Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12th August 2013, 01:18 AM   #1
Marcus
Member
 
Marcus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 420
Default Indonesian swords

These are two recent acquisitions from Oriental Arms. Artzi associates the Keris with the Bugis, he is less clear on the Pedang Lurus, “common in Java but can be found also in other Indonesian islands”. In any case, the two pieces are certainly both Indonesian, and close contemporaries. This is a new area for me and I would appreciate insightful comments on these pieces and who would have been the original owners. I have read about the cultural significance of the Keris but I know virtually nothing about the cultural context for the Pedang.
Attached Images
 
Marcus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2013, 03:18 AM   #2
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 5,985
Default

Hello Marcus,

please post the keris in the other forum and show us from both pieces more pictures, special from the blades. The keris don't look pure bugis to my eyes but more in direction Peninsula or Sumatra but need other pictures.

The pedang seems to be a classic pedang lurus from Java and seems to be in very complete condition, many I have seen have had demaged scabbards since the silver cover is most of the time thin. Also here, please show the blade.

Regards,

Detlef
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2013, 03:38 AM   #3
Gavin Nugent
Member
 
Gavin Nugent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,402
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Hello Marcus,

please post the keris in the other forum and show us from both pieces more pictures, special from the blades. The keris don't look pure bugis to my eyes but more in direction Peninsula or Sumatra but need other pictures.

The pedang seems to be a classic pedang lurus from Java and seems to be in very complete condition, many I have seen have had demaged scabbards since the silver cover is most of the time thin. Also here, please show the blade.

Regards,

Detlef


I support Detlef's request and notes.

Please show as requested in the required forum as the Keris looks to be Central Western Sumatra but more exacting detail will be discussed in the Keris forum.

The Pedang Lurus come in all qualities over a long period of time, I would be interested in viewing the rest of it here too.

Gavin
Gavin Nugent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2013, 03:42 AM   #4
Marcus
Member
 
Marcus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 420
Default more photos

As requested.
Attached Images
      
Marcus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2013, 03:44 AM   #5
Marcus
Member
 
Marcus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 420
Default One more

I look forward to comments about the ethnicity and social status of the person who might have first owned this sword.
Marcus
Attached Images
 
Marcus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2013, 03:48 AM   #6
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 5,985
Default

Yes, a nice complete pedang lurus from Java and better as my own example.

How long is it, blade and complete? The ethnicity is Javanese. Status I can't answer, maybe Alan know more.
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2013, 07:53 AM   #7
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,569
Default

In Jawa, pedang were not status indicators, as keris could often be, and in olden times, were.

However, one would not expect to see a common man with a silver mounted pedang, nor would one expect to see a ruler with a silver mounted pedang. The ruler would very probably opt for gold, the common man for wood, if he even owned a pedang. Mostly common soldiers were armed with spears, and often those spears would not even have iron tips but were simply sharpened and hardened bamboo; this was particularly the case where levies were involved.

This is a pedang of pretty ordinary quality, not outstanding in any way, but it is a good, solid, functional piece in dress that could be used in a formal setting. I would expect to see such a pedang as the property of a middle ranking noble, not a man of exalted status, and not a common soldier.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2013, 01:38 PM   #8
Marcus
Member
 
Marcus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 420
Default Java

Would the Keris also be found in Java. If so, were they more or less common than a pedang like this?
Marcus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2013, 02:25 PM   #9
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 5,985
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus
Would the Keris also be found in Java. If so, were they more or less common than a pedang like this?



Hello Marcus,

the keris is very common in old times in Java and by official events still today. But your keris isn't from Java, keris from Java are different. Read in keris warung kopi, you will find many examples from Java. The keris was more common than the pedang IMHO.
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2013, 11:03 PM   #10
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,569
Default

Marcus, the keris originated in Jawa more than 1000 years ago.

It was and is central to Javanese indigenous belief.

