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Old 14th May 2009, 07:07 PM   #1
erikscollectables
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Default Figural hilts of 1 character?!

This is an extention of the jawa demam and raksasa discussions going on.
Here are four figural hilts that I used to call raksasa as in the flesh eating demon from the ramayana.

They have a series of characteristics that can be found in each one (and one small difference which makes two subtypes to me)

Who can help specify/identify the specific character?
  • Front of head with a diadem
    Mouth with stylized fangs
    Beaklike nose with a sort of lip?
    To the side of the head some sort of hairy/flowerlike extension of the hair.
    Clearly identifyable hands and knees both with bracelets
    Position of hand on knees (right hand sideways to the knee, left hand over the knee
    Position of fingers (right hand with pinkee to the belly, left hand with the thumb to the belly)
    Sitting on a throne of leaves (tumbal?)
    Necklace type A ending flowerlike type B clearly snakelike
    Long hair stretching unto the back

Well that was all I could find and here are the photo's!
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Old 14th May 2009, 07:34 PM   #2
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It seems I can answer my own question.
Just reread Jenssen krisdisk chapter 3 and 4 what I should have done before!

He describes this character as Bima, the fiercest of the Pandawa brothers.

Are there other opinions on this then what Jenssen wrote?
If there are other sources I can read about this please let me know!

Regards, Erik

And the thing aroudn the ear is called sumping ron which is a leaflike jewellery!

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Old 14th May 2009, 08:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikscollectables
He describes this character as Bima, the fiercest of the Pandawa brothers.
Are there other opinions on this then what Jenssen wrote?

hmmmm, Bima was supposedly the son of Bayu, the wind god, so the first question that crosses my mind is why would he then be depicted with fangs?

Just because it's in a book or on a CD doesn't necessarily make it so.
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Old 14th May 2009, 09:02 PM   #4
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Hello Erik,
first off all i want to tell you that there are more different "subtypes" of this form. I have 9 handles of this form in my collection and there are two which have a garuda mungkur in the back, one have a diadem in front of the head and two I have where the hands are floral carved. When I find the time I will take some pictures to show this.
Second I have to agree with David. Jenssen don't give a source from where he know that this is Bima for sure.
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Old 14th May 2009, 09:02 PM   #5
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...then again, i believe that Bima has been depicted with a moustache, so maybe those "fangs" aren't fangs afterall.
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Old 15th May 2009, 05:57 PM   #6
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Default Jenssen?

David and others,

What are the opinions on Jenssen?
To me (only 2 years interested in the subject and with only a small library) it seems to be the best resource in a language I can read.
That does not make everything in the book true of course but a good basis for at least an hypothesis I would say.

So the hypothesis would be it is Bima.
I have not been able after some reading and googling to confirm nor deny the hypothesis yet.

Any opinions on the character being Bima?
And what are the opinions on the Krisdisk, is there a better book around?

Regards, Erik
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Old 15th May 2009, 06:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Hello Erik,
first off all i want to tell you that there are more different "subtypes" of this form. I have 9 handles of this form in my collection and there are two which have a garuda mungkur in the back, one have a diadem in front of the head and two I have where the hands are floral carved. When I find the time I will take some pictures to show this.
Second I have to agree with David. Jenssen don't give a source from where he know that this is Bima for sure.
sajen


Hi Sajen,

I totally agree there are more subtypes of this type of hilt I tried to find as many specimens of this specifice type without all the exceptions.

Would love to see the types you have.

In chapter 3 and 4 Jenssen describes at least 6 subtypes.
the one with the garuda mungkur not I think, what is it?

I have another strange version I will include here but it certainly is not the same as the mentioned Bima figural hilt. It is a crossed arms version with a snake on the back. Maybe links to the type you mention? Not so far away from a jawa demam, very old and quite worn.

Regards, Erik
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Old 15th May 2009, 06:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikscollectables
Hi Sajen,

I totally agree there are more subtypes of this type of hilt I tried to find as many specimens of this specifice type without all the exceptions.

Would love to see the types you have.

In chapter 3 and 4 Jenssen describes at least 6 subtypes.
the one with the garuda mungkur not I think, what is it?

I have another strange version I will include here but it certainly is not the same as the mentioned Bima figural hilt. It is a crossed arms version with a snake on the back. Maybe links to the type you mention? Not so far away from a jawa demam, very old and quite worn.

Regards, Erik



Hello Erik,

yes this seems to be a garuda mungkur. Maybe later at the eving I will post some pictures.
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Old 15th May 2009, 06:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Hello Erik,

yes this seems to be a garuda mungkur. Maybe later at the eving I will post some pictures.
sajen


Will start googling again because I do not know this name.

