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Old 27th November 2012, 05:55 AM   #31
satsujinken
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
I don't think that tangguh itself is so confusing, once we understand the indicators and the parameters that must be applied, as well as the founding logic of tangguh, it is not at all confusing, but it is very true that people are often confused by some of the opinions offered.

As I have commented previously, more than once, at the present time everybody wants to stick a tangguh on everything, and this is not at all what the system was originally designed to do.


I have seen many-many times, what we called "experts" failed to date already known old-keris

on one occasion, one "expert" from Malang is being shown 5 betok keris and he is told in the beginning of the "game" that from 5 keris presented, 2 are original and 3 are fake ... and he failed to point the original one.

I myself have already asked and shared opinions with many person and still thinks that tangguh is somewhat very difficult to discern, a person must have broad knowledge of keris type and characteristics of keris from many areas, possess enough knowledge on metallurgy, have personally handled many many many blades by himself and have direct experience from known master/s to enable himself to provide "non binding" recommendation on how old the blade is

and even then he can still made mistakes

so I came to a conclusion that to have more than 80% of success rate on determining the tangguh, we need to dedicate our lives on this subject

lastly, can we use radio carbon dating to date a keris ?? I have read several papers that this method can be used to determine age of carbon steel materials down to acceptable level of accuracy
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:00 AM   #32
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additional pics

Keris dhapur sapokal
pamor : jala rante
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:03 AM   #33
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Keris Bethok Sepang
(said to be old, but I doubt it )


Keris luk 7 Sempana Kinjeng
pamor : wulung (no pamor)
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:06 AM   #34
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another interesting pamor

keris luk 9 Sempana
pamor : rambut daradah
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:11 AM   #35
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miscellaneous pics
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:14 AM   #36
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miscellaneous pics again
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:16 AM   #37
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nice pamor
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:20 AM   #38
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more pics ... sorry if some photos are doubled
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:24 AM   #39
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last one I think
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Last edited by satsujinken : 27th November 2012 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:27 AM   #40
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well I believe that's all I managed to capture using my phone-cam

I hope you all enjoyed the show as much as I do

and if there's another exhibition nearby, I will surely be glad to document and shared with all of you

thank you, for the appreciation
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Old 27th November 2012, 07:30 AM   #41
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Satsujinken, you have very accurately identified some of the base problems with tangguh, many, if not most people with some understanding of the system almost invariably align tangguh with age. Only in a few instances can this hold true, by and large tangguh does not necessarily align with age. For the group of people who were responsible for the generation of the tangguh system, the objective of the system was not to determine age, most especially was it not to determine age in the context of Western European ideas of historical time. It is probably not possible to truly understand tangguh unless one is able to adopt a mode of thought that comes somewhere close to the mode of thought of 19th century Javanese aristocrats.

Yes, to learn the basics of tangguh one needs firstly a teacher who is widely acknowledged as skilled in the application of the system, secondly one needs a lot of very, very good examples for that teacher to teach from, and thirdly one needs to have handled a very great number of keris over a very long period of time. Not very many people are able to satisfy all these requirements. In fact almost no collectors are able to satisfy these requirements, the real experts in tangguh will always be found amongst dealers, and only those dealers who have had the benefit of long and open instruction from a recognised authority.

I do agree that a great deal of dedication is required in order to gain some understanding of tangguh, and also more than a little money:- no education comes for free.

One of the problems with tangguh rests in the way that most people try to apply their knowledge in order to form an opinion. It is in most cases a matter of "it looks like Mataram, so it must be Mataram", but if you then ask them to indicate the tells that have allowed them to form the opinion that they are looking at a Mataram keris, what you get back is a muddled mish-mash of impressions, rather than the clear, straight forward analysis that should be possible if the keris truly is Mataram. As I said earlier:- everybody wants to hang a tangguh on everything and that is not at all how the system was designed.

Not a lot of people are brave enough to say that there are insufficient tells to permit a nomination of a tangguh, because that might allow people to think that they do not have a good level of knowledge. In fact, the person with a high knowledge of tangguh will have no problem at all in saying that the keris does not display sufficient tells (or indicators) to permit an opinion to be formed. Tangguh was designed to be applied to high quality blades, not pot boilers from village forges, but how often does the average collector get to see very high quality blades? Very, very seldom.

Tangguh does work, and it works well as a system of classification, but only if it is applied by a person with sufficient knowledge and understanding to be able to substantiate his opinion, and to work within the limits of the system.

Incidentally, you've done a great job with the photos, congratulations, and thank you for making these available to us all.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 27th November 2012 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 27th November 2012, 01:51 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satsujinken
...lastly, can we use radio carbon dating to date a keris ?? I have read several papers that this method can be used to determine age of carbon steel materials down to acceptable level of accuracy

Carbon dating is a destructive process AFAIK. You would therefore need to damage your blade in order to know the date. Not really a prospect i am willing to consider with my own collection.
I must admit that i do tend to prefer antique keris to new simply because antiquities and past cultures is a strong part of what drives my collecting. I do like to know as much as is possible about my keris historical and i am always pleased when i can place pieces into at least vague eras for time frame purposes. But ultimately i am also pleased simply to be able to enjoy the keris for it's appearances as a weapon/artform. Certainly i would never damage a blade just so i could accurately date it.
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Old 27th November 2012, 10:39 PM   #43
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All these new keris examples have provoked a question for me:

In 100 years how will the keris evolve? What forms will we see in the future?
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Old 27th November 2012, 11:59 PM   #44
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The keris has continuously evolved since it first appeared on the scene over 1000 years ago. It is unlikely that it was called a keris back then, but it did possess sufficient of the characteristics of what was later called the keris for it to be recogniseable as one.

