just like the Bohol kalis, is an ancient Phil. blade shape (but for sure, there's no exclusivity, as this blade shape is also found in many other cultures) ...

Thus you need to make more explicit your points, please. Thanks again.
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Old 21st September 2012, 05:58 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by migueldiaz
... the 'waisted' kalis blade, just like the Bohol kalis, is an ancient Phil. blade shape (but for sure, there's no exclusivity, as this blade shape is also found in many other cultures) ...
Just to add an example to the non-exclusivity of subject blade shape, here's a Nepalese blade that looks very similar (blade with a 'waist'). And it even has those triangular 'blade catcher'-shaped guards on both sides of the hilt.

But I'm sure nobody among us will claim that certain Nepalese blades are therefore related to the Southeast Asian keris-kris. And it's because we cannot analyze these things on a mere superficial level. I'm sure we are all in agreement on this point.

And so the blade shape is just the starting point. And we all look deeper -- trade routes, ancient religions which are the ones that bring forth design motifs, etc. To recap, I think there's no argument here at all

But hey, I still owe David that reply ...

PS - If I can get past this discussion on this 'very old kris', I'll also be starting another thread soon on blade forms found on stone carvings, statues, etc. And the pic below will be one of them.
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Old 21st September 2012, 06:31 AM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
But may I know what the point is? Because at first blush, it appears to me that you are giving me 'ammo' instead That is, these objects were supposedly picked up in Manila (i.e., Philippines) back then, in the early 1600s. Hence, presenting these objects only help me bolster my contention that the 'waisted' kalis blade, just like the Bohol kalis, is an ancient Phil. blade shape (but for sure, there's no exclusivity, as this blade shape is also found in many other cultures) ...


Dear Migueldiaz,

the point is, this blade is absolutely clearly Javanese/Balinese and has nothing to do with Philippines. That this blade was aquirred in Philippines is only one possibility, and this possibility is touched only in a wikipedia article. And I must say, I very possibly have read all existing publications about this keris.
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Old 21st September 2012, 07:50 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by migueldiaz
But I'm sure nobody among us will claim that certain Nepalese blades are therefore related to the Southeast Asian keris-kris. And it's because we cannot analyze these things on a mere superficial level. I'm sure we are all in agreement on this point.

The commonly accepted wisdom is that the keris as we know it (asymmetrical blade, gonjo, gandik, greneng, etc.) originated in Jawa, but the basic design for the keris didn't just pop out of thin air. Other blades certainly influenced its design. It did not develop in a vacuum. The "modern" keris (Mojopahit) developed in a Hindu influenced empire whose cultural roots come from India. Nepal is right next to India and also a Hindu state influenced by India. So, while i hate to surprise you like this Lorenz, of course there is a possibility, maybe even a likelihood, that this Nepalese blade is related to the keris and perhaps a forerunner in design to what was to become the "modern" keris in Jawa in the Mojopahit (or before) period. The Javanese keris has a few differences in the details, the specifics that we have already been over many times in this thread. The Moro kris, which doesn't seem to arrive until at least a couple of centuries later (again, please show me a Moro kris with all features intact that is earlier than the 16th century) has these same exact details of design. So for me, given all the present evidence we have to examine, the Moro kris was developed based on the specific design elements of the "modern" Javanese keris. All these features in the Javanese keris were fully intact before they appeared on the Moro kris.
I am completely open to examining evidence to the contrary if and when it arrives. Still waiting...
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Old 22nd September 2012, 02:55 AM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav
the point is, this blade is absolutely clearly Javanese/Balinese and has nothing to do with Philippines. That this blade was aquirred in Philippines is only one possibility, and this possibility is touched only in a wikipedia article. And I must say, I very possibly have read all existing publications about this keris.
Thanks indeed Gustav, for sharing your research and knowledge about this Sendai kris, among others.

I've just read and reread your latest post on the Sendai kris, from the other thread, which I've cross-quoted in full below for the reader's convenience.

The portions therefrom which I'd like to quote are these:
"The blade is straight the size is too big or too long compared to Javanese kerises ... The features of the keris blade are very much similar to those of the Balinese keris."

"The characteristics of the blade resemble those of the Balinese. The characteristics are amorig others, the size is longer compared to the present Javanese on the surface is smooth and shiny, the greneng is cut in U form in combination with triangular or pointed form ... From other keris collections in Europe we notice that the keris blade from, about 16th-17th century in Java (East Java) have similar characteristics as those found in Bali made from more or less the same period. In the case of the keris from the Sendai city museum it is probably certain that it came from Bali, because the selut and the mendak are of Balinese style."

"The objects painted on one half of the gambar (the front gambar) is two arrows crossing through a red heart, two flying doves, and each one is biting the heart with their beaks. This painting is considered unusual for a Javanese or Balinese keris. According to Dietrich Drescher, this painting is a symbol of Christianity. It is interesting to note that the paint on the doves coming off, it was, in my opinion, done to purpose, sice the paint came off as large as the figures, and following the outline of the doves. And so is the fact with the bodies of the arrows ...

"It raises questions who repainted the gambar and when and what is the original painting look like. We hardly can answer these questions, as there is no evidence, except that the previous owner of the keris probably was a Christian. This opinion was based on the depiction of the heart with two arrows and doves. Who could be a Christian at that time (ca. late 16 th century AD)? Certainly not Javanese or a Balinese, but could be Spanish, a Portuguese or a Dutchman who gained the keris in Europe. In the case of the the possibility (that the keris was gained in Bali, Indonesia), it is possible that the keris was given by a Balinese owner to a dearest male friend or guest who was probably a sailor from Europe ...

"There is another possibility that the keris was presented to the guest in Bali. Before or after it was presented, the guest or the new owner wanted the picture on the gambar to be changed into a heart with crossed arrows. The picture was changed or repainted by the same craftsman who painted the warangka."

In summary, I think the researcher is saying that: (a) he's sure the Sendai kris is not Javanese; (b) he's positive it's Balinese; and (c) he's sort of scratching his head on how the Christian design elements figured into the scabbard.

And if I understood his article correctly, I think he's supposing that the Japanese traveler got the kris in Europe from a Christian there, then he took it back home to Japan.

Obviously I'm incompetent to critique on points 'a' and 'b' since I'm no keris expert. But I'm really wondering why there's no mention of Manila at all in his discussion of 'c', as another possibility.

Manila (most of the Philippines, that is), is the only Christian country in Asia, then and now. And the Japanese traveler who acquired the Sendai keris did stay in Manila for two years(?) before finally heading back to Japan. Thus the question to my mind is, why go to Christian Europe halfway around the globe for the explanation of the Christian motifs when Christian Philippines was just right there.

And to me it's very unlikely that said Japanese traveler did not collect any blade from the Philippines -- however, there's this quasi-Christian keris-kris he got but he did not get it from Christian Manila where he stayed for two years, but it was from Europe instead where he picked up the kris?!

If the article's author mentioned Manila as a possible pick-up point for the kris, and then debunked it, that would have been better.

But the silence is deafening!

---

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav
Dear All,

with some luck I have found the very important article of Wahyono Martowikrido about this kris on the net.

Wahyono Martowikrido

AN INDONESIAN KERIS IN THE COLLECTION OF SENDAI CITY MUSEUM, SENDAI, JAPAN.

