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Old 8th March 2020, 03:21 PM   #1
Athanase
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Default Keris with elephant-headed blade.

Hello

After some time of absence, I came back with some new things.

Here is a very recently acquired this Keris, the handle is very similar to the one I posted here: http://vikingsword.com/vb/showpost....0&postcount=159


Unfortunately it doesn't have a sheath but I would have liked to know if it was possible to have an idea of its origin because I would like to find a compatible sheath.

These are the pictures of the auction room, because I haven't received it yet.
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Old 8th March 2020, 07:00 PM   #2
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Very nice keris IMO the blade seems Balinese, the hilt from East java, pendok from Sumatra. Cograturation
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Old 8th March 2020, 08:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athanase
Unfortunately it doesn't have a sheath but I would have liked to know if it was possible to have an idea of its origin because I would like to find a compatible sheath.
These are the pictures of the auction room, because I haven't received it yet.

I think more unfortunate than the missing sheath is the broken ivory hilt. It would seem it is being held together by the rubber band. Since you make no mention of this i do hope it is something that you noticed before buying.
It is a beautiful hilt though and probably deserving of some professional repair if you have access to someone who does such work on antique ivory. I'n not convinced it is East Jawa giving the motifs, but i don't know for sure. Marco mentions the pendok. I'm sure he meant pendokok, since obviously there is no sheath to have a pendok here. I would more call this a selut than a pendokok though and i don't think it comes from Sumatra.
How long is this blade btw?

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Old 8th March 2020, 09:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I think more unfortunate than the missing hilt is the broken ivory hilt. It would seem it is being held together by the rubber band. Since you make no mention of this i do hope it is something that you noticed before buying.
It is a beautiful hilt though and probably deserving of some professional repair if you have access to someone who does such work on antique ivory. I'n not convinced it is East Jawa giving the motifs, but i don't know for sure. Marco mentions the pendok. I'm sure he meant pendokok, since obviously there is no sheath to have a pendok here. I would more call this a selut than a pendokok though and i don't think it comes from Sumatra.
How long is this blade btw?

You're right David!( ... OMG I see that I'm getting old :-p !!) . I meant selut (which perhaps has a separate mendak over)
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Old 8th March 2020, 09:58 PM   #5
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Hello Severin,

Congrats, another great score! Let me know, yadda, yadda...

The hilt is a very nice and example. Make sure that the broken part is wrapped separately during shipping! This is certainly worth specialized repair/restoration efforts.

Keris Jawa rather than Bali? What is the blade length?

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Old 8th March 2020, 11:19 PM   #6
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I only have the total length: 58cm (so I deduct approximately 47cm for the blade)
The handle was reported as "broken" in the notice but during the sale, the auctioneer clarified that the handle was not broken but split. Apparently the crack is open on one side but still welded on the other, as when the wood splits.
I think we can fill the crack, but I don't believe that it's possible to close it by applying pressure.
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Old 8th March 2020, 11:31 PM   #7
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This is a Balinese keris, the hilt & fittings do not belong with the blade. By "Balinese", I mean Balinese culture, it could have as easily been made in Lombok as in Bali itself.

In respect of the hilt, my personal preference would be to leave exactly as it is, no restoration attempts, but demount from the blade and keep separate in a situation that would be kind to ivory, ideally this would be controlled humidity & temperature, but for most of us this is not possible. Certainly in a situation where it is not exposed to sunlight or artificial lighting and is protected from dust. A small glass of water in the same space would give a measure of added protection.
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Old 8th March 2020, 11:39 PM   #8
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Thank you for all your opinions.
It is true that I hadn't thought to look at the length of the blade (47cm approximately) and it should have already directed me to a blade of Balinese origin.
For the handle I will actually pay attention to the protected from the sun and other source of light producing heat.
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Old 9th March 2020, 02:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
This is a Balinese keris, the hilt & fittings do not belong with the blade. By "Balinese", I mean Balinese culture, it could have as easily been made in Lombok as in Bali itself.

In respect of the hilt, my personal preference would be to leave exactly as it is, no restoration attempts, but demount from the blade and keep separate in a situation that would be kind to ivory, ideally this would be controlled humidity & temperature, but for most of us this is not possible. Certainly in a situation where it is not exposed to sunlight or artificial lighting and is protected from dust. A small glass of water in the same space would give a measure of added protection.


