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Old 19th April 2013, 09:52 AM   #1
Jean
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Default Kris Sumatra or Malay?

Dear friends,
This kris belongs to a friend and is supposed to be of Minangkabau origin according to the seller.
However there are several indicators that this may not be the case: the shape of the blade and sampir, the style and decoration of the pendok, and the style of Jawa Demam hilt. The blade was cleaned and stained in Solo and revealed some unexpected pamor. Any opinion about its origin will be welcome.
Best regards
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Old 19th April 2013, 10:26 AM   #2
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Hello Jean,

also when the blade have a Malay influence/touch I think that it is a Minang keris, pendokok is Minang, the handle and sheath as well IMHO. Can show you a pendokok from a Minang keris from my collection which is very similar when you wish.
BTW, very nice and interesting keris.

Kind regards,

Detlef
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Old 19th April 2013, 12:54 PM   #3
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Hello Detlef,
Thank you for your opinion. Regarding the pendokok, I did not comment about it because these pieces are common and from the pictures the cup seems to be made from silver but the bottom ring from plated copper?
Best regards
Jean
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Old 20th April 2013, 03:20 AM   #4
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Hello Jean ,

I have a blade with some similarities but no pamor . I still think the blade could be Malay Peninsula .
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Old 20th April 2013, 06:02 AM   #5
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Henri's keris has an upwards pointing triangular form in the sorsoran.

Does anybody know what this is --- maybe even why its there?
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Old 20th April 2013, 09:49 AM   #6
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Alan, I don't know what it is, yet the examples I have seen with this feature are either Sumatran Straits dressed or are Malayan Sundangs:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14292

I thought about this feature, it could be a little bit easyer way to give sorsoran a shape without cutting out the sogokan. The other influence (via Sundang) could perhaps be the exagerated Janur/even more exagerated Bawang Sebungkul sometimes seen on Moro krisses. Actually even Jeans keris is slightly going in this direction. On Henry's keris the Blumbangan has almost disappeared, yet I still see the hint.

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Old 20th April 2013, 12:42 PM   #7
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This triangular form appears on very early Javanese keris, is fairly widespread in both keris and tombak.

I'm afraid that you're thinking in the wrong direction Gustav.

I have no intention of giving an answer on this question I've raised, my intention in raising it is because I see this as the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how a little thought after a slight hint can answer so many questions.

What you are looking at is an upwards pointing triangle.

Now do a bit of research.
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Old 20th April 2013, 01:16 PM   #8
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Alan, I know you thought about this keris.

Of course there are also Tombak and Indian spearheads and daggers, which display these features.

I have no doubts you are wright about the meaning in early keris, yet I don't know if there is a possibility of an uninterrupted line we could draw from the early keris to these Straits Keris and Sundangs.

In which other keris forms this feature appears?
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Old 20th April 2013, 05:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Henri's keris has an upwards pointing triangular form in the sorsoran.

Does anybody know what this is --- maybe even why its there?


I don't know but am just guessing, does it symbolize Gunung Meru?
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Old 21st April 2013, 12:56 AM   #10
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In Javanese symbolism, and as far as I am aware in all other symbolism associated with any ethnic group, including European and the sub-divisions, a symbol will commence as something that may or may not be well known in the general community. Possibly only truly known to a select group within a community, but recognised by the general community as something special, that symbolises something , but the general community is not quite sure what it symbolises, just that its "special".

The symbol continues in (principally) art and continues to be recognised as a symbol that has a meaning, but that meaning becomes lost or distorted by time, even though the symbol itself is still recognised and continues in use. We can see this in European artistic usage, particularly in Renaissance art:- Renaissance art was principally about religion and the people who understood the language of art at that time in history could read a painting and understand what was being said. The ordinary people were not privy to all of the language used and could not read the painting. Here in 21st century even our expert authorities seem to be confused by some of the Renaissance symbolism, and the same is true of symbolism in all other historic art. People forget. They continue to use the symbols because those symbols belong in a particular place, but they forget the meaning of the symbols, or because of a change in society and cultural foundations, the meaning of the symbol changes.

Time alters perspective.

What one sees and understands now is not what one might have seen or understood at some previous point in time.

In this matter of the triangle I will not answer any questions, I will not say if in my opinion the answers given are right or wrong, because an answer might be partially correct and to say that it is correct would necessarily entail an explanation that would cause the cessation of enquiring thought. After a complete answer has been given I will say if I am in agreement or not.

More than 30 years ago I stumbled onto something that caused me to start to think about the keris in a different way to the way in which most people think about the keris. It took me a very long time to join some of the dots that provide some sort of an answer.

This upwards pointing triangle is one doorway into the same room that those dots have built.

