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Old 17th January 2022, 09:01 AM   #1
milandro
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Default First post: A Balinese Keris

Hello all! I am finally a member of this community although I have been watching for a while while trying to acquire information, I hope you will forgive me if I donít immediately grasp everything especially the forum microculture which is different in every place and of course the terminology which I may not yet possess.

I am from the Netherlands where Iíve been living for the last 32 years. Of course as you know there are many krisses here, for obvious reasons.

At the moment I am the proud owner of 5 keris , probably a mix of relatively new and maybe something assembled with older parts.

This Keris which I like to show to the community was acquired from the estate of a former collector who passed away 35 years ago, the daughter told me that her father had bought most of his collection at a Dutch shop some 50 to 60 years ago. I bought 2 keris from her, This one and another from Madura , or at least with elements from Madura which I will show in another thread.


The Hilt or Ukiran shows , I believe, Buta Nawa Sari, The Warangka en Pendok have other images carved in the wood. I would like to ask those with a better knowledge of the Balinese culture what they think about the depictions there. Are these scenes from the Ramayana ( as some people in the Netherlands have suggested).

The wilah seems to be in relatively good state showing some slight pitting in parts . The Pamor is visible although at some point I may decide to have this going through a bath with some warangan to enhance the contrast even more and get rid of some oxidation which I think is there. The Pamor patter should be Pulo Tirto, Islands in holy waters (or so Iíve been told).


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Old 18th January 2022, 01:08 AM   #2
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Welcome, milandro!

I don't want to detract from your questions and observations, but will add that there appears to be a curve to this wilah that I haven't observed before in a Bali keris, but would more typically see in a Bugis-influenced keris. Provided that I'm not completely wrong, I wonder if it is a Lombok blade.
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Old 18th January 2022, 03:59 AM   #3
Anthony G.
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Lombok keris? Nice keris.
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Old 18th January 2022, 09:05 AM   #4
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From the pics I would rather identify the pamor pattern as Wengkon Isen (frame with contents), and agree with the proposed Lombok origin rather than Bali.
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Old 18th January 2022, 09:34 AM   #5
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Thank you all, it may very well be from Lombok, which is my reason to ask for knowledge , thanks also for the revised suggestion on the pamor. I will try to learn about this. It was previously identified as such but of course I know that pamor identification is often debatable and debated.

I will post in another occasion pictures of another wilah that I think has a similar pamor and which is being etched at the moment and provided witha new Sarong.

Also I will be curious to know about what you think about the pamorless tombak and the Merak engraved Madura Keris.
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Old 18th January 2022, 01:23 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum, Milandro!

The polish and stain seems to be original (or rather genuine Bali/Lombok style regardless of the origin of the blade) - keep it well oiled in a plastic sleeve and try to preserve it!

I agree with Jean on the main pamor attempted here being wengkon; quite uncommon for any Bugis blades. Thus, I'd guess at local manufacture (probably Lombok) with possibly a good dose of Bugis influence. (And maybe a bit of east Java?)

Regards,
Kai
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Old 18th January 2022, 01:27 PM   #7
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P.S.: The blade could well be antique; the fittings are modern replacements though.
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Old 18th January 2022, 02:35 PM   #8
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thank you, for your comments.

I am still looking for an interpretation of the meaning and origin of the figures on the warangka and pendok
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Old 18th January 2022, 09:33 PM   #9
A. G. Maisey
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Milandro, the "meaning" of the ornamentation, I would take to be purely for the sake of ornamentation.

This is a reasonably modern scabbard & hilt, it is fairly pedestrian work, and from the photos it appears to be carved in relief before the sunggingan work was applied.

I cannot think of any Balinese use for this sort of dress, other than to make it more attractive for sale.

The blade is not really curved, rather, it is straight on one edge and has a very slight swelling on the other edge, which causes it to look as if it has a curve. If we look closely at the pamor on the side of the blade with the straight edge, we can see that the wengkon is missing.

In my opinion I feel that this blade probably had some damage to the straight edge side, maybe a couple of nicks, or perhaps a crack, this damage was cleaned up and in the process the edge became straight and part of the wengkon was lost.

In any case, it is an old keris, it is Balinese, it is reasonably attractive, and as a beginning part of a collection, it is not a bad acquisition.
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Old 19th January 2022, 05:00 AM   #10
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I agree with Alan's assessment here. This is an antique Bali blade in a kitschy modern dress. As Alan pointed out, this sheath would have no proper place for wear within Balinese society and is something made more to attract the eye of visitors from outside the culture. So i wouldn't look for too much meaning in it. The sheath is certainly newer than the blade, but was probably not very old when this was collected. A 19th century blade in vintage touristy dress.
I also agree with Kai that this has an old Bali stain that is in fairly good shape. I would not try to re-do it as the technique of maintaining a polish after applying warangan is difficult at best. Oil it and preserve it.
And i will add that again, there is no pendok with this ensemble. A pendok is a metal sleeve that covers all or part of the sheath stem. This keris as well as the other keris you posted do not have pendoks.

Last edited by David; 21st January 2022 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 19th January 2022, 06:51 AM   #11
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You reckon its a pendok David?

Could be I suppose.

