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Old 22nd September 2018, 11:19 AM   #1
Anthony G.
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Default Keris Kamardikan

Please comments if any. Thank you.
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Old 22nd September 2018, 04:36 PM   #2
Seerp Visser
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When you think, every variation is invented, the real artist comes up with something new..... Beautiful
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Old 22nd September 2018, 10:31 PM   #3
A. G. Maisey
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Actually Seerp, both stylistically and in terms of motif, everything in this keris is well established, nothing new here, except of course the entire concept, which is a beautiful piece of extremely clever modern keris art.

But this pamor motif is something that is very seldom encountered, in fact, in spite of my more than 60 years of contact with the keris, and very lengthy periods spent in Jawa and Bali, I have not yet handled a keris with this pamor motif. Whoever welded this pattern is a great master of the art.

The name of the motif is Tamarind Fibre ( Jarot Asem). I have not ever heard a talismanic value given to this motif by anybody I have ever known, but in recent literature it seems to be accepted as expressing a hope of dependability, determination, resoluteness --- certainly, whoever made such a difficult pamor would need all these qualities, and whoever had the money to pay for such work also needed these qualities in order to put together the wherewithal to foot the bill .

The extreme difficulty and complexity of production would seem to indicate that this motif is a fairly recent development, my guess is that it did not exist before European forge methods had already penetrated Javanese, or more likely Madurese, work practices, so perhaps it did not exist prior to the last quarter of the 19th century (ie, after 1875). Such a recent appearance would also explain the apparent lack of an established talismanic value.

Interestingly, this pamor appears not to have been known to Empu Djeno Harumbrojo.

The Singo Barong is not a Javanese form, nor is it Balinese. Frankly, I do not know what area the Singo Barong in this keris has been borrowed from:- Thai? Laos? Cambodia? China? it seems that the artist has taken various characteristics and combined them into a pleasing, but culturally inadequate whole. Because of this it is very difficult to attribute a value to the Singo Barong in this keris.

In Balinese iconography, and almost certainly in Pre-Islamic Javanese iconography the lion was associated with the K'satriya class, so a Singo Barong could be interpreted as indicative of warrior status, but when we apply the iconography of other places that draw on Chinese roots as shi, the iconography encapsulates protective values, as in "Guardian Lions". One thing is certain, if this keris is intended to be a Javanese keris, the Singo Barong on it is very wrong, and places it di luar pakem. But it is very pleasing sculpting.

If we look closely at the ron dha and sosoran of this keris, the appraisal of craftsmanship becomes quite difficult:- on the one hand the sculpting of the Singo Barong appears to be very good, but this artist seems not to have been able to cut a consistent ron dha of any recognisable form. Similarly, the proportions of the blumbangan do not fit comfortably into either Surakarta or Mataram form. Given, it is always difficult to read a blumbangan in a "picture keris", ie, a keris with a figure at the gandhik, and maybe this blumbangan would look better proportioned in hand than in a picture.

Taking into consideration the variation in the quality and consistency of the garap applied to this keris, I am inclined to think that we could be looking at a group effort. Certainly the forge work would not have been done by the same hands that did the bench work, but I feel that more than one pair of hands was involved in the bench work --- yes, I could be wrong about this, I was not there looking over the workers' shoulders, but my perception is that there is too much variation in proficiency for the bench work of this keris to be the work of one person.

The kinatah motif is unremarkable and fits comfortably into a Javanese context, however, the quality of the actual kinatah application is very, very ordinary, lower quality work, and not well done. I would guess probably done in Surabaya, certainly not top drawer Jawa Tengah work. This is a pity, because in spite of the obvious deficiencies in basic forms, this is really quite a beautiful piece of keris art, and it deserves much better kinatah work.

Although the overall form of the keris appears to be intended as Javanese , I am not able to comment on pawakan because there is no photograph of the complete keris, only close-ups of sections of the keris.

In summary, a very nice piece of modern keris art, it must be classified as Kemardikan, and is very far from any classical tradition.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 01:31 AM   #4
Anthony G.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 03:32 AM   #5
A. G. Maisey
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Classifiable as Surakarta style, so, "Kemardikan Surakarta".
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Old 23rd September 2018, 06:34 AM   #6
Anthony G.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Actually Seerp, both stylistically and in terms of motif, everything in this keris is well established, nothing new here, except of course the entire concept, which is a beautiful piece of extremely clever modern keris art.