Introduction

In July 26,1997, the author has the opportunity to visit Sendai City Museum, which is situated at Sendai City, about 350 km to the northeast of Tokyo, Japan, lies on the eastern coast of Honshu Island. The main purpose to visit the museum is to observe a keris[1], which is in the collection of the museum, said to be dated keris from at least the end of the 16th century A.D. or early 17 th Century A.D. The author gained information about the existence of the keris from Dietrich Drescher, a German keris expert. The later gained information about existence of the keris from a curator of the National Museum, Singapore. The author in 1997 received a grant from the Tokyo National Museum to visit Japan. He used this opportunity to visit Sendai City Museum. In thus opportunity, the author would like to thanks to those who made this visit possible: the Tokyo National Museum and the curators, Prof. Tatsuro Hirai from the Tama Art University who was willing to accompany the author to visit the Sendai City Museum, the curators of the museum, especially Mr. Yun’ichi Uchiyama, Mr. Tomoyuki Higuchi and Ms. Akemi Takahashi who kindly prepared the keris for the observation. Mr. Kazuhiro Sazaki, an ex-curator of the museum, who is interested in the Javanese keris, was also present.

As the result of the observation, an article has been written by the author, entitled “ Report on a Keris in the Collection of Sendai City Museum, Japan”, Jakarta, 1997. Unfortunately this article was not published. This present article is based on the “report” with some corrections and additions.

Apart from the above mentioned article, the Keris has been mentioned in some publications:

1988 - Japanese Delegation for Europe in Keicho Period with appendix: Japanese articles and paintings (in Japanese), Catalogue of Sendai City Museum I, Date Masamune’s Mission to Rome in 1615. Sendai City Museum.

1995 - The World and Japan-Tensho and Keicho Mission to Europe 16th-17th Centuries (in Japanese). Sendai City Museum.

1998 - Sasaki, Kazuhiro, A Fundamental Study on Hasekura’s Kastane and Kris. Bulletin of Sendai City Museum 18:1-33.

1998 - Sasaki, Kazuhiro, The Kastane and the Kris; Their Arrival in Japan in 1620, in Royal Armouries Yearbook, Vol. 3, pp. 141-144, Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds.

1998 - Drescher, Dietrich, and Achim Weihrauch, Ein fürstlicher Kris-ein kleinod in der Tradition von Majapahit, Indonesien, Kunstwerke-Weltbilder, Linz. Pp. 40-51.

In the two publications by Sendai City Museum, very little was known about the keris and it was considered as a dagger. In the “report on a keris in the Collection of Sendai City Museum” it is written the short history of Hasekura Tsunenaga and the preliminary description of the keris with some limitations in the description. Mr. Kazuhiro Sasaki in his article published in Royal Armouries Yearbook 1998 tells us about the detailed description of the keris and on the fact that the keris and the kastane ( a sword of Ceylon) were brought by Hasekura Tsunenaga and presented to Date Masamune (the lord of the Sendai Domain). Dietrich Drescher and Achim Weihrauch in their article include the photographs of the keris by Kazuhiro Sasaki in order to compare with the keris MVK Wien, INV. nr. 91.919.a, b. (Waffersammlung, Kaiserliches Zeughaus, Weltliche Schatzkammer;1750).

This article is written with the assumption that the Javanese and Balinese cultures were similar or almost similar, especially on the keris making. The Balinese court was established by the Majapahit nobility who came to Bali after the fall of the great kingdom in the 15 th century A. D.[2] Artisans from East Java were moved to Bali during the time, brought with them their knowledge of keris and forgery.

Hasekura Tsunenaga

The keris was brought to Japan by Hasekura Tsunenaga, a Japanese who went to Spain and Rome in early 17 th century A. D. The embassy was sent by Date Masamune (1571-1630) a feudal lord of Sendai domain, to visit Mexican and Europe headed by Hasekura Tsunenaga (1571-1622). On the delegation’s return to Japan in 1620 , a kastane and the keris were presented to Masamune[3].

In the later part of 16 th century and early years of the 17th century, the government of Japan underwent major changes in power from leadership of Oda Nobunaga to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and then to Tokugawa Ieyasu. This was also the “Golden Age of Exploration” in Europe and as the Europeans looked toward Japan with interest, so did the Japanese look to Europe. Under the guidance of father Alexandro Valignano of the Society of Jesus, a group of Japanese youths made a voyage from Kyusu to Europe via the Indian Ocean and had an audience with Pope Gregory XIII and Sixtus V in 1585. Thirty years later, another delegation led by Hasekura Tsunenaga under the order from Date Masamune of Sendai, and accompanied by a Francescan priest named Father Luis Sotelo, crossed the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. They met King Philip III of Spain and Pope Paul V in 1615[4]. Hasekura Tsunenaga was a vassal of Date Masamune, a daimyo of Sendai area. In September 1613, Date Masamune asked Hasekura Tsunenaga to go to Spain via Mexico with the Franciscan priest Father Luis Sotelo. He was also accompanied by more than 20 Japanese persons. They were going by sea following the Spanish sea-route. In December 1613, they reached Mexico, and the trip continued across the Atlantic, heading for Spain. In January 1615 Hasekura Tsunenaga met the Spanish King, Philip III and presented him a letter from Date Masamune. It was mentioned in the letter that Date Masamune wanted to open a commercial trading between Spain and Japan. In February 1615, Hasekura Tsunenaga was baptized in a monastery in Spain, probably in Madrid. He got a Christian name; Don Philip Francesco.

Accompanied by seven Japanese persons, Hasekura Tsunenaga went to Rome and in November 1615 he met Pope Paul V. He received citizenship (civil rights) of the city of the Rome from a senior statesmen in Rome. They went back to Spain by land as they arrived in Spain, they asked about the condition of opening trade between both countries, but unfortunately the Spanish government did not approve it. Hasekura Tsunenaga went back to Japan via Mexico, and stay for two years in Manila before he went back to Sendai in 1620. He died two years later (1622)in Sendai[5].

On his way back to Japan, Hasekura brought with him many articles gained during his trip and one of them is the keris. He also brought a short sword commonly called kastane, which was the product of Srilangka (Sasaki, 1998). We do not know exactly when, where and whom he gained these objects from.

In 1789, Sato Tozo, a vassal of the Date Clan and keeper of its swords, compiled a list of the swords and spears owned by the family in the Kenso Hiroku (secret chronicles of swords and spears) and summarized the two swords as follow:

Foreign-made swords

Present to the Date family by Hasekura Tsunenaga.

In the Eiei Goyuraicho (an inventory record of the Date family’s possessions, including articles for daily use, kimonos, swords and another weapons and armor), Hino Tesshu and Tomizawa Kaikyu mention these two swords. They are recorded as being brought back by Hasekura Tsunenaga during his mission abroad.[6]

Eiei Goyuraicho was written between 1704 and 1710, no longer survives. Hino Tesshu was a vassal of the Date Clan and started working as keeper of the swords around 1650. Tomizawa Kaikyu was also a retainer with the Dates and it is highly probable that he was in charge of recording a study made in 1708 of Christianity and Firearms. From these two swords were brought back by Hasekura Tsunenaga and were given to Date Masamune[7] .

Description of the keris

The blade

The length from the hilt to the point of the keris is 511 mm, and weight 354 g. The scabbard is 408 mm. Long and weight 68 g. The blade is straight, made of iron, neatly made, with iron crust on the surface especially at the trip.The blade is straight the size is too big or too long compared to Javanese kerises. The iron has grey color with very fine grain and shiny. The features of the keris blade are very much similar to those of the Balinese keris. [8]

At the base of the keris we find a pijetan, sogokan, tikel alis and srawéyan , sekar kacang or tlalé gajah, jénggot, lambé gajah, jalu memet, grènèng[9]. The sogokan is deep with sharp janur (the bridge). The most interesting thing is that the srawéyan and the tikel alis in the keris is going up and ended only about ten centimeters from the tip of the blade. Usually, the grooves on both sides of the sogokan are only 5 cm long. The grènèng is cut in U form, while usually on kerises of later dates, it is cut in O form.[10] The pesi is round in its cross section and the size is considered a big one.