If you can understand the triangle you have the beginning of a true understanding of the keris.

Jean, you have asked me if this triangle represents Mt. Meru.

I'm not going to say yes or no, rather I'm going to ask you to tell me if it does and to substantiate your answer. In other words do the research and the thinking required.

Gustav, I believe I have also answered your question in what I have written above. As to where else the triangle might appear in other forms of keris, well, that is not at all relevant, because these other forms of keris were simply copying what had gone before, it is somewhere between highly unlikely and extremely impossible that the makers and users of these other forms of keris had even the vaguest idea of the original meaning of the triangle in the early keris. This where you need to look:- early keris and the society that gave birth to the keris.
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Old 21st April 2013, 10:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Jean, you have asked me if this triangle represents Mt. Meru.

I'm not going to say yes or no, rather I'm going to ask you to tell me if it does and to substantiate your answer. In other words do the research and the thinking required.



Hello Alan,
For doing the research and the thinking required about the symbolism of this triangle, I feel like a hen having found a knive a we say in France!
With my very weak knowledge of Hinduism and having read that the kris used to symbolize Shiva in Hinduist times, I am proposing the following interpretation which is just coming from my imagination:
The triangle on the sor-soran depicts the Trimurti, Brahma and Vishnu being the 2 corners on the base and Shiva the top corner of the triangle pointing-up to the tip of the blade..... So when you strike with the kris, the victim is actually struck by Shiva himself!
Regards
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Old 21st April 2013, 12:53 PM   #12
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Jean, I feel that guessing the multiple possibilities is not quite the way to go. Even if the result of the guess is correct, which in this case it may be, or it may not be.

You are starting to look in the right direction, and when you look in the right direction in the right way you will find you find that many things exist that you did not previously suspect.

I most sincerely suggest that you stop guessing, stop basing your guesses on what you already know and start to do the research that will give you answers that you can support.

By profession I am an auditor. An auditor is "one who listens". To what does an auditor listen? He listens to the answers to his questions, and the key to any kind of audit is to first ask the right questions. Answers are easy to produce, but the correct questions are not.An answer without a question is really of not much use.

In what you have just said you have identified one quality of the keris with which it is very difficult to argue:- it originated in a society influenced by Hindu ideas.

One of these ideas with which it is also very difficult to argue is that Hindus believe in Siwa (Shiva).

You say you have read that the keris represented Siwa. Perhaps it did. But how did that happen? What I'm trying to get you to do is to join some dots, but you are just plucking dots out of the air. I want you to discover something, not just repeat what somebody else has written and take guesses at why they have written it.

Almost everything you need to tell you what the keris truly is has been published already in one of two languages:- English or Indonesian. But what has been published is scattered dots. You need to join the dots.
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Old 21st April 2013, 02:58 PM   #13
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Hello Alan,
Thank you for your message and I will do my best to find more clues about the meaning of this triangle on the sorsoran but my documentation resources are limited so I am not sure to succeed and invite other members to participate also.
Best regards
Jean
PS: By the way have you any opinion about the probable origin of the first kris shown in this thread?
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Old 21st April 2013, 11:32 PM   #14
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OK Jean, thanks.

You will be able to get all the assistance you need from online sources if you give careful thought to the questions you need to ask. This is the hard part:- constructing the questions that will give the answers you need. Indonesian authors writing in English can be quite useful.

Yes, I would also like to see more people participating. This is the first opportunity we have had in a long time to explore something of genuine value to the keris knowledge bank.

As to origin of the fairly recent keris shown, this sort of thing is not really of much interest to me, especially with keris that are second string items. By "second string" I mean keris that are from societies that inherited the keris from the core societies of Jawa and Bali. Origin ID, material ID, age & etc of these keris is not at all relevant to the areas in which I have an interest.
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Old 22nd April 2013, 03:45 AM   #15
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Default Triangle

After some research here is was I found .

This keris is into my collection since more than 2 years ... and not expecting to learn more ( even if it is not the right approach ) ! Thank you Alan .

The triangle (trikona) is the symbol of Shakti, the feminine energy or aspect of Creation. The triangle pointing down represents the yoni, the feminine sexual organ and the symbol of the supreme source of the Universe, and when the triangle is pointing upwards it signifies intense spiritual aspiration, the sublimation of one's nature into the most subtle planes and the element of fire (Agni Tattva). The fire is always oriented upwards, thus the correlation with the upward triangle - Shiva kona. On the other hand, the downward pointing triangle signifies the element of water which always tends to flown and occupy the lowest possible position. This triangle is known as Shakti kona.

Kind regards

Henri
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Old 22nd April 2013, 06:58 AM   #16
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We are looking at an up pointing triangle, thus we are looking at a symbol of Shiva.