It spread from Jawa to other parts of Maritime South East Asia, but it spread in the absence of its socio-religious context. Even in Jawa itself the understanding of the keris underwent changes after the fall of the Hindu-Javanese kingdom of Majapahit.

For the last 200 years the keris in Jawa has been a requisite part of formal dress.

Don't get hooked on keris. Too much knowledge can destroy the naïve joy of simple weapon collecting.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th August 2013, 11:25 PM   #11
Marcus
Member
 
Marcus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 420
Default No fear of getting hooked on Keris

My primary interest is the history of firearms. I am just planning to add some edged weapons to the fourth edition of my book.
www.handfulsofhistory.com

I post some vignettes at this site:
http://handfulsofhistory.tumblr.com/

Cheers,
Marcus
Marcus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 01:30 PM   #12
Marcus
Member
 
Marcus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 420
Default Basic question

There has been a lot of interesting discussion but I am still unsure of the answer to my basic question. Give that the keris and pedang were both common on Java, who would choose a Keris over a pedang and visa versa? Would it be village to village, tribe to tribe, based on religious differences, social status, or just random?
Marcus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 01:49 PM   #13
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,569
Default

Marcus, it was not a matter of choice.

The keris was a symbol of the man, and apart from its weapon function was a socio-religious symbol.

The pedang was merely a weapon.

The keris was a personal weapon when it fulfilled the weapon function, and on the battlefield, a weapon of last resort.

The pedang was primarily a weapon and had no socio-religious connotations.

The keris was, and still is, required wear in certain situations.

The pedang was optional wear in some situations.

Both could be pusaka, or heirlooms, but only the keris as pusaka had the function of uniting past custodians with the present and the present custodian with current members of the kin group. In the case of a ruler, the regalia pusaka keris had the function of uniting the ruler with the people of his realm.

The keris must be understood as a cultural icon, not simply a weapon, but the pedang is no more than a simple tool to end life.

There is no similarity between the cultural position of these two objects.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 01:54 PM   #14
Marcus
Member
 
Marcus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 420
Default Ah

Thank you. I assume others will agree with you.
Marcus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 02:01 PM   #15
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 5,985
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus
There has been a lot of interesting discussion but I am still unsure of the answer to my basic question. Give that the keris and pedang were both common on Java, who would choose a Keris over a pedang and visa versa? Would it be village to village, tribe to tribe, based on religious differences, social status, or just random?


I think that the question isn't easy to answer. The keris belong to the dress and is more a status symbol as a weapon (of course it is also a weapon and surely also used as that) while the pedang is clearly a weapon. In old times every man (or nearly every man) have had a keris but not every man have had a pedang IMHO. This don't have to do something with the ethnicity (tribe is here the wrong word) or religion but maybe with social status. Javanese culture is difficult to understand and your question can't be answered in short words.
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 02:05 PM   #16
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 5,985
Default

Uups, Alan was more fast as I am and have explained it better as I am able to do it.
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 02:22 PM   #17
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 5,985
Default

Here for comparison my example, not fom the much better quality as your one.
Attached Images
   
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2013, 11:22 PM   #18
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,569
Default

Your implied question is a valid one, Marcus.

Do others agree with my position on the keris or not?

Well, some will agree wholeheartedly, others will agree in part, a few will not agree at all.

In so far as the concept of "agreement" goes, we need to firstly be very specific in framing the question, and the question does need to be placed within the parameters of a window of time, and to be addressed from a clearly defined position.

For example, if we attempt to understand the Javanese keris in present day terms, and with the beliefs and perceptions of a Javanese person who is a devout practitioner of Kejawen, much of what I present as the character of the keris will be dismissed out of hand, even though I may be able to demonstrate that my claims can be supported by documentation or by logic, this substantiation of my claims will be ignored .

Why should this be so?

Quite simply because the keris is now at the centre of a system of belief, and anybody who is a true believer in any system of belief will not be swayed by any argument that tends to undermine his beliefs. I do not criticise this approach to understanding the keris:- it is a perfectly valid way in which to place the keris into a cultural context, but this understanding is not able to be supported in objective terms.