The gañja is about 1 cm. Thick, separately made to the blade. It is said that the material for the gañja was cut from the tip of the blade. The front part is called endas cecak (the lizards head) that has plinths in the front. The cutting of the endas cecak is triangular that reminds us to bronze gañja, now in the collection of the National Museum, Jakarta.[11] The head and the tail of the gañja are thick while usually the tail of it is thin. The bottom surface of the gañja is decorated with gold ornament, consisting of the scroll motif with leaves and red stones held in gold clamps in-groups of three. The gold is thick so it looks like a relief. On the sides of the gañja are also decorated with gold, but the gold is thinner than that at the bottom of it. The design is also scrolls with leaves. Gold ornament with thin gold leaf is also applied at the base of the keris on the left and right gusèn (the sides of keris blade near the sharp ends) as long as the sogokan. Many parts of the gold decoration are coming off. It is surprising that they are no traces of the gold leaf visible on the blade, on the part that the gold leaves coming off, which suggest that the gold leaves were penetrated onto the blade by gluing[12] .

The pamor is light grey in color, showing the patterns of curvy lines. The color of the pamor is not so contrast to that of the iron. This pamor can be categorized as pamor sanak, i.e. pamor made of different iron with so small difference in grain size and phosphorous (and arsenic) content in the metal.[13]

The Handle

The handlen is made of wood, carved in the shape of a human figure. The wood is light brown and lightweight, and it has a fine grain. The condition of the handle is poor, as cracks are visible and one of them is a big one that divides the handle in two vertically.[14] To avoid in breaking apart, the handle is tied with black threads in two parts, at the arms and at the bottom of the statue.

At the bottom of the handle is a hole, where the pẽsi is inserted into it. To make it hard or strong, the pési is covered with fragment of cloth. The cloth consist of. among others, a fragment of lurik (a stripe design cloth).

The handle is of a type that has no sélut i.e. a polished metal ornament that encases the base of the ukiran.[15] Metal decoration that covers the bottom part of the handle. The bottom part is undecorated, a little part of it at the base is covered with metal decoration (méndak).

The handle is shaped like human, a male figure is depicted in sitting position, with the head is leaning to the right. The hair is rolled up at the fronq and back of the head, heavily ornamented. This kind of hairdo is commonly called gélung céntung in Central Java. This kind of hairdo is also depicted on some heroes in the wayang leather puppets in Bali. In the temple relief of East Java, such as Candi Jago and Pénataran, this kind of gélung is abundantly depicted.[16] He has a jamang (headband) in front of the head above the forehead and it has a square decoration at the middle of it. On the sides, above the ears he has an up straight triangular decoration (sumping?), and behind the ears is decoration of scroll motif. At the earlobes are ear hangers with decoration of a flower in square.

The man has an oval face, with his eyes half-open, long nose and thick lips. The eyebrows are high. The face has smooth surface, with remnants of black ink or paint. The black ink is visible at the side of the fa4e, under the eyes, next to the nose, under the nose, etc. The neck is short and undecorated.

He is wearing a necklace, decorated with scroll motif, which is depicted in relief on the chest. A black paint (ink) is applied around his neck. Some ornaments are hanging over his shoulders. His hands are on the sides of his stomach. Both hands are decorated with armbands arid bracelets. Six rings (wires) are worn to make a set of armband, while another six rings (wires) intermingled at their ends to make a set of bracelet. His left hand is on the left of the stomach, with his forefinger straightforward as if he points on to something. His right hand is also on the right side of his stomach, his hand is downward and his palm is facing to the front.

His right foot is placed over (across) his left leg. This position shows that the man is in sitting position.[17] The lef leg is supposed to be downward, bent a little bit on the knee, but in this case it is not clearly depicted as it is decorated with scorlls and floral motif. On both sides it is decorated with scrolls, while at the back is a triangular floral motif. The base of it is plain space that acts like a bonggol or bungkul, which is the lower part of the handle.

The upper body is bare with a necklace hanging on the breast. A cloth uncovers the right leg. He is wearing a cawat, a piece of cloth that goes in between his legs and tightened with waistband on the waits. Asnother piece of cloth is wrapped around his waist.[18]

Selut and Mendak

Underneath the bungkul are the selut and the mendak that are made separately of metal, probably low carat gold. Mendak is the metal ring placed around the pesi (metal stick under the blade of the keris). The selut is the metal cover usually covers the bungkul (the round bottom of the handle). In the case of keris in the collection of the Sendai City Museum, the selut can be considered as “false” selut because it is only covers a small part of the bungkul not the whole one. The border between the covered part of the bungkul and the uncovered is marked with black line, using black paint or probably ink. The mendak and selut are made separately. One end of the mendak is made in away so that it can be inserted into the other end of the selut. The other end of the selut is covering the bottom part of the bungkul. The mendak is decorated on the side with plinths, while the selut is decorated with plinths at the bottom, a wide-band at the middle and a flaring rim at the top. The middle band is decorated with rounded objects (relief) and eight clamps to hold red gemstones (mirah delima) (delima=pomegranate, Punika granatum) Some of the red stones are missing.

The Sheat

The sheath or warangka is made of brown lightwood. The upper (the gambar) and the lower parts (the gandar) of the sheath are made of one bulk of wood, to make it called warangka iras. The gandar is considered long compared to the width of the gambar.

The gambar is in the shape of a square bodywith pointed parts on top corners. The left and the right parts of the gambar are almost symmetrical, except that one part of it is thicker and has a lower trip. The gambar (the upper part of the sheath) has two damages on both tips. The gambar is also decorated with paintings on both sides. It is of the type of ladrang. At one side, the painting decoration depicts a dark red heart. The shape of the heart is like a mango fruit. The heart is pierced in cross with two arrows. On both sides of the heart are doves, both are in flying position and biting the side of the heart. In many parts of yhe painting, large parts of the paint are coming off. Colors used in this painting are red, light green, green and dark, blue or black. The black is for the outlines.

The gandar underneath thus painting fully with the so-called alas-alasan pattern or pattern depicting various animals, inhabitants of the forest. Along the lenght and at the middle of the gandar is a ridge. The ridge runs at the middle of the gambar, from the top down to the tip, while at the other side, the ridge is absent. On both sides of the gandar and also along the ridge, are decorated with stripes of ochre or reddish brown color. This color might the basic color of the gandar as it is shown at the tip of it. At the tip, there is an area where the paint coming off, opening the large part of it and the ocre color is visible. From the photograph, it is clearly shown that the color painted on the gandar is different to that painted on the gambar. The paint on the gambar seems to be paler that that of the gandar.

The top of the gandar is painted with the five mountains (gunungan) with dark red color underneath the gunungan is vegetable or floral painting, followed by a white line placed in between two black out-line in zigzag manner to create spaces. It is depicting a long tree branch to make borders for the spaces. On the top space is painted a walking snake with open mouth, surrounded by floral or vegetable plants of blue or dark blue and red clors. Inderneath it is another space decorated with painting of a deer and a baby deer in front of him. Under the deer is decorated with floral motif colors used in this painting are red, light green, green and dark blue or black. The black is for the outlines.