I thought it was the wood carved to imitate a pendok.
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Old 19th January 2022, 03:40 PM   #12
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A good blade which deserves another hilt and scabbard. The hilt in question is recent and mass-produced.
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Old 19th January 2022, 06:07 PM   #13
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GIO, I agree that the hilt is recent, but it is most definitely not mass-produced.

Mass-production is a factory based process where a product is standardised and produced as many objects exactly the same in a production line.

This hilt was carved and decorated as an individual piece.

It is likely that several craftsmen were involved in its production, and this is totally normal in virtually all fields of Balinese/Javanese craft work, but this hilt most certainly did not come off any production line as a standardised product.
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Old 21st January 2022, 01:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
You reckon its a pendok David?

Could be I suppose.

I thought it was the wood carved to imitate a pendok.
I may have confused you with a typo (i originally wrote "there is now pendok with this ensemble", now corrected). But i have not changed my last sentence of my post at all where i stated This keris as well as the other keris you posted do not have pendoks".
So no, i do not reckon it's a pendok at all.
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Old 21st January 2022, 01:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIO View Post
A good blade which deserves another hilt and scabbard. The hilt in question is recent and mass-produced.
I agree with Alan in the hilt. Recent, but certainly not "mass-produced".
As for the sarong, i have to admit that it has a certain "charm". It is certainly not saying it is something that would be acceptable for cultural wear. It is decorative and i'm not really sure exactly why it would have been created this way, except perhaps, as i suggested, to attract the eye of tourists. But i am not a Balinese man and would never have a reason to wear this keris in public. As a collector though i see it as a somewhat interesting example of Balinese decorative arts of that era. Unlike the sarongs that we most often see on those nasty cookie cutter tourist keris, this one is unique and i would consider accepting this keris dressed as is, especially if this sheath was indeed carved specifically to fit this blade. Call me crazy. LOL!
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Old 27th December 2023, 11:29 AM   #16
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the scene depicted on the Top is certainly from the Ramayana and shows the golden deer which appears to Rama and Lakshmana
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Old 31st December 2023, 01:57 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=A. G. Maisey;269187]GIO, I agree that the hilt is recent, but it is most definitely not mass-produced.


You are right, Alan. When I wrote the post I had in mind the kris of Marius66.
I take this opportunity to wish to you and to your family a happy 2024.
Gio
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Old 31st December 2023, 02:47 AM   #18
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Thank you for your good wishes GIO.

May I extend the same same good wishes for the coming year to you & your family, and to all of those who choose to join us here, a happy, healthy & prosperous 2024.
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Old 2nd January 2024, 08:38 AM   #19
milandro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIO View Post

You are right, Alan. When I wrote the post I had in mind the kris of Marius66.
I take this opportunity to wish to you and to your family a happy 2024.
Gio
Marius66 published his kris in 2023 (see thread) , mine was published way before in 2022


http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=29438



but yes, whilst that dress is the most common dress for tourist, this is certainly anything but common. I have yet to see another.



I asked back then the meaning of the depiction and later on, I found that these are INDEED scenes of the RAMAYANA (and not just any fantasy pictures) , I posted again, not in conjunction with Mariu66 post, to add information to the forum should anyone even come across this in future
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Old 2nd January 2024, 04:56 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milandro View Post
I asked back then the meaning of the depiction and later on, I found that these are INDEED scenes of the RAMAYANA (and not just any fantasy pictures) , I posted again, not in conjunction with Mariu66 post, to add information to the forum should anyone even come across this in future
Yes, it is not surprising that the images depicted on your sarung are indeed scenes of Ramayana.While i did recommend not looking too deeply to find meaning in it i don't believe anyone here suggested that the scene was "fantasy". However, just to be clear, that does not change the fact that this dress would not be considered suitable for cultural wear for a man in Bali. It was still most likely designed to be attractive to Western collector's eyes.
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Old 2nd January 2024, 10:49 PM   #21
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Milandro, although sunggingan used on keris dress is relatively uncommon in genuine Balinese work, it is not at all uncommon in Javanese keris dress, & also in keris dress that follows the style of various regions, but is produced in East Jawa for the collector market, both local & international.

In sunggingan work used on keris dress, and that has characters included in the design, those characters are usually drawn from myth & legend, say from the wayang, or from the great religious texts and sagas & sometimes from indigenous belief.

In some situations the colours used in the sunggingan work can have a meaning, that meaning being an indicator of hierarchical status in a defined sphere.

In other situations, both the colour scheme and the ornamentation itself has no meaning other than pure artistic ornamentation.

In a situation where meaning is intended, the complete keris is suitable for wear within the relevant society, where it serves the purpose of a status indicator.

The dress used for your keris has been carved in an authentic style, the hilt is a totogan, the scabbard is batun poh form, relief carving on a scabbard is uncommon in old keris, but has become more frequently seen in both keris prepared for local use in Bali, and in keris prepared for the collector market.

The unusual element in your keris is the use of very non-typical sunggingan work.

There are definitely some questions circling around this keris, but they are questions that could only be answered by a person with long experience in the field, and with the keris in hand, photos only ever tell a part of the story.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 2nd January 2024 at 11:04 PM.
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