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Old 9th January 2019, 02:47 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,447
Smile Tammens - complete set of this bi-lingual book for trade (or sale)

"[B]De kris. Magic relic of old Indonesia[/B]" was self-published by Gerard J. F. J. Tammens (1991 ff.) and never obtained wide circulation beyond a circle of dedicated keris enthusiasts despite the full text being available in English (as well as Dutch). Especially volumes 2 and 3 have been out of print for many years and complete sets are rarely found on the market.

In the [B]first volume[/B] (301 pages) general aspects of keris are discussed, including an approach to classifying dhapur that tries to reconcile formerly published treatises and to present a systematically organized classification. The main part of the book displays a selection of tosan aji of well above-average quality: One page shows images of the blades and their fittings while the facing page contains brief info and pertinent comments; the majority are keris with some tombak and a few other blades thrown in (totalling 80 pieces, all from the author's collection).

The [B]second volume[/B] (279 pages) concentrates on pamor (again with extensive line drawings and descriptions on facing pages). A section on non-iron metalwork completes the overview on keris craftsmanship: Pendok, mendak/uwer/selut, and kinatah. Like in volume 1, this is followed by a section on blades (including their fittings) shown individually (30 pieces, including 1 tombak); the majority of pieces was in the fine collection of the late Chris van der Wel. A short essay on the decline of Mojopahit and the rise of Islamic rulers in Jawa completes this volume.

The [B]third volume[/B] (289 pages) focuses on keris hilts: After an introduction, 178 hilts are individually shown on a dedicated page with short comments (some of these as notes on additional pages); the majority of hilts got sourced from these well-known collections: Schollaardt, Tammens, van Asperen, and van der Wel. This part is again followed by a section on blades (including their fittings) shown individually (25 pieces, including 2 pedang). A discussion of talismanic blades (or, following Theo Alkema, iron ancestors) concludes this early treatise on keris. (Some final notes/recommendations and an index for all 3 volumes may be useful for readers, too.)

This is one of the major early publications on keris and an important historic reference. As to be expected, some of the information has been superseded since. It also seems to represent approach(es) to the keris by the Dutch-Indo expat community after the independence of Indonesia. From a collector's POV, pieces with provenance from these famous collections are more expensive and xerox copies of these volumes are usually not good enough to verify claims made by any seller.

Ben recently offered a complete set for 500 here. I'd prefer a swap of my surplus set for antique blades from Indonesia/Malaya/Philippines (equalling US$350; of course, we can compensate if your piece is deemed to be of higher or lower value). Please email suggestions or any questions to my email addy below (please use cut & paste!):
Feel free to contact me if you don't like to part with any of your toys though (best offer plus international shipping at cost; first come, first served).

Thanks for your kind interest!

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