The gandar underneath this painting is painted fully with the so-called alas-alasan pattern or a pattern depicting various animals, inhabitants-of the forest Along the length and at the middle of the gandar is a ridge. The ridge runs at the middle of the gambar from the top down to the tip, while at the other side, the ridge is absent. on both sides of the gandar and also along the ridge, are decorated with stripes of ochre or reddish brown color. This color might be the basic color of the gandar, as it is shown at the tip of it. At the tip, there is an area where the paint coming off, opening the large part of it and the ochre color is visible.

From the photograph, it is clearly shown that the color painted on the gandar is different to that painted on the gambar. The paint on the gambar seems to be paler than that of the gandar.

I

The top of the gandar is painted with -the five mountains (gunungan) with dark red color underneath the gunungan is vegetable or floral painting, followed by a white line placed in between two black out-line in zigzag manner to create spaces. It is depicting a long tree branch to make borders for the spaces. On the top space is painted a “walking" snake with open mouth, surrounded by floral or vegetable plants of blue or dark blue and red colors . Underneath it is another space decorated with painting of a deer and a baby deer in front of him. Under the deer is decorated with floral motif under the floral motif is depicted a wolf (or tiger?) facing to our left. Five mountains are depicted under the animal in blue (or black) and red colors and the space underneath are filled with floral motif. A white turkey (or cassowary bird) is depicted standing with open beak facing to the left (of us). underneath the bird is a space filled with floral motif or animal, but it is badly damage so that we can not identify the animal A quadruped is depicted under the above-mentioned space, unfortunately the painting at the body of the animal is damage. we can see the rear legs have hooves with spurs. Animal with hooves and spurs, as far as we know, are depicted in vietnamese ceramic as kylin.[19] Under the kylin is a bird or rooster with tail consisting of, beautiful feathers. The bird is facing to the left (to us) depicted with open beak. under the bird is another space painted with a quadruped that looks like a boar (or a wolf). The boar is painted in dark blue color. The following is a group of three mountains to be depicted in combination of red and blue colors, under the animal. The mountain depicted in the center of the group is the largest. Under the mountains is a large space filled with floral motif and probably animals too, but it is not clear because the paints are coming off .(peeling off) in many places.

Mountains, two triangular panels and a rectangular one are depicted at one side of the gambar. The drawings in the panels, are not clear, as the paints are damages.

The other side of the gambar is decorated with painting depicting two animals, probably y a crouching elephant and a quadruped facing each other, Surrounded by floral motif with birds or cocks. Large areas of, the paint are coming off, so it is difficult to identi y the animals n the painting. The quadruped depicted on the left is facing to the right. His rear legs are visible and it is turn out that one of them has a bird's claw as the hoof. It might be a depi ction of a mythical animal. The colors used in this painting are similar to those used in the painting on the other side of the gambar. Underneath this painting, the gandar is left unpainted.

Discussion

The characteristics of the blade resemble those of the Balinese.[20] The characteristics are amorig others, the size is longer compared to the present Javanese on the surface is smooth and shiny, the greneng is cut in U form in combination with triangular or pointed form. The blade has iron crust, especially at the tip of it. The Javanese believe that the presence of the crust is a sign that the keris was contaminated with human blood, as it was probably used to stab a person. So far, there is no scientific proof about that opinion. From other keris collections in Europe we notice that the keris blade from, about 16th-17th century in Java (East Java) have similar characteristics as those found in Bali made from more or less the same period.[21] In the case of the keris from the Sendai city museum it is probably certain that it came from Bali, because the selut and the mendak are of Balinese style.

The mendak and selut are unique, because they are made as if a container with its lid. The selut is made pseudo or false, as it covers only a small part of the bungkul while usually it covers all. The fact that both objects are embellished with red stones is matching to the tradition at that time in Bali, as we found Balinese kerises with selut and mendak are decorated with red stones.[22] This tradition was not occurred in Java, instead the selut and mendak in Java were decorated with diamonds, or yakuts a material resembles rough diamond.

The handle is in the shape of a human, which is identified as Arjuna. This opinion is based on the fact that he has the hair-do that usually is worn by Arjuna as it is shown in the Balinese wayang puppet). He is depicted as having no moustache.[23]

The statue has two important gestures the first is the way he sit, while the second is the pointed left hand. He is sitting with his right leg down, while his left leg is crossed and placed over the right leg . This position is widely depicted in the relief of East Javanese temples, so that we can suspect that this sitting gesture has special meaning. The meaning is still obscure to us. The pointed left hand is a sign of anger. To point the forefinger to a victin or enemy is common in Javanese or Balinese culture. In the relief of Rama depicted in the inner wall of the main temple at Prambanan temple complex, Rama is depicted with his left hand pointed to his enemy with his fore-and middle fingers. Up to this day, pointed finger or fingers is still use in the Javanese and Balinese dancing as well to express the anger or the need to defeat an enemy. About pointing a finger to a victim is also mentioned by Gardner that the Malays have a much feared & from a sorcery, tuju : pointing out a victim to a spirit or evil, or setting the spirit at him; the pointing is usually done with the finger.[24]

The hilt statue depicts Arjuna who is in the condition of fightin and in love. Arjuna in this position is matching to the story of arjuna wiwaha or the marriage of Arjuna to a nymph Suprabha. In short, the story is as follows: Arjuna was in his meditation to ask the dewas a weapon. In the mean time the abode of the dewas was attacked by Niwatakaca, a demon who defeated the kahyangan. The dewas ask Arjuna to defeat the King Niwatakaca. With his weapon Arjuna was able to kill the King Niwatakaca. To greet this success, Arjuna was given a nymph suprabha by name, the most beautiful nymph in heaven. Arjuna and suprabha were married.

This story was very popular in the ancient times (up to the present) as it is depictes in the relief of the temple Jago, East Java (ca. 1.268 A.D.),[25] and nowadays to be the subject of painters in Bali.

The handle of k6ris has a tumpal (triangular) decoration filled with floral motif at the bottom part of it. The handles of kerises from European collection also have the tumpal decoration at the bottom of the hilt.[26] This decoration reminds us to the handles found in the Wonoboyo hoard.[27] Two handles of weapon were found among, the Wonoboyo hoard. Both were made of dark green semi precious stone flecked with white, wrapped all or in part with gold foil-and open work decorated with the tumpal motif and scrolls. One is of a long slightly curved shape with an octagonal core of semiprecious stone, a most entirely wrapped with open gold work, in various motifs, weighing 83 qrams of 22 carats. The other hilt is a shorter curved octagonal form, so that when a

Blade is put into one end it forms an L shape. On both ends are gold sheet ornaments. At the one end the gold ornament was cut and incised into triangular tumpals with floral motif. The hoard can be dated back at least 929 A.D. or the late 10th Century A.D. The decoration of the second hilt is made of gold sheet, in the shape of. A ring and triangular ornament with floral motif. Apart from those, some gold sheet ornaments in various sizes are found separately among the hoard. The tumpal ornaments were still exist in the hilt of kerises in the 16th century or six hundred years later. But as we know f rom the hilt of the sendai keris, keris in the MVK.Wien Inv. Nr. 91.919 a-b, Staatl. Museum Volkerkunde Dresden, Inv. Nr. 2894, National museum von Denmark, Kopenhagen Inv.Nr. Db. 27,[28] the decoration is applied on the hilt itself, not on a separate material.

