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Old 30th August 2019, 09:16 AM   #1
Gustav
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Default Authentic Singha

Dear Kerislovers,

yesterday an interesting Keris was auctioned, I think it would be good to preserve the pictures of it here.

It appears to be a Keris from 17th cent. with an original Singha and 17th cent. hilt. Gonjo could be an old replacement.

The non-standard Greneng of this kind is the second one I see on an old piece, the other one being Dresden 2888 (in fact some years ago there was another interesting blade dressed as Keris Bali with this Greneng). It may be coincidence, but the hilts on both Keris represent an aggressive appearance with visible fangs, different from common North/West(?) hilts.

Are there some opinions, in which context in time and space such comparably simple Singha, so different from Mataram Singha, such Greneng and such hilt variation could appear?
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Old 30th August 2019, 05:17 PM   #2
Green
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Congrats to the winner. I was watching this one for sometimes in the past few weeks when suddenly the bids went mad . somebody either know the provenance of this keris or wanted it badly for some reasons.
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Old 31st August 2019, 03:00 AM   #3
Anthony G.
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keris owned by warrior or royalty?
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Old 31st August 2019, 05:30 AM   #4
A. G. Maisey
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I doubt that I am looking at a Javanese wilah here. At least, the Singo Barong is not in any Javanese style that I can recognise, to my eye this singo looks Cambodian, or maybe Kymer or Thai, or even Burmese. It does not look Javanese. I think it might be more correct to refer to this form as a Chinthe, and if we do that this terminology removes it from a Javanese reference. The rondha is equally strange.

But if we remove the rondha/greneng and the singo from consideration the blade probably can be accepted as Javanese.

Maybe the maker had a holiday in Bangkok before he started work? Did they have resorts and massage girls and other sorts of relaxing innovations back then? If not, well they should have had.

Maybe it was ordered by a visiting or ex patriot Cambodian? Lots of Javanese links with Cambodia in olden times.

Or possibly for export? The Javanese did export weapons and weapon blades all over South East Asia.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 31st August 2019 at 08:38 AM. Reason: after thought
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Old 31st August 2019, 01:14 PM   #5
David
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i can see all of Alan's points here. This singo certainly does not appear to be Javanese and the greneng is also very strange for that origin. But much of the blade could indeed be Javanese. An interesting mystery.
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Old 31st August 2019, 11:42 PM   #6
kai
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Just because a hilt is old, an accompanying blade should not be assumed to be of similar age without evidence.

However, if we accept Dresden 2888 as originating from the Jawa-Bali nexus, I see no real reason to not seriously examine the hypothesis that this blade may be of similar origin and age (despite the somewhat crude lion)!

As Gustav mentioned, the gonjo may be a replacement; the blade does exhibit clear pamor extending over the carved figure: While I haven't been able to examine this blade in person, the lion seems to be legit and the blade most likely to originate from Indonesia...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 1st September 2019, 08:06 AM   #7
A. G. Maisey
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I think Gustav is asking for an opinion on where this blade was made and when.

Frankly, I'm not able to say where or when.

What I can say, and it is perhaps all I am able to say with reasonable certainty is that I cannot recall ever having seen a Javanese singo barong of this form, however, I have seen many cinthe attributed to Kymer culture, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Burma that are of very similar form to the singo on this blade.

The greneng/ rondha is not a usual Javanese form, and if I were to be shown the greneng divorced from the blade I would have no alternative but to say that it was not Javanese or Balinese.

All I am able to provide is negatives, ie, what is not applicable.

Do we have even a single example of a singo barong of this form that is beyond doubt of Javanese origin? It need not be on a keris, it could be anywhere. If we can find that one singo barong, then we have a place to start, in its absence, all we have is an opportunity to construct hypotheses.
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Old 1st September 2019, 10:18 PM   #8
Gustav
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Thank you all for your thoughts.

Yes, that's what was bothering me - a blade with overall appearance of an older Java/Bali blade, with non-standard Singha and Greneng.

Meanwhile I found old pictures of the third blade with this type of Greneng. It may be just a coincidence, yet Ricikan of it are quite similar to the Ricikan of the Dresden blade and Dhapur is the same. There is a short Kembang Kacang together with Lambe Gajah which is placed high on Gandhik. Common detail is also the indentation below Jalen which suddenly cuts the flow towards Lambe Gajah.
Of course, the blade in Bali dress has lost substance compared to Dresden blade, which came early to Europa - perhaps they were similar in appearance at an earlier stage.

Speaking of Greneng, the well preserved protruding parts of it are ending in three prongs. Such complete protruding parts can be found on all three blades.

I have no clues about this anomaly, which nevertheless seems to have a consistent model character. In most cases when we see non-standard Greneng, the blades come from periphery and the forms are just degenerative forms of classic Javanese Greneng. The blades in question are comparatively well made and seemingly belong to Java/Bali sphere.

Who was producing something like that? Some strange, relatively short-lived social/political/religious entity?

Of course trade blade is a good possibility. Yet, if Dresden blade and Bali dressed one are somehow related - could we expect a Pamor Tangkis blade be a trade blade? Also Dresden blade seems to have at least partial Pamor Miring (Adeg).
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Old 2nd September 2019, 02:06 AM   #9
A. G. Maisey
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That is interesting Gustav, but just as I have trouble in relating the singo barong to Jawa, I have also have a lot of difficulty in relating the pamor of the blade in Bali dress to Bali. Then we have that aberrant greneng.

My present gut feeling is Madura, and yes, probably trade. Ignoring the details, the overall pawakan tends more to Madura than to Jawa or to Bali.

Pamor tangkis can be regarded as protective against black magic, but the two pamors used here, if evaluated separately are generally protective in the case of adeg wengkon, and protecive against want in the case of wos wutah. Pretty nice combination for something going into the market place.

Please note:- "gut feeling". Do not ask me for logic or other examples, I am talking "feeling" not logic.
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Old 2nd September 2019, 01:04 PM   #10
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Alan, thank you.
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