Wow, so that is the proper care of this material. If it is left mounted on metal pesi, will it crack? Is it the same if it were mounted on an all wood stand? Also, what does the water do? Thanks!
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Old 9th March 2020, 07:28 AM   #10
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The water supposedly keeps humidity in the air.

Museums keep ivory in humidity & temperature controlled conditions. I cannot afford this, but I do have a lot of ivory, not only hilts, but also ivory carvings. I remember that 40+ years ago, before having and selling ivory got you branded as one of Satan's representatives on Earth, and in any case, just plain evil, dealers in ivory always had a container of water in the case with the ivory. Even in the 1950's museums had containers of water in the cases containing ivory. I don't know if it works, but it certainly doesn't do any harm.

If a hilt, ivory or otherwise has been on a keris for a long time, and the pesi begins to rust, the rust will expand and crack the hilt. A wooden display stand with a wooden support peg should be perfectly safe.
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Old 9th March 2020, 10:21 AM   #11
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According to the late Martin Kerner, the hilt seems to depict Bima (see the hair bun) and I would agree with Marco about the East Java origin.
I hope that you can remove the hilt without breaking it further, good luck! Personally I would try to re-glue it with Superglue if you can close the gap on top of the crack by applying pressure.
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Old 9th March 2020, 06:56 PM   #12
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A similar Bima handle with Balinese blade (?) and unknown dress.
Pics from Czerny auction.
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Old 9th March 2020, 10:23 PM   #13
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Jean,

I've always had a bit of a problem in accepting this identification of Martin's. I was never able to get a definitive source from him as to why this hair-bun should necessarily be a Bhima identifier, and I've not been able to locate any reference myself where a Dvarapala with a hair-bun was positively identified by an accepted authority as Bhima.

I do not accept that every time we see a Dvarapala --- and the nature of one of these figural hilts is in fact the nature of a Dvarapala --- we should automatically accept we are looking at Bhima.

I would be very grateful if somebody could provide a solid foundation for this identification of Martin's.
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Old 9th March 2020, 11:44 PM   #14
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I would be interested to learn more on this identification as well. My understanding from searching for images of Bhima as depicted in Jawa and Bali is that the hairstyle is that is most often used is how we see Bhima in wayang theatre. I have also included a Bali hilt (albeit a contemporary carving) that is most probably intended to be Bhima with this same hairstyle.
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Old 10th March 2020, 12:08 AM   #15
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Here also we see a temple Dvarapala with this top of the head hair bun. Can we assume this Dvarapala is supposed to be Bhima based solely upon this hairstyle???
These Dvarapala are Balinese. They don't seem to show any attributed that can confuse them with Bhima, but they do have this hair style. BTW, this style of a hair bun on the top of the head can be found on Dvarapala throughout South East Asia, including Cambodia and Thailand.
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Old 10th March 2020, 12:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul B.
A similar Bima handle with Balinese blade (?) and unknown dress.
Pics from Czerny auction.

Interesting keris. What do you suspect it is a Balinese blade though?
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Old 10th March 2020, 12:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Here also we see a temple Dvarapala with this top of the head hair bun. Can we assume this Dvarapala is supposed to be Bhima based solely upon this hairstyle???
These Dvarapala are Balinese. They don't seem to show any attributed that can confuse them with Bhima, but they do have this hair style. BTW, this style of a hair bun on the top of the head can be found on Dvarapala throughout South East Asia, including Cambodia and Thailand.


So they are the ones to blame for the "man-bun?"
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Old 10th March 2020, 01:34 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apolaki
So they are the ones to blame for the "man-bun?"

LOL!!!
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Old 10th March 2020, 10:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Jean,

I've always had a bit of a problem in accepting this identification of Martin's. I was never able to get a definitive source from him as to why this hair-bun should necessarily be a Bhima identifier, and I've not been able to locate any reference myself where a Dvarapala with a hair-bun was positively identified by an accepted authority as Bhima.