The sheath consist of two parts, the top part of the sheath (the gambar) and the lower part of the sheath (the gandar). In the case of the keris of Sendai, the gambar and the gandar are made of one piece of wood that make it called warangka iras. Usually the gambar and the gandar are made separately, sometimes of two different woods. The shape of the gambar is quadrangular with elongated and pointed top corners. This shape is similar to that of the keris MVK Wien, Inv. Nr. 91.919.[29] it is in my opinion the early ladrang form. With the course of time, nowadays the ladrang is far more elegant as we can see in the photograph of keris in the Toyotamahime shrine.[30]

The warangka (sheath) is decorated with painting (warangka sunggingan). According to Mr. Sucipto, a wooden mask painter (tukang sungging) who lives in the city of solo or Surakarta, the recent traditional painting of mask is as follows: first of all the surface of the wood are painted with bakaran balung or fired animal bones. The fired animal bones are crusted and pounded and then mixed with binder made of the fruit of kepuh jangkang (Sterculia feotida L.) the fruits are dried and fired. The ash of the kepuh jangkang is mixed with water. This water is mixed with the bone powder and painted to the surface of the woed. It makes a natural wood filler. When it is dry, the surface of the wood is filled with sandpaper. In the old days the people used ampelas or rempelas leaf (Ficus ampelas Burm. F.). the colors are natural ones. The blue is gained from the indigo, white is form the limestone, yellow is from atal watu ( a mineral color imported from China), the vermilion red is from gincu (color stuff made a mercury, imported from China), etc. the colors are mixed with the binder with addition of fish glue (also imported from China).[31]

From the photograph, we can see that the paint on the gambar is somewhat paler compared to the paint of the gandar. This means that the painting at the gambar has a different way of painting. The greenish grey background is very much in use, while the dark blue and red colors are minimized. It is probably over painted, repainted or painted in layers, as a red color that is similar to that painted on the gandar is visible. The heart, which is in the shape of mango-fruit, is painted dark red color, different from the red mountains underneath. The shape of the heart painted on the gambar is a very naturalistic one. It another depiction that shows that Javanese craftsmen knew the human anatomy is the depiction of a relief depicted on the floor of the entrance gate of Candi Sukuh, on the western slope of mountains Lawu, Cental Java. The relief depicts male abd female organs, including the womb. The depiction of the womb is very accurate or realistic.[32]

The objects painted on one half of the gambar (the front gambar) is two arrows crossing through a red heart, two flying doves, and each one is biting the heart with their beaks. This painting is considered unusual for a Javanese or Balinese keris. According to Dietrich Drescher, this painting is a symbol of Christianity.[33] It is interesting to note that the paint on the doves coming off, it was, in my opinion, done to purpose, sice the paint came off as large as the figures, and following the outline of the doves. And so is the fact with the bodies of the arrows.[34]

It raises questions who repainted the gambar and when and what is the original painting look like. We hardly can answer these questions, as there is no evidence, except that the previous owner of the keris probably was a Christian. This opinion was based on the depiction of the heart with two arrows and doves. Who could be a Christian at that time (ca. late 16 th century AD)? Certainly not Javanese or a Balinese, but could be Spanish, a Portuguese or a Dutchman who gained the keris in Europe.[35] In the case of the the possibility (that the keris was gained in Bali, Indonesia), it is possible that the keris was given by a Balinese owner to a dearest male friend or guest who was probably a sailor from Europe.[36]

There is another possibility that the keris was presented to the guest in Bali. Before or after it was presented, the guest or the new owner wanted the picture on the gambar to be changed into a heart with crossed arrows. The picture was changed or repainted by the same craftsman who painted the warangka.[37]

To answer the question what was the original painting of the gambar, we can compare the keris in the Sendai City Museum to that now in the collection of MVK Wien, Inv.Nr. 91.919.[38] The painting of the gandar in this keris is of similar type as that of the Sendai keris, the alas-alasan pattern. The gambar of the keris in Wien has the main figure a mythical animal, the body is long and like that of a quadruped with bird’s claws and spurs, the head is a combination of tiger and an elephant. Floral motif and mountains surround the animal. On the other side of the gambar it is painted two quadupres that look like deer, standing facing each other as if they are in mating game.[39] Floral motif and mountains surround the two animals. The most interesting thing is that the two animals have feet with three fingers or like bird’s claw. The original paintings depicted at the gambar of the Sendai keris are, in my opinion, of similar idea, i.e. painting of mythical animals. The backside of the gambar in the Sendai keris is decorated with mythical animals although the paints are coming off. The rear legs of the guadruped depicted on the back side of the gambar are clearly having a bird’s claw. Another animal is depicted in red color, which is probably an elephant or other animal in sitting position.

One side of the gandar is fully decorated with painting from the top downward while at the other side is left unpainted. The volume of the painting is which is different from that of the keris in Wien collection [40], which is fully paited only at one side and at the upper half of the gandar only. Various kinds of animal are depicted the wordly animals and the mythical ones as well.

Talking about the style of the painting, the lines were executed freely and spontaneously. The painter painted the outline first, then the colors were added later. In depicting animals, the painter knew very well the characteristic of each animal, so that he could depict accurately. If we compare the painting of the Sendai keris to that of the Wien collection, we will find out that the technique of the brushstroke and executing outlines are the same. The outline of the black ink (dark blue) is very dominant in the paintings and the execution was spontaneous.[41]

The whole keris was the product of several craftsmen. The blade was done by the empu (blacksmith). The gold ornament on the blade was done by a goldsmith, the selut and the mendak were done by another goldsmith, the handle was done by a specialist, the sheath was done by a mranggi, decoration of the sheath was done by a tukang sungging (painter). In the case of the keris in the collection of Sendai City Museum, each craftsman was superior quality.[42]

The pattern of the decoration is called alas-alasan, meaning anything that connected to a forest. Therefore the objects of the painting are all sorts of animal that dwell in a forest in combination with mountains. The animals are painted in spaces bordered by lines. The mountains are painted in-groups of five or three, consisting of small ones.

The alas-alasan pattern, at present, is mostly depicted on the pendok (metal cover of the gandar). It is depicted with considerable changes. For example, the mountains at present are expressed with curve thick lines and there is no depiction of mythical animal. The present alas-alasan pattern usually has lar garuda (garuda’s wings) at the top of the pendok and sometimes on the lower parts, too.

Alas-alasan is one of several patterns still surviving to this day. The other patterns are the semen, kembang setaman, canden, tuwuhan, kilat bawana.[43] Among these patterns, the alas-alasan and the semen are the most popular. The two patterns are applied on the keris sheath (painted), the pendok, metal cover of the gandar (carving, chiseling), on cloth (hip cloth batik and gold painted on dodot and kemben). It is said that the alas-alasan and semen patterns are included in the eight forbidden patterns. These patterns are forbidden to the commoners, even within the royal family, some patterns were reserved for the crown prince, while only his less royal cousins could wear others.[44]


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Anderson, Benedict, Mythology and the Tolerance of the Javanase, Ithaca, 1965.

Bernet Kempers, Dr. A.J., Ancient Indonesian Art, Harvard University Press, 1959.

Eggebrecht, Arne und Eva, Versunkene Konigreiche Indonesien, verlag Philip von zabern, Mainz, 1995.

Eiji, Nitta, The Kris deposited at Toyotamihe Shrine,Chiran and the Trade between Satsuma and Southeast Asia, in Bulletin Museum Chiran, no. 3, 1997.

Elliot, Inger McCabe, Batik, Fabled Cloth of Java, photographs Brian Brake, Contributors: Paramita Abdulrachman, Susan Blum, Iwan Tirta, design : Kiyoshi Kanai, Clarkson N. Potter Publisher, New York, 1984.