But this pamor motif is something that is very seldom encountered, in fact, in spite of my more than 60 years of contact with the keris, and very lengthy periods spent in Jawa and Bali, I have not yet handled a keris with this pamor motif. Whoever welded this pattern is a great master of the art.

The name of the motif is Tamarind Fibre ( Jarot Asem). I have not ever heard a talismanic value given to this motif by anybody I have ever known, but in recent literature it seems to be accepted as expressing a hope of dependability, determination, resoluteness --- certainly, whoever made such a difficult pamor would need all these qualities, and whoever had the money to pay for such work also needed these qualities in order to put together the wherewithal to foot the bill .

The extreme difficulty and complexity of production would seem to indicate that this motif is a fairly recent development, my guess is that it did not exist before European forge methods had already penetrated Javanese, or more likely Madurese, work practices, so perhaps it did not exist prior to the last quarter of the 19th century (ie, after 1875). Such a recent appearance would also explain the apparent lack of an established talismanic value.

Interestingly, this pamor appears not to have been known to Empu Djeno Harumbrojo.

The Singo Barong is not a Javanese form, nor is it Balinese. Frankly, I do not know what area the Singo Barong in this keris has been borrowed from:- Thai? Laos? Cambodia? China? it seems that the artist has taken various characteristics and combined them into a pleasing, but culturally inadequate whole. Because of this it is very difficult to attribute a value to the Singo Barong in this keris.

In Balinese iconography, and almost certainly in Pre-Islamic Javanese iconography the lion was associated with the K'satriya class, so a Singo Barong could be interpreted as indicative of warrior status, but when we apply the iconography of other places that draw on Chinese roots as shi, the iconography encapsulates protective values, as in "Guardian Lions". One thing is certain, if this keris is intended to be a Javanese keris, the Singo Barong on it is very wrong, and places it di luar pakem. But it is very pleasing sculpting.

If we look closely at the ron dha and sosoran of this keris, the appraisal of craftsmanship becomes quite difficult:- on the one hand the sculpting of the Singo Barong appears to be very good, but this artist seems not to have been able to cut a consistent ron dha of any recognisable form. Similarly, the proportions of the blumbangan do not fit comfortably into either Surakarta or Mataram form. Given, it is always difficult to read a blumbangan in a "picture keris", ie, a keris with a figure at the gandhik, and maybe this blumbangan would look better proportioned in hand than in a picture.

Taking into consideration the variation in the quality and consistency of the garap applied to this keris, I am inclined to think that we could be looking at a group effort. Certainly the forge work would not have been done by the same hands that did the bench work, but I feel that more than one pair of hands was involved in the bench work --- yes, I could be wrong about this, I was not there looking over the workers' shoulders, but my perception is that there is too much variation in proficiency for the bench work of this keris to be the work of one person.

The kinatah motif is unremarkable and fits comfortably into a Javanese context, however, the quality of the actual kinatah application is very, very ordinary, lower quality work, and not well done. I would guess probably done in Surabaya, certainly not top drawer Jawa Tengah work. This is a pity, because in spite of the obvious deficiencies in basic forms, this is really quite a beautiful piece of keris art, and it deserves much better kinatah work.

Although the overall form of the keris appears to be intended as Javanese , I am not able to comment on pawakan because there is no photograph of the complete keris, only close-ups of sections of the keris.

In summary, a very nice piece of modern keris art, it must be classified as Kemardikan, and is very far from any classical tradition.



Alan was very right in his keris description. Actually this keris was mine, commissioned to a Madura awarding winner empu to do it. The reason I chosen to make a modern art keris was only because of this rare pamor.

A new pamor (BRAID) that symbolise strength, determination and strong-willed which is my character. The gold application was poor if you asked me and I have asked them to re-do it. The lion motif has some flaw. The lion tail are not the same design and i was wondering if the craving is done by diff. person who are careless. The lion (non Indonesian type) is more towards kirin that symbolise the owner horoscope and it is guardian of the keris.

And indeed this keris was completed with many person's involvement and not just one smith. Alan got very sharp eye.

There is also slight dis-coloration of the gold which came off on same part due to warangan process. I am not sure should the maker put warangan first and then apply the gold instead (He applied the gold before warangan).

This process is unknown to me and I have to pay more to put more gold coating again. Naturally I am not happy having to fork out more cash.

Hope these info enable everyone especially newbie like myself, learns how they craft the keris and the process taken etc. By commissioned this keris and with the expensive experience, I learnt a great deal more on how it is done in Madura.