The upward triangle does not represent three deities, it represents one:- Shiva, or as the Javanese have it, Siwa.

The downward triangle represents the female force, but we are not looking at downwards pointing triangle, we are looking at an upwards pointing one.

OK, we've made a start, you've got your hand on the door-knob.

Now turn it and open the door by thinking and making a few connections.

This door actually brings you into the room about halfway along, turn one way and you go back in time, turn the other and you go forward in time.

A lot of things happened before Siwa got into the act.
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Old 13th May 2013, 08:18 AM   #17
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To briefly interrupt the thread of the conversation, I wanted to address the question of the origin of the keris which are a part of the conversation. Both, I feel, come from the area of Sumatra known to the Minangkabau as the "Pasisiah", that is, the intermediary region to the east of the highland core of Minangkabau territory. This is a fascinating hinterland area made up of large parts of what are today Jambi and mainland Riau (traditionally ruled from Siak (Indrapura). The area is a patchwork of Minangkabau, Malay and Bugis origin communities and the keris which come from this area show the complex interplay of influences from all three communities. It is almost impossible to say much of anything specific about the pieces beyond that. Jean's piece is more distinctly Minangkabau in that it mirrors the styles of the heartlands (Agam, Batu Sangkar, Solok etc.) and Henri's is more Malay/Bugis (which by the time these keris were made were largely indistinguishable). A great deal of further research needs to be done on this region before anything distinct can be said about their keris. However, to get a better sense of the immense complexity of the area and of Sumatra in general I'd recommend a couple of interesting reads...one is To Live as Brothers by Barbara Watson Andaya and the other is Leaves of the Same Tree by her husband, Leonard Andaya. Neither says anything about keris but they both give a great sense of the extraordinary interplay of cultures and communities within the region.
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Old 13th May 2013, 06:30 PM   #18
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Thank you very much Dave for this very informative post. If you have other typical specimens of krisses from this region to show, they will be welcome!
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Old 14th May 2013, 05:06 PM   #19
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Hello Jean,

have a look to this link: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=jambi

I believe that this keris is from the same area.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 14th May 2013, 06:33 PM   #20
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Thank you Detlef!
I recently bought this kris on Ebay from a respected forum member and I also wonder about its origin. It is different from the 2 pieces shown above and the kris from Detlef but it may originate from the same area in Central Sumatra (inland Riau or Jambi). Any opinion? I received it with the Bugis pistol grip but replaced it with a large Jawa Deman one, may be a mistake? Sorry for the pictures quality, the blade is not with me at present.
Best regards
Jean
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Old 14th May 2013, 07:43 PM   #21
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Hello Jean,

beautiful keris, have watched this one as well. I like the blade with it's fine pamor. I think that it is very good possible that this was the original hilt since it hasn't the typical Bugis kerdas form, just my humble opinion.

Best,

Detlef
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Old 15th May 2013, 12:31 AM   #22
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Definitely a mistake to replace the hilt Jean - I hope you have kept the original. Jambi I'd say and a very nice example. Congrats!
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Old 15th May 2013, 09:47 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAHenkel
Definitely a mistake to replace the hilt Jean - I hope you have kept the original. Jambi I'd say and a very nice example. Congrats!


Thank you Dave and Detlef, no problem and I will revert to the original hilt!
And I take the opportunity to show you another kris may be from the same origin but the blade has no pamor (it was cleaned and lightly stained, see top picture), ganja iras (just a line drawn at the base), and the warangka is in moon crescent shape. I received it without hilt and fitted this small Jawa deman piece but may be it is not appropriate again, opinions will be welcome.
Best regards
Jean
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Old 15th May 2013, 02:42 PM   #24
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I originally thought these were from Palembang but I've also seen evidence that they may be from Bengkulu. The hilt you have is unfortunately not right for the piece. Afraid I don't have a good photo of my example and its dark out so I can't shoot one now...maybe this weekend if there's time...I attach a photo I stole off of ebay a long time ago. Hopefully nobody recognizes it
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Old 15th May 2013, 04:45 PM   #25
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Thank you Dave and I have a similar piece to yours attributed to South Sumatra and with a "Durga" style hilt also; however the other one was supposed to originate from Jambi because of the wide and strong blade but I agree that Bengkulu is a more likely origin and so I will also replace the hilt!
Sorry for the picture quality, the good one magically disappeared!
Regards
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Old 5th June 2014, 02:09 PM   #26
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As I understand now, the sheaths shown in the last 3 posts could be also typical for Lampung.
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Old 5th June 2014, 05:34 PM   #27
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Thank you Gustav so from South Sumatra for sure!
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