Gardner, G.B., Keris and Other Malay Weapons (with 91 illustrations), edited by B. Lumsden Milke, republished by EP Publishing Limited, 1973.

Hoop, van der, Indonesians Siermotieven, Jakarta, 1949.

Dr. Haryati Soebadio, et.al. (eds.), Indonesian Heritage, vol. 7 “Visual Art” , Hilda Soemantri, Volume editor, Archipelago Press, 1998.

Jasper, J.E. and Mas Pirngadie, De Indlandsche Kunstnijeverheid in Nederlandsch Indie II, de weefkunst, S`Gravenhage, 1912.

Jensen, Karsten Sejr, Rembrandst Kris, in the Journal of the Danish Arms & Armour Society, Vabenhistorik Tidsskrift, Bind 31. Nr. 8, November 1998.

Jessup, Hellen Ibbitson, Court Arts of Indonesia, The Asia Society, New York, in association with Harry N. Abrams, Inc. New York, Jakarta, 1990.

Kieven, Lydia, Arjunas Askes. Ihre darstellung im Altjavanischen Arjunawiwaha und auf Ausgewahlten Ostjavanischen Reliefs. Schriftliche Arbeit in Rahmen der Magisterpufung and der Philosophischen Fakultat der Universitat zu koln, vorgelegt im Fach Malaiologie, September 1994.

Piaskowski, Jerzy and Alan Maisey, Technology of Early Indonesians Keris; The Resul of metallographic Examinations of Ganja`s (upper part of the Keris) Separately Forged. The Asia and Pasific Museum in Warsaw. 1995.

Queensland Art Gallery, Indonesian Gold, Treasures from the National Museum, Jakarta, Brisbane, 1999.

Ramseyer, Urs, The Art and Culture of Bali,University Press, Oxford, New York, Jakarta, 1977.

Sendai City Museum, Japanese Delegation for Europe in Keicho Period, with appendix : Japanese articles and paintings (in Japanese). Catalouge of Senday City Museum I, Date Masumune`s Mission to Rome in 1615; 1988.

Senday City Museum, The World and Japan-Tensho and Keicho Mission to Europe 16 th – 17 th Centuries (in Japanese) 1995.

Solyom, Garret and Bronwen, The World of Javanese Keris, an exhibitions at the East West Culture Learning Institute, East West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, April 10 to May 12, 1978.

Wahyono M, “Curio Notes”, Arts of Asia, July-August, 1973.

Wahyono M, The Gold of Wonoboyo, Preliminary Notes, in Old Javanese Gold (4 th – 15 th century) an Archaemotrical Approach, Wilhelmina H. Kal (ed.) Bulletin of the Royal Tropical Institute, No. 334, Culture History and Anthropology, KIT-Tropen Museum, Amsterdam, pp. 30 – 45, 1994.

Wahyono M, `Glass Painting` in Indonesian Heritage vol. 7, Visual Art, Hilda Sumantri (vol. Editor) pp. 42 – 43. Archipelago Press, Didier Millet Edition, 1998.

Wahyono M, Court and Culture in Queensland Art Gallery, Indonesians Gold, treasures from the National Museum, Jakarta. Pp. 112 –119. Brisbane, Australia, 1999.


[1] The word keris can be written as keris, kris, or kriss. Here, the terminology of a keris is mostly in Javanese, therefore we follow the Javanese way of writing.

[2] Ramseyer, 1977, p. 56, quoted by Wahyono Martowikrido, 1999, p. 117.

[3] Sasaki, 1998, p. 141.

[4] Senadai City Museum, 1995, p. 7.

[5] Mr. Tatsuro Hirai; who gained it from a Japanese publication, gave this information.

[6] Sasaki, 1998, p. 141.

[7] Sasaki, 1998, p. 141.

[8] For example if we compared the blade to some Balinese blades in the collection of the Museum Nasional, Jakarta, kept in the Ethnography Treasure Room. Cf. Coll. No. E 8771/12959 published in Hamzuri, 1983,pp. 56-57. Queensland Art Gallery, 1999, p. 123 (keris no. E 872/12953)

[9] Names of parts of the keris are in Javanese. Many of the Balinese terminology are still obscure to us, as very litle is known about it. Some Balinese terms of keris’ parts can be found in Ramseyer, 1977 and Wahyono Martowikrido, 1999.

[10] Krises no. E 791 from klungkung and E 956 from Badung, Bali, in the Ethnography Treasure Room of the national Museum, Jakarta, shows similarity of the grènèngs compared to that of the keris in the collection of the Sendai City Museum.

[11] The bronze gañja is now kept in the New Bronze Room, labeled as a bronze hammer, under the collection no. 1758 of the archaeological collection.

[12] An interview to a goldsmith in Bali ( Bpk Sutedja ) revealed that the glue was made out of a fruit of certain plant called saga telik (Abrusprecatorius L.). The inner side of the fruit, which is soft. Mixed with certain liquid, will make good glue, usually used by gold smith.

[13] Piaskowski, 1995, p. 15.

[14] If there is rio protection agaf st the damage, it will result a great

loss.

[15] Solyorn, 1978, p. 105.

[16] Cf. Dr. A.J. Bernet Kempers, Ancient .rndones7an Art, Harvard

University Press, 1959, plates 23,284, 297, 279, etc.

[17] Men sitting in this position are commonly depicted in the relieves of East Javanes temples, for example in Candi Jawi, Jago, Surawana and Penataran. Cf. Bernet Kempers, 1959, plate 300 frpm candi Surawana.

[18] Outer hip cloth for men is called kampuh in Balinese. Cf. Ramseyer, 1977, p.15.

[19] cf. Wahyono M. , 1973, Curio Notes, Arts Of Asia, July-August.

[20] cf. the collection of the National Museum, Jakarta, no. 21225, E 791, E 956, E 871/12959 (Hamzur 1983, p. 56), a keris sheath from Bali (Jessup, 1990 fig. 64, p. 93). To compare to a Javanese keris, cf. Eiji, Nitta 1997, p 1. According to Prof. Nitta Eiji, the keris came to Japan Sometime between 16th - 19th Century A.D. There was a Japanese from Satsuma who lived in Batavia in 1619 or afterwards. The keris went to Manila and from Manila it went to Kyushu, Japan. According to the author’s inspection especially on the shape of the gambar, the keris that is now kept in Toyotamahime shrine came from 18th- 19th Century A.D.

[21] cf. Drescher, Dietrich, 1999, abb. 46, a keris from East Java from 16th – 17th century A.D., a keris from Banten, West Java, from 16th century A.D., abb. 47, a keris from Blambangan, East Java, Ca. 1751.

[22] cf. Hamzuri, 1983 p. 56-57.

[23] In the Javanes tradition and Balinese as well, arjuna is depicted as having no moustache.

[24] Gardner, 1973, p. 59

[25] Bernet KeMpers, 1959, p. 84

[26] Drescher, Dietrich and Achim Weihrauch 1999, pp. 41, 43, 44, 415. In the kerises the tumpals are depicted in front back, and the sides of the bottom of the hilt, while as the hilt of Sendai keris, it is only, depicted in the back.

[27] cf. Wahyono Martowikrido, 1994, pp. 36-37.

[28] Dreschen, Dietrich, 1999, pp. 41,43,44,45..

[29] Ibid. Abb. 46 and 54.

[30] Eiji, 1997.