I do not accept that every time we see a Dvarapala --- and the nature of one of these figural hilts is in fact the nature of a Dvarapala --- we should automatically accept we are looking at Bhima.

I would be very grateful if somebody could provide a solid foundation for this identification of Martin's.


Yes Alan, I agree and this is why I said: "According to Martin Kerner...". I came across another possible identification of this figure as Ravana but without solid evidence as well.
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Old 10th March 2020, 10:48 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I would be interested to learn more on this identification as well. My understanding from searching for images of Bhima as depicted in Jawa and Bali is that the hairstyle is that is most often used is how we see Bhima in wayang theatre. I have also included a Bali hilt (albeit a contemporary carving) that is most probably intended to be Bhima with this same hairstyle.


You are correct David, see the attached balinese Bhima figure made from iron wood but I don't know if this hair style is exclusive or not. Your dvarapala picture does not depict Bima but a punakawan IMO.
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Old 10th March 2020, 11:33 AM   #21
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Two pics about the hilt
one is from Gaspard de Marval (Le Monde du Kris)
the other from Holstein book (Contribution etudes armes orientales)
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Old 10th March 2020, 01:25 PM   #22
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Jean, yes, I understood that you took the safe path and let Martin have the attribution, thus I was not questioning you, but rather asking the world at large if anybody knew of any authoritative source for Martin's attribution.

Jean, you have shown us a rather slight, pleasant looking figure carved from wood that you tell us is a representation of Bhima. This figure has a snake around its neck.

Which Hindu deity is very often depicted with a snake around his neck?

Does Bhima wear a snake around his neck?

David has shown us a couple of figures that he identifies as Dvarapalas, I'm assuming that he has taken this designation from the same source as he took the images, because before we can decide if a figure is truly a guardian (ie, dvarapala) we need to place it in context. But if they are not Dvarapalas why should we necessarily name them as Punakawans? These figures are totally removed from context, so we cannot really designate them as anything.

We really do need somebody who is recognised as expert in this field to tell us the things we do not know. Guesses and opinions from laymen are not a lot of use. What I mean by "expert" is a recognised authority in this specific field of art history, somebody like Bernet Kempers, or Fontein, or Kinney, or Klokke, or Kieven, or van Bemmel --- or any other recognised authority in the field of classical Javanese art. Having a high level of knowledge in one field does not necessarily mean that a person has a high level of knowledge in a related field.

Marco has given us a couple of additional images, one of which is identified as the old grab-bag of Raksasa, which is probably fair enough. I've got several hilts that have hair buns, and if they have fangs, I'd be more or less content to call them Raksasas.

This identification of keris hilt figures has been an ongoing problem for a very long time. I have found from experience that it is close to a total waste of time to talk to present day carvers about this. The answers might be buried somewhere in some obscure paper, but I have a great many papers on file, and I have not found anything helpful yet. Standard texts do not seem be too interested in this ID question. Respected people in Balinese & Javanese society seem to contradict one another and hold fast to their own opinions.

Helena van Bemmel had a book published around 25 years ago that is a comparative study of SE Asian Dvarapalas with specifically Dvarapalas in Indonesia that are still in place, but even that does not help a whole lot with specific identification. The whole thing is this:- as people from a Western cultural base we expect that if we see a figure carved as something that resembles a God, or a Demon, or whatever, then we should be able to give it a name. In fact those Gods, Demons & whatever are formless, the statue only exists to personify the invisible force. Dvarapalas have a pretty generic form that brings into the mind of the viewer the idea of protection, but that protective force is present without the Dvarapala, and the idea of protection that the figure conjures up in the mind of a viewer has the effect of concentrating the protective force.

I believe most people who follow the keris discussions in this forum are well aware of the ideas of the World we can see, and the World that we cannot see. Gods, Demons and Dvarapalas are from the world that we cannot see, they are pockets of force, all the statues do is personify them for people who do not yet have the ability to conjure them without a point of focus.