Regards, Erik
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Old 15th May 2009, 07:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikscollectables
What are the opinions on Jenssen?
To me (only 2 years interested in the subject and with only a small library) it seems to be the best resource in a language I can read.
That does not make everything in the book true of course but a good basis for at least an hypothesis I would say.
So the hypothesis would be it is Bima.

I don't pesonally have any opinion of Jensen as i do not own his Kris Disc as of yet. It may well be a very good reference. I do know that there is no way you can rely on any single source for accurate keris information and that "accurate" can change from island to island and era to era. Every book i have on the subject has at least some questionable material in it.
I wouldn't say that "the hypothesis would be it is Bima". That is, apparently, Jensen's hypothesis, but i have never read that from any other author i am familiar with.
Perhaps someone who has the Kris Disc can fill us in on what exactly has lead Jensen to his hypothesis. If he has no sources and no observational reasoning for his statement then it is more a guess than a hypothesis.
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Old 15th May 2009, 07:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I don't pesonally have any opinion of Jensen as i do not own his Kris Disc as of yet. It may well be a very good reference. I do know that there is no way you can rely on any single source for accurate keris information and that "accurate" can change from island to island and era to era. Every book i have on the subject has at least some questionable material in it.
I wouldn't say that "the hypothesis would be it is Bima". That is, apparently, Jensen's hypothesis, but i have never read that from any other author i am familiar with.
Perhaps someone who has the Kris Disc can fill us in on what exactly has lead Jensen to his hypothesis. If he has no sources and no observational reasoning for his statement then it is more a guess than a hypothesis.


This is what the disk states:
"About 1500 Cirebon had Muslim rulers. In the mid-sixteenth century Cirebon defeated troops of the Hindu Pajajaran kingdom. Banten was established as a vassal muslim state to Cirebon. Bantenīs rulers continued the extension of its territory and captured Pajajaran`s capital Pakuan (Bogor) and its villages in 1579. Armies of the sultanate also crossed the Sunda Strait into South Sumatra to overtake the pepper-trade, which made Banten a very rich and influential state1. But the area around Banten and Cirebon remained for the major part Hindu or still influenced by the Hindu scheme of things.

Therefore many of the krisses from Banten, Cirebon and Tegal still had Hindu figures as hilts. They represent a range of Hindu gods, demons and heros fx Yaksha/ Raksasa (Fig25, 26), Dursasana (Fig 29), (stylized) Ganesha (Fig 30 a) and Bima (Fig 19).
The Yaksha/Raksasa hilt types of Banten2 with a slightly different elaboration seem to have spread all along the commercial towns of the Northern coast of Java. In Cirebon and Tegal, which in the 16th and 17th century was influenced by Banten, is found a Raksasa like hilt, which is a mixture of the Raksasa-hilt type 1 and 2 from Banten3. Perhaps an 18th century version of the original Banten types, but it may be as old the Banten types. The wear of many of the hilts and blades of this type points in that direction. But it cannot be manifested as no krisses of this types are found in the early European Kunstkammer Collections. According to J.W. van Dapperen 4 this type of hilt might originate fromTegal, where the figure is called Tji-Kakak (kakak=older brother - boisterous laughter). It is said to make the kris defend its owner very courageously. This is supported by the fact that the figure has much resemblance to Bima, who is the most boisterous, courageous, strongest and fiercest of the Pandawa-brothers5. It has the same coarse (Kasar) appearance and has his much feared characteristic long thumbnails (Panchanaka)"

And his sources:

1 Jean Gelman Taylor: Indonesia, Peoples and History, New Haven and London 2003, p 82. Berhard H.M
Vlekke: Nusantara. A History of Indonesia, Hague 1965, p 130. Karsten Sejr Jensen: Den Indonesiske
Kris,1998, p 149-50. Chapter 3 p 2
2 This type of hilts may date back to the 11th/12th century. See chapter 2 p 2 and p 41, chapter 3 p 3-5
3 Karsten Sejr Jensen: Den Indonesiske kris 1998, p 65 Fig 43 (type 1) and p 89 Fig 57 (type 2). See
chapter 3, Fig 17 a (type 1) and Fig 17 b (type 2).
4 J.W. van Dapperen: Krisheften. Nederlandsch Indie Oud en Nieuw 1931, p 105 and 109, fig 12 and 15:
J.W.van Dapperen mentions that the Majapahit-prince Brawijaya (15th century) should have worn a kris
with such a hilt, which indicates that it may be much older than the 18th century.
5 Cedric Le Dauphin (The Hilts of the Kriss. Caos 2002 nr 1, p 153) thinks it represents the Garuda bird. What point towards that interpretation of the hilt is the triangular shape under his nose, which may indicate it is a beak. But this triangular shape is not meant as the lower part of a beak, but indicates the point where the right and the left part of the curly moustache meet. However, Bima and Garuda have some similarities as they both have the long thumbnails (Panchanaka�� and they both are fighting the snakes. Sometimes
Bima is depicted with snakes coiling around his neck, which Gurada never has, as he fighting the snakes. (Fig 23). See Pandam Guritno: Lordly Shades, Jakarta 1989, p 96.
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Old 15th May 2009, 08:02 PM   #12
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And another quote from Jenssen's Krisdisk about a specific hilt and the source he mentiones:

"Hilt: Bima type in ivory sitting in a squatting Pralambapada positon on a Tumpal throne. The figure is a mixture of type 1 and 2 in the early European collections. Around his waist is a belt with meander pattern 6. Notice his
long thumbnails (Panchanaka)."

6 The meander pattern symbolizes clouds and thunder, which is connected with fertility. Bima became in the end of the Majapahit Period (15th century) a semi-divine being connected with fertility which is emphasized by the decoration of his belt. M. Thomsen: Java und Bali, Mainz am Rhein 1980, p 141. Ann R. Kinney:Worshipping Siva and Buddha, Honolulu 2003, p 273.

Regards, Erik
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Old 15th May 2009, 08:26 PM   #13
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Thanks Erik. It's a little out of context without the photos to illustrate and i do not have a reference to what he means by type 1 and type 2 hilts. I am just going to have to get around to obtaining the disc myself.
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Old 15th May 2009, 08:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikscollectables
.....In chapter 3 and 4 Jenssen describes at least 6 subtypes.
the one with the garuda mungkur not I think, what is it?


Regards, Erik

Hallo Erik
On the back a Garuda mungkur
Marco
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Old 15th May 2009, 09:40 PM   #15
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Marco,
I took the liberty of 'shopping' the pictures for more detailed observation .
Will take them down if you object .
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Old 15th May 2009, 10:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Marco,
I took the liberty of 'shopping' the pictures for more detailed observation .
Will take them down if you object .

Thanks Rick
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Old 16th May 2009, 12:06 AM   #17
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Thanks Rick

ummm....that's Mr. Photoshop to us humans.
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Old 16th May 2009, 12:11 AM   #18
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Just a little gamma correction ...
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Old 16th May 2009, 12:47 AM   #19
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Mr. Jensen has reached certain conclusions in respect of a number of things to do with the keris, including the interpretation of some hilt figures. He has supported these conclusions with argument, and has quoted references indicating the depth of his study. Although I find that I cannot always agree with Mr. Jensen's conclusions, nor his arguments, I do not believe that it is constructive to engage in criticism of these conclusions. Rather, I feel that we should pay attention to Mr. Jensen's work, as well as broadening our own studies, and attempt to reach our own conclusions.

I do have a copy of Mr. Jensen's CD, but quite frankly, I find it much too difficult to read and to access information from. It is a great shame he was unable to produce this CD as a book.

The Javanese figural hilts that we have been accustomed to categorise as "raksasas" cover a range of seemingly different characters. These characters display minor differences, which could be indicative of the identity of the character, or of stylistic interpretation. However, there is one thing that I believe we can take as a certainty, and that is that the purpose of this type of figural hilt was protective. Bearing in mind the manifestation of the keris as linga, I believe that all of these Javanese figural hilts, irrespective of whether they bear overtly demonic indicators, or not , can be interpreted as dvarapalas.

A dvarapala is a Buddhist guardian figure, most often found as a guardian of temples. Instances occur in Javanese monumental works where a dvarapala has been represented as an identifiable character.

A dvarapala can be represented in a number of different positions, however, one position above all others is identified with the dvarapala. The image I have provided shows a hilt with a figure in this position.

Any study of archaic Javanese sculptural works will quickly reveal that some of the greatest names in the field of Javanese/Indonesian art have had difficulty in the identification of figural representations with specific identifiable characters.

With this in mind, I feel that it is unwise in the extreme to attempt to identify minor sculptural works, works which are often in the nature of folk art, with specific characters. Sometimes we can make a reasonably supportable identification, but at other times the attributes of the figures are mixed and muddled and any identification becomes not much more than a hopeful guess.

However, one thing we can rely upon is the protective nature of the figural keris hilt.

To some it may seem strange that we would find a dvarapala, a Buddhist guardian, associated with an artifact --- the keris --- that has its origin in Hindu Jawa. In Jawa during the East Javanese period there had occurred a synthesis of some aspects of Buddhist belief with Hindu beliefs,moreover, the dvarapala figure is widespread in Jawa, and can be found in a number of applications.