[31] An interview with Mr. Sucipto, a topeng painter who lives in the city of solo (surakarta). The technique of painting on wood whether on the warangka or on the mask is similar. Wahyono Martowikrido et. al., 1990. pp. 21-25.

[32] The real shape of human heart, one can see in this website hhtp//sln.fi.edu/biosci/heart.html. Dr. David Mitchell, an Australian Medical Doctor now resides in Melbourne, Australia, told the author that the depiction of the womb at candi Sukuh is very accurate or realistic

[33] he told this opinion to the author personally

[34] to rub or to scratch the paint on painting reminds me to the scratching of paint done on glass paintings entitled The Fighting of Kapten Tak against Untung Surapati.In this painting to show the running of the bullets of the guns one scratched the paint in front of each gun. Cf. Wahyono M., Glass Painting, in visual art, Indonesian Heritage Vol. 7, Archipelago Press 1998, p. 43.

[35] It is possible that the previous owner of the keris gained it in Europe, as in round the 16 th century many Europeans collected ethnographical objects from Indonesia. One of these is shown in a Rembrant’s painting entitled Samson and Delilah (1629), now in Staatliche Museum, Berlin. The weapon of Samson is keris, similar to that of the keris in the Sendai City Museum collection. (Jensen, 1998, p. 285)

[36] There is a custom up to the present that to express friendship and to pay respect to a male guest, one gives a keris. An ordinary keris is not given to a woman guest, except the small one called patrem, Up to recent time, the previous President of the Republic of Indonesia presented keris to his guests.

[37] This idea is gained from the fact that there is no individual difference in style between the arrows, heart and doves compared to the rest of the painting. Moreover the heart depicted on the gambar is naturalistic one as naturalistic as the womb depicted in Sukuh temple. In addition, the fact that the picture was scratched on purpose is similar as the one on painting on glass, which means that most probably an Indonesian did it.

[38] Drescher, Dietrich, 1999, abb. 46.

[39] Mythical quadrupeds are depicted at the mirror af silver plate from East Java, Indonesian Gold, treasures from the National Museum, Jakarta, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 1999. p. 44.

[40] Drescher, Dietrich, 1999, ibid.

[41] Similarity in painting technique is also found in the paintings of the wayang beber, wayang painted on hand made papers said to be from the Majapahit era that are kept in Pacitan (East Java) and in a village in the southern part of Yogyakarta. Cf. Primadi Tabrani, Javanese wayang painting in Haryati Soebadio et. al (eds.) Indonesian Heritage no. 7, Visual Art (Hilda Sumantri, ed), Archipelago Press 1998, pp.36 – 37.

[42] Information about the specialization in the Javanese craftsmen was gained from an interview to Mr. Zaini, a silver carver from Yogyakarta who lives in Jakarta

[43] An interview to Mr. Zaini, a silver carver from Yogyakarta, who lives in Jakarta. Cf. Wahyono M., the Indonesian Kerises in the collection of Tokyo National Museum, will be published by the TNM.

[44] Elliot 1984, p. 68.Wahyono Martowikrido
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Old 22nd September 2012, 03:16 AM   #83
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The connection between our neighbor Japan and its samurais vis-a-vis the Philippines, has long been there, even before the Spaniards arrived in the mid-1500s.

Off-hand, I can think of three solid evidences:

1. the Japanese word katana is a common synonym for sword for the ancient Tagalogs, as found for instance in San Buenaventura's 1613 Spanish-Tagalog dictionary; thus the presence of such loan word from the Japanese is sold proof that relations between our two countries had long been there;

2. when the Dutch had a naval battle with the Spaniards off the coast of Manila in 1600, the Spaniard galleon ('San Diego') which the Dutch sank was found later to have lots of tsuba (crossguard of katana) in the relics; I think there were also records that indicate that the Spaniard leader (Morga) hired lots of Japanese samurai mercenaries in that engagement; and

3. when some of the Japanese started converting to Christianity at that time, some of them sought sanctuary in Philppines which has become a Christian country by that time.

One of those refugees was a samurai warlord, which statue is right in the heart of the city of Manila (see pics). The name of this little park is Plaza Dilao (literally, yellow plaza). And here in Manila, we colloquially refer to the Japanese as having yellow skin, even up to now.

So what's my point? It's what I already mentioned in my previous post -- that Christian Manila (where the Japanese had a significant presence then, and even earlier) could have very well been the pick-up point for the quasi-Christian Sendai keris-kris.
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Old 22nd September 2012, 03:22 AM   #84
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Here's pic of portions of a katana and tsubas salvaged from San Diego, from the Philippine National Museum.
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Old 22nd September 2012, 03:51 AM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
The commonly accepted wisdom is that the keris as we know it (asymmetrical blade, gonjo, gandik, greneng, etc.) originated in Jawa, but the basic design for the keris didn't just pop out of thin air. Other blades certainly influenced its design. It did not develop in a vacuum. The "modern" keris (Mojopahit) developed in a Hindu influenced empire whose cultural roots come from India. Nepal is right next to India and also a Hindu state influenced by India. So, while i hate to surprise you like this Lorenz, of course there is a possibility, maybe even a likelihood, that this Nepalese blade is related to the keris and perhaps a forerunner in design to what was to become the "modern" keris in Jawa in the Mojopahit (or before) period. The Javanese keris has a few differences in the details, the specifics that we have already been over many times in this thread. The Moro kris, which doesn't seem to arrive until at least a couple of centuries later (again, please show me a Moro kris with all features intact that is earlier than the 16th century) has these same exact details of design. So for me, given all the present evidence we have to examine, the Moro kris was developed based on the specific design elements of the "modern" Javanese keris. All these features in the Javanese keris were fully intact before they appeared on the Moro kris.
Hi David. On the possible Nepali connection, I think that it can only be plausible if we can discover ancient Indian blades which remotely resemble kerises.

I can think of another illustration to visualize your scenario: let's imagine a figurative tree where the trunk is Indian Hinduism, the source of it all. Then there would be an older and lower branch and that would be Nepalese Hinduism. Then there would be a higher and younger other branch, and that would be Indonesian Hinduism (and a twig off this branch would be Philippine Hinduism, because we got our Hinduism by way of Indonesia).

Now to my mind if your hypothesis is to be plausible (that that Nepalese kris-like sword was derived from India, in the same manner that the Javanese keris had its ultimate roots from India), we should see lots of examples of Indian proto-kerises in ancient stone carvings, metal statues, etc.

But so far I haven't seen any (and I've been looking, too). So at the moment, I think it's just purely coincidental that that Nepalese blade resembles the Southeast Asian kris.

But as you also said, let's all continue to look for evidences, to either prove or disprove the theory, thereby continuing to make progress.
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Old 22nd September 2012, 04:31 AM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I am completely open to examining evidence to the contrary if and when it arrives. Still waiting...
David, I did not mean to keep you waiting. And we only have Gustav to blame, for coming up with those distractions! Just kidding, Gustav.

I can perhaps come up with other evidences, but unless we have a resolution on the definition of a keris-kris, then we will not really be resolving anything.

So I think it's absolutely necessary that we first go back to the topic of defining what a keris or kris is. And allow me to rehash that animal kingdom and blade kingdom analogy. Very quickly, once more (and my animal kingdom sub-classification is not meant to be taxonomically sound):

Birds & insects = Arrows, spears, & other projectiles

Aquatic animals & fishes = Shields of all sorts

Reptiles = Axes, clubs, maces, etc.