I feel that we need to be exceptionally careful about trying to place names on things that we do not understand. This is the reason that I would very much like to find somebody who knows one hell of a lot more than I do about how to affix identities to the figures we see used as keris hilts, and also Javanese/Balinese statues in general.
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Old 10th March 2020, 02:21 PM   #23
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About the world we cannot see as rightly Mr. Masey said .....Mrs. Vanna Ghiringhelli will publish a new book in English "The invisible world of the kris" a compendium on the esoteric, legendary, mythological and magical aspects of kris

http://www.enciclopediadelledonne.i...i-ghiringhelli/
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Old 10th March 2020, 02:33 PM   #24
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I look forward to this publication Marco. Mrs. Vanna Ghiringhelli is certainly an authority on mainstream Hindu beliefs and culture.

Can you advise how this book can be ordered?
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Old 10th March 2020, 03:58 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
I look forward to this publication Marco. Mrs. Vanna Ghiringhelli is certainly an authority on mainstream Hindu beliefs and culture.

Can you advise how this book can be ordered?


Of course! when Mrs. Vanna will publish the book (the text is ready but the book not yet published) I will immediately give informations here in the forum
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Old 10th March 2020, 06:37 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
You are correct David, see the attached balinese Bhima figure made from iron wood but I don't know if this hair style is exclusive or not. Your dvarapala picture does not depict Bima but a punakawan IMO.

Beautiful wooden carving of Bhima Jean. I love it.
Yes, i am aware that the photos i posted are nor Bhima. My question was rhetorical. I posted these dvarapala because they had the hairstyle people were claiming indicated Bhima, but i was sure they were not, in fact, Bhima. I can't really speak to the Punakawan question at this point. What i can say to Alan's question is that yes, these statues were identified as dvarapala from the source i grabbed them from and they are indeed acting as guardians outside of temples in Bail. I would have to investigate further to answer which temples those were as i did not pay close attention when i found them, but they dod seem to be in place as guardians for those temple and so i assumed that dvarapala would indeed be the proper designation for them.
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Old 10th March 2020, 06:42 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
I look forward to this publication Marco. Mrs. Vanna Ghiringhelli is certainly an authority on mainstream Hindu beliefs and culture.

Can you advise how this book can be ordered?

I don't doubt that Mrs. Vanna Ghiringhelli is an authority on mainstream Hindu beliefs and culture, but i must say that while showing many interesting images of keris hilts, i have found both of her hilt books somewhat devoid of any really useful information. Though i would still be interested in this new book.
On that subject however, i am afraid that i must don my moderator hat here and suggest that any information on how this new book can be ordered should be addressed in a Swap Forum post.
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Old 10th March 2020, 07:14 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I don't doubt that Mrs. Vanna Ghiringhelli is an authority on mainstream Hindu beliefs and culture, but i must say that while showing many interesting images of keris hilts, i have found both of her hilt books somewhat devoid of any really useful information. Though i would still be interested in this new book.
On that subject however, i am afraid that i must don my moderator hat here and suggest that any information on how this new book can be ordered should be addressed in a Swap Forum post.


I'lldoit
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Old 10th March 2020, 07:32 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Jean, you have shown us a rather slight, pleasant looking figure carved from wood that you tell us is a representation of Bhima. This figure has a snake around its neck.

Which Hindu deity is very often depicted with a snake around his neck?

Does Bhima wear a snake around his neck?



Hello Alan,
You are right that my figure wears a snake around its neck (Bhima being the enemy of the snakes) but I rather identified the figure as Bhima from its dark skin and gada (mace). Have you got a different opinion? I have a similar figure depicting Arjuna (or Rama) with its bow.
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Old 10th March 2020, 09:50 PM   #30
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Thank you Marco.

David, in respect of Mrs. Vanna Ghiringhelli's previous publications, I reserve comment.

In respect of her upcoming publication I will say only this:- this lady writes well, and is a meticulous researcher, I have found all of her writings to be an excellent mirror of the overall beliefs associated with the keris. Her perspective is in my opinion one that should be given close attention by anybody who wishes to undertake a comparative study of the keris as it is understood by all of those people who have an interest in it.

Jean, I have no opinion at all on who this figure might be intended to represent Jean. I feel that probably one would need to know the carver in order to know his intentions. What I do know is that if this totogan is intended to represent Bhima, it is a very atypical representation.

You have said that the figure bears a mace, I can only see that he has something in his left hand, would it be possible to show us the other side of this figure, so we can see the mace?
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