So, to return to the original question:- who is the specific character represented in the "raksasa" style keris hilt?

In my opinion it is only very rarely that a specific character may be able to be identified.
I hold this opinion because of the general insufficiency of evidence that will permit positive identification of any specific character.

Setting aside figural keris hilts from locations other than Jawa, I am of the opinion that the Javanese hilt style that has usually been referred to as the "raksasa" style could more correctly be referred to as the "dvarapala" style.
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Old 16th May 2009, 02:15 PM   #20
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Here is the brother from Marco's handle.
sajen
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Old 16th May 2009, 02:18 PM   #21
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And a second one with garuda mungkur.
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Old 16th May 2009, 02:26 PM   #22
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And here one with diadem.
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Old 16th May 2009, 02:33 PM   #23
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Thanks all for the photo's and Alan and also David for the valuable comments.
This is a good place to learn where I am otherwise limited to books without much discussion. Great stuff, Erik
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Old 16th May 2009, 03:54 PM   #24
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Glad to have you here Erik .
One more voice, one more perspective .

Forgot !
Think I have a bearded example ..
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Old 16th May 2009, 04:51 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikscollectables
Thanks all for the photo's and Alan and also David for the valuable comments.
This is a good place to learn where I am otherwise limited to books without much discussion. Great stuff, Erik



I consort with you Eric, this is a great place with great members, thank's to all!
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Old 16th May 2009, 04:56 PM   #26
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Hey Rick, i've got that same guy on two of my hilts. All of the elements are pretty much exactly the same so this is definitely a pattern from one particular area.
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Old 16th May 2009, 07:02 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
The Javanese figural hilts that we have been accustomed to categorise as "raksasas" cover a range of seemingly different characters. These characters display minor differences, which could be indicative of the identity of the character, or of stylistic interpretation. However, there is one thing that I believe we can take as a certainty, and that is that the purpose of this type of figural hilt was protective. Bearing in mind the manifestation of the keris as linga, I believe that all of these Javanese figural hilts, irrespective of whether they bear overtly demonic indicators, or not , can be interpreted as dvarapalas.

A dvarapala is a Buddhist guardian figure, most often found as a guardian of temples. Instances occur in Javanese monumental works where a dvarapala has been represented as an identifiable character.

A dvarapala can be represented in a number of different positions, however, one position above all others is identified with the dvarapala. The image I have provided shows a hilt with a figure in this position.

Any study of archaic Javanese sculptural works will quickly reveal that some of the greatest names in the field of Javanese/Indonesian art have had difficulty in the identification of figural representations with specific identifiable characters.

With this in mind, I feel that it is unwise in the extreme to attempt to identify minor sculptural works, works which are often in the nature of folk art, with specific characters. Sometimes we can make a reasonably supportable identification, but at other times the attributes of the figures are mixed and muddled and any identification becomes not much more than a hopeful guess.

However, one thing we can rely upon is the protective nature of the figural keris hilt.

To some it may seem strange that we would find a dvarapala, a Buddhist guardian, associated with an artifact --- the keris --- that has its origin in Hindu Jawa. In Jawa during the East Javanese period there had occurred a synthesis of some aspects of Buddhist belief with Hindu beliefs,moreover, the dvarapala figure is widespread in Jawa, and can be found in a number of applications.

So, to return to the original question:- who is the specific character represented in the "raksasa" style keris hilt?

In my opinion it is only very rarely that a specific character may be able to be identified.
I hold this opinion because of the general insufficiency of evidence that will permit positive identification of any specific character.

Setting aside figural keris hilts from locations other than Jawa, I am of the opinion that the Javanese hilt style that has usually been referred to as the "raksasa" style could more correctly be referred to as the "dvarapala" style.


On the Krisdisk Jensen makes a similair note related to a figural hilt but in that case a specimen with a snake as necklace that suckles the thumb.

Here is his comment:

Notice the snake sucking his thumb and coiling around his neck. It indicates his Sivaistic origin. He may be a Dvarapala- a guardian of a temple

His source: Jan Fontein: The Sculpture of Indonesia, Washington 1990, p 130.

The book on disc is not easy to access but does have the advantage you can zoom in on pictures!

Erik
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Old 16th May 2009, 09:31 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Here is the brother from Marco's handle.
sajen

Another brother...
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Old 16th May 2009, 09:49 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Glad to have you here Erik .
One more voice, one more perspective .

Forgot !
Think I have a bearded example ..

...another bearded brother
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Old 16th May 2009, 11:46 PM   #30
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Here's a few more.

Sorry for the quality of these pics, but its all I've got time to do right now.
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