In 1817 T.S. Raffles published his landmark work "The History of Java". In this he states that in the early 19th century the keris occupied a position in Jawa that was similar to the position of the small sword in Europe fifty years earlier. In other words, an item of dress, but an item of dress that could in extremity be used as a weapon. The position of the keris in traditional Javanese society is very little different today, than it was in the time of Raffles.

However, a segment of present day Javanese society does place a relatively recent esoteric interpretation on the keris. This is not incorrect for these people. There is no doubt at all that the basic nature of the keris is an esoteric one, this recent interpretation is simply evidence of the development of a society, which in itself is evidence of the vital nature of the society:- when a society fails to develop it dies.

If we move backwards in time we find that the nature and position of the keris changes. The keris of today no longer has the same nature as did the keris of the 16th century, 14th century, or 10th century.

So Marcus, to return to the question of agreement with my previous statements. Each person must decide for himself the position from which he wishes to attempt an understanding of the keris. For some it will be a strange looking weapon, for others it will be a work of art, for a few it might become a channel to use in mental exploration of exotic places, for a devout believer it can be a prayer in steel.

Each person needs to identify where he wants to start from. Even within Javanese society there is no unified agreement as to the nature of the keris.

My remarks are directed at the keris in Jawa, but they may also be taken to include the keris in Madura, which is in essence a part of Jawa, and to some extent, the keris in Bali. There is a historical base for this limited approach.

This link will take you to a page of references that you may care to explore in order to form your own opinions in respect of the keris. I strongly recommend Wiener (ISBN 0-226-88582-8/1) as a place to begin.

http://www.kerisattosanaji.com/kerisinformation.html

A more comprehensive reading list can found here:-

http://www.kerisattosanaji.com/INTE...BLIOGRAPHY.html
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2015, 12:59 AM   #19
Marcus
Member
 
Marcus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 420
Default Thanks

This is a great thread and I really appreciate it as I am now actually getting around to write the essay on these pieces.
Marcus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2015, 01:23 PM   #20
estcrh
Member
 
estcrh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,497
Send a message via AIM to estcrh
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus
My primary interest is the history of firearms. I am just planning to add some edged weapons to the fourth edition of my book.
www.handfulsofhistory.com

I post some vignettes at this site:
http://handfulsofhistory.tumblr.com/

Cheers,
Marcus


"What was the impact of Japanese isolationist policies on firearm development in that country for 300 years?'

Marcus, an interesting subject, maybe you can start a thread on this subject sometime.
estcrh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2015, 01:46 PM   #21
Marcus
Member
 
Marcus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 420
Default Matchlocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
"What was the impact of Japanese isolationist policies on firearm development in that country for 300 years?'

Marcus, an interesting subject, maybe you can start a thread on this subject sometime.


Of course the obvious impact was that the Japanese were still using 16th century matchlocks in the 19th century. Their use however had been elevated to the status of one of the Samurai's arts.
Attached Images
  
Marcus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2015, 02:17 PM   #22
estcrh
Member
 
estcrh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,497
Send a message via AIM to estcrh
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus
Of course the obvious impact was that the Japanese were still using 16th century matchlocks in the 19th century. Their use however had been elevated to the status of one of the Samurai's arts.

The Japanese did try all manner of updates to their matchlocks, they even converted them to percussion, photographic evidence suggests that this happened a lot more than was previously known.

The problem was that the assembly line made European firearms had evolved to the point that the Japanese method of gun making could compete with the Europeans and most of the individual Samurai domains did not have the finances to purchase European firearms in the quantity needed to make a significent difference, although a few did this and fully equiped with modern European firearms.

Here is a link to a Pinterest page with many examples of non matchlock firearms used by the samurai, both domestically made and imported. Below is Japanese matchlock pistol convereted to percussion.

https://www.pinterest.com/worldanti...sed-by-samurai/
Attached Images
 
estcrh is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 04:00 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.