Amphibians = long swords

Mammals = shorts swords, daggers, & knives

- Mammal sub-group A (rodents, marsupials, etc.): blades of certain types

- Mammal sub-group B (primates, pachyderms, etc.): blades of another type

Now, the last sub-group B is still a big ball of wax. And since we all want to segregate further the 'primates' from within that sub-group, we have to make a narrower definition of what primates are.

My definition of what primates are: 'somewhat man-like in anatomy, and thus does not definitely look like an elephant, or a giraffe, or a dolphin, etc.' Hence the result of my definition of primates would be all of the guys below.

Now to my mind, you are defining what a primate is somewhat strictly, such that you will end up with just the gorilla, marmoset, and the chimp.

But this is not to say nor imply that since in reality all of the animals below are primates, then you are wrong As mentioned, this is just an illustration and all illustrations fail at some point.

Ok, moving now directly to the kris-keris world -- my definition of what a Phil. kris is: 'often has wavy blades, whether symmetrical or assymetrical, and/or is assymetrical and has at least one triangular 'blade catch' on the guard, and it does not matter at all whether the guard is separate from the blade or not'. Thus to me all of the blades below would be krises.

Now in my understanding of your definition, only the Javanese, Malay, and Sulawesi krises in the illustration below are real krises.

After the 1930s (if Cato is right), most of the Moro krises did not have separate guards anymore. Now let me ask you please, are those latter Moro krises not real krises anymore?

Also, I can practically guarantee that in the entire Philippines, once they see a wavy-bladed weapon, it will be regarded locally as a kris in the fullest sense of the word.

And once anybody sees that Bohol kalis, they will also regard that as a kris.

In summary, I now think that we all have to accept the fact that Philippines has a more liberal definition on what a kris or keris is (and that would be the whole caboodle below).

I would even venture to say that if we ask an Indonesian or a Malaysian and show them the Luzon and Visayan krises below, they would most likely say that it's those are krises all right, but they are the Philippine varieties.

Thus, in your definition of a kris or keris, wouldn't that be like defining the classical Indo-Malaysian keris more than anything else?

Hey, I have to leave now as I'm meeting in a few minutes 'Nacho' and Nonoy Tan. In fact I'll be late already but I'll have a good excuse!
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Old 22nd September 2012, 05:25 AM   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
Ok, moving now directly to the kris-keris world -- my definition of what a Phil. kris is: 'often has wavy blades, whether symmetrical or assymetrical, and/or is assymetrical and has at least one triangular 'blade catch' on the guard, and it does not matter at all whether the guard is separate from the blade or not'. Thus to me all of the blades below would be krises.

Then very clearly, for you, all of the "kris" in your keris/kris/primate illustration are kris. For me they clearly are not. For many others they also are not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
Now in my understanding of your definition, only the Javanese, Malay, and Sulawesi krises in the illustration below are real krises.

This is not my definition. It is the commonly accepted one. And no, i would consider the Moro kris in your illustration a real kris. It has all the features required.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
After the 1930s (if Cato is right), most of the Moro krises did not have separate guards anymore. Now let me ask you please, are those latter Moro krises not real krises anymore?

I never maintained that the gonjo must be a separate one. The gonjo is there whether it is a separte piece or not. There are also gonjo iras keris in the Indonesian world. Most often the gonjo iras is delineated by an incised line (both in the Indonesian and Moro world, but not always). But the feature is there whether separate from the main body of the blade or not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
Also, I can practically guarantee that in the entire Philippines, once they see a wavy-bladed weapon, it will be regarded locally as a kris in the fullest sense of the word.
And once anybody sees that Bohol kalis, they will also regard that as a kris.
In summary, I now think that we all have to accept the fact that Philippines has a more liberal definition on what a kris or keris is (and that would be the whole caboodle below).

Can you really guarantee this? Frankly i doubt that. I am willing to bet that in different areas of the Philippines the locals have very different traditional names for these blades that don't have all the required features. In fact, the Visayan and Luzon blades that you show here don't even have the limited features that you yourself have set up as requirements to be a "real" kris. Simply having a wavy blade does not make that blade a kris. You may be right that most Filipinos have a more liberal definition of what a kris is, but it is completely unimportant what they might believe a keris is as this is an Indonesian weapon with rather strict parameters for it's definition. It is also very clear to me at least that it is these exact parameter of design which define the Moro kris and that these parameters have directly evolves from the Javanese keris, not the other way around.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
I would even venture to say that if we ask an Indonesian or a Malaysian and show them the Luzon and Visayan krises below, they would most likely say that it's those are krises all right, but they are the Philippine varieties.

Only if you ask Indonesians that don't know the first thing about keris. Show them a Moro kris and they will likely answer differently.
Quote:
Originally Posted by migueldiaz
Thus, in your definition of a kris or keris, wouldn't that be like defining the classical Indo-Malaysian keris more than anything else?

Again, the definition that i am using for a keris is not my definition. It is commonly accepted with just about every knowledgable person that i know who defines a keris. I have extended that definition to Moro kris only. Again, i do not consider these Visayan and Luzon blades kris. They have no other feature to link them to keris other than the wavy blade. And a wavy blade is not even a requirement for a keris and in fact only about one third of all Indonesian keris have wavy blades. I believe that percentage may be higher in Moro kris, but i have never seen an accounting of this. It seems though that it is the reverse with Moro kris, two thirds wavy, one third straight.
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Old 22nd September 2012, 08:57 AM   #88
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Hello Lorenz,

Great to have you back - am looking forward to hearing some more thought-provoking discoveries from your travels!

I also believe that those Visayan/Luzon "kris" don't qualify as a genuine keris/kris/kalis.

The problem with comparing culture (or cultural artifacts) with evolution is that while cultures may (d)evolve they also, in many cases, receive important influences from other cultures. You may be able to specify where such an outside influence came from but this is very different from a clear-cut ancestor/descendant relationship that dominates biological evolution: For example, there seems little doubt that the Visayan/Luzon kris is based on the (Moro) keris/kris. Usually the blades are locally crafted but also some Moro blades got recycled (trade/battle pick-ups); however, the slender and wavy blade profile (which doesn't define a keris but rather is just what an outsider might consider as "cool") was obviously transplanted into the common Visayan or Luzon weapon styles (crossguard, hilt, scabbard). It is not the "whole package" with the essential associated baggage of beliefs and concepts that got accepted within another culture (and possibly happens later to be developed further).

I also would like to point out that you can't utilize the contemporary concept/definition of a word to discuss cultural developments that happened many centuries earlier, especially if you ask "cultural outsiders" like Christian Filipinos what they happen to use the word kris for, even if this has been going on for quite some time.

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Old 22nd September 2012, 01:23 PM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
I also would like to point out that you can't utilize the contemporary concept/definition of a word to discuss cultural developments that happened many centuries earlier, especially if you ask "cultural outsiders" like Christian Filipinos what they happen to use the word kris for, even if this has been going on for quite some time.

This is a very good point Kai. This is also relevant to Lorenz's question of how the average Indonesian might view or describe keris/kris. We collectors, whether native to the region or Western, are much more in tune with these distinctions. The average Indonesian these days has little interest in keris and how they respond and/or choose to name or describe these blades has little relevance to historical accuracy. This makes even field research extremely difficult and i am afraid that finding those "old" guys out there who actually still know something about all this is becoming next to impossible.
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Old 20th October 2012, 01:42 PM   #90
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David & Kai, I easily get distracted and that's the reason why I'm posting here only now. And this time that distraction came in the form of a Weird Philippine sword/bolo. And so that's my lame excuse But seriously, please allow me to first accurately understand the points you elaborate above, before I make a reply. Thank you.
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