I liked this keris but satisfaction is only 70%.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 08:07 AM   #7
A. G. Maisey
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All education costs Anthony. It mostly costs money, and that is not so bad, because money can always be replaced, when the education costs honour or reputation, that is much worse than just costing a bit of money.

Its not only "sharp eyes" that help me Anthony, it is the fact that I have been given the benefit of the best education possible in keris:- Empu Suparman, Empu Pauzan Pusposukadgo, and more than 40 years of buying keris in Indonesia. This sort of experience takes a long time, and good teachers to acquire.

It is correct and normal to apply kinatah before doing the warangan.

Personally I would hesitate to refer to any current Madurese keris maker as an "empu". Pande keris perhaps, if he was doing the forge work as well as the cold work, but not empu. True empus are very few and far between.

In any case, even though you are not particularly happy with the result, you have managed to obtain a truly rare and beautiful pamor. Pure art. If you had not ordered it, you might have waited a lifetime to even see this pamor.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 09:01 AM   #8
Anthony G.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
It is correct and normal to apply kinatah before doing the warangan.

Personally I would hesitate to refer to any current Madurese keris maker as an "empu". Pande keris perhaps, if he was doing the forge work as well as the cold work, but not empu. True empus are very few and far between.

In any case, even though you are not particularly happy with the result, you have managed to obtain a truly rare and beautiful pamor. Pure art. If you had not ordered it, you might have waited a lifetime to even see this pamor.



Thanks for sharing about the process on warangan and application of gold process. The maker said that he can re-craved the lion after the application of gold again. I am not sure how he can do it since there is no more metal left for craving. Hopefully the result will be finalise and acceptable.

Your msg. finally let me realised what is true definition of empu. Thank you.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 12:35 PM   #9
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Anthony, I do not know how you envisage the tail, but if it requires more metal, that metal can be added with a little bit of electric weld, and the weld line can be covered with the gold. If this is what the maker intends to do, it will decrease the integrity of the work.

If this keris belonged to me, I would accept the maker's interpretation of the tail, even though it does not agree with your own ideas of what it should be.

When we engage an artist to produce a work of art, we might give him an idea of what we want, but we must accept his judgement and interpretation of the subject. A client does not have the right to dictate artistic endeavour to an artist.

In the past I did a lot of custom knife work, I would accept an order and then I would produce the finished product in line with the way I interpreted the client's wishes, once the job was done, it would be the best I could do, but if the client did not like the work and he asked me to alter it in accordance with his own ideas of what he thought was right, I would return any payment he had made and most politely tell him to go take a running jump. In my book, clients accept the work of the artist, they do not tell the artist how to do the job.

Once we start to fiddle with detail in a finished work we run the very real risk that the quality of the existing work will be impaired.

Get them to do better quality kinatah, certainly, but I most sincerely advise against any alterations to the carving that has already been done --- your disappointment could very easily increase rather than decrease.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 02:28 PM   #10
Anthony G.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Anthony, I do not know how you envisage the tail, but if it requires more metal, that metal can be added with a little bit of electric weld, and the weld line can be covered with the gold. If this is what the maker intends to do, it will decrease the integrity of the work.

If this keris belonged to me, I would accept the maker's interpretation of the tail, even though it does not agree with your own ideas of what it should be.

When we engage an artist to produce a work of art, we might give him an idea of what we want, but we must accept his judgement and interpretation of the subject. A client does not have the right to dictate artistic endeavour to an artist.

In the past I did a lot of custom knife work, I would accept an order and then I would produce the finished product in line with the way I interpreted the client's wishes, once the job was done, it would be the best I could do, but if the client did not like the work and he asked me to alter it in accordance with his own ideas of what he thought was right, I would return any payment he had made and most politely tell him to go take a running jump. In my book, clients accept the work of the artist, they do not tell the artist how to do the job.

Once we start to fiddle with detail in a finished work we run the very real risk that the quality of the existing work will be impaired.

Get them to do better quality kinatah, certainly, but I most sincerely advise against any alterations to the carving that has already been done --- your disappointment could very easily increase rather than decrease.



Hi Alan, I am also concern how the maker going to do adjustment on the leg/tail since the work is completed ( craving).I will do likewise as what you have advice and ask him not to do any adjustment work. Thank you for your sound advice as always.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 08:53 PM   #11
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You are welcome, Anthony.
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