From about 1300 through to probably as recently as 1970 or so, the evolution of the keris expressed itself as the periodic appearance of new dhapurs and new pamors, as well as changes to its socio-religious status.

In the early 1980's when the Anak-anak ASKI came on the scene and began to produce new keris dhapurs as works of art, this development came under a lot of fire from the Surakarta traditionalists. The attitude was that if a keris did not conform to an already established dhapur, then it was not a keris. A work of art it might be, even a great work of art, but it could not be a keris.

The reasoning behind this attitude was that the only person who had the authority to approve any new dhapur was the ruler, and in the minds of the Surakarta elite, the only ruler who could possess this authority was the Susuhunan of Surakarta, who was the ruler of the senior branch of the House of Mataram. This attitude can of course generate argument with supporters of other royal houses, so we'll take it as read that there is room for disagreement with this stance.

So those early attempts at keris blade art were to a very great degree regarded as illegitimate.

But in recent years a new wind has blown through the keris world in Indonesia. In line with changes in the political atmosphere, Jack is now as good as his master --- well, almost as good, at least in the eyes of the younger generation, so royal endorsement of dhapurs no longer seems to be necessary.

The hard-core Kejawen traditionalists will undoubtedly continue to adopt the attitude that a dhapur needs to be legitimated by the Ruler before it can be regarded as a proper keris. I must admit, I'm a bit inclined this way myself. There is a lot of ticky-tacky bling out there with new and recent keris creations, it is quite difficult to find good taste and genuine quality, rather than something that just looks great in a photo. I personally much prefer excellence of execution within already established parameters, and my personal guideline is that I will only ever spend money on keris that comply with this.

If we examine Indonesian, and most particularly Javanese social patterns, we find that the society as a whole, and also segments of the society, tend to go through "seasons", where something will become overwhelmingly popular for a while, and then sink into obscurity. I have seen the rise of the keris from virtual obscurity in Jawa during the late 1960's, to become a major art movement at the present time. Based upon what we can observe in the past in this society, I am inclined to believe that right at this moment we are at a tipping point where keris will gradually begin to slide back into obscurity in Indonesia. They will once again become the province of only a few really dedicated and culture conscious people, as they were prior to the explosion of the last few years. From my personal point of view, this is not such a bad thing. When the truth of the keris is finally revealed I believe most culturally aware people will concur with my opinion that there is too much commercialism and too much intensity in the present keris culture.

So, future development?

Probably even more extreme forms, more and more artistic enhancement, and eventually a changing of the seasons.
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Old 28th November 2012, 02:33 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Carbon dating is a destructive process AFAIK. You would therefore need to damage your blade in order to know the date. Not really a prospect i am willing to consider with my own collection.
I must admit that i do tend to prefer antique keris to new simply because antiquities and past cultures is a strong part of what drives my collecting. I do like to know as much as is possible about my keris historical and i am always pleased when i can place pieces into at least vague eras for time frame purposes. But ultimately i am also pleased simply to be able to enjoy the keris for it's appearances as a weapon/artform. Certainly i would never damage a blade just so i could accurately date it.


I read a bit about radio carbon dating and yes, it is a destructive in terms of small parts must be chiseled out from the blade and destroyed in the process of dating

however, the amount of materials used in this process is now less than 1 g per sample, and even small flake can be used

I am thinking about chiseling small bit of the pesi ...
but once more, the obstacle on this method is in its cost ... the cost of doing the test is around 250 - 750 USD per sample ...

perhaps some of the oldest and most valuable blade can be tested and verified on its age

on other side, this method does have its flaws ... so basically it is back to the owner of the blade itself

regarding my opinion, I would rather spend USD 250 on a nice keris or nice dinner than throw it away to check the age of just one blade
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Old 28th November 2012, 02:35 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Satsujinken, you have very accurately identified some of the base problems with tangguh, many, if not most people with some understanding of the system almost invariably align tangguh with age. Only in a few instances can this hold true, by and large tangguh does not necessarily align with age. For the group of people who were responsible for the generation of the tangguh system, the objective of the system was not to determine age, most especially was it not to determine age in the context of Western European ideas of historical time. It is probably not possible to truly understand tangguh unless one is able to adopt a mode of thought that comes somewhere close to the mode of thought of 19th century Javanese aristocrats.

Yes, to learn the basics of tangguh one needs firstly a teacher who is widely acknowledged as skilled in the application of the system, secondly one needs a lot of very, very good examples for that teacher to teach from, and thirdly one needs to have handled a very great number of keris over a very long period of time. Not very many people are able to satisfy all these requirements. In fact almost no collectors are able to satisfy these requirements, the real experts in tangguh will always be found amongst dealers, and only those dealers who have had the benefit of long and open instruction from a recognised authority.

I do agree that a great deal of dedication is required in order to gain some understanding of tangguh, and also more than a little money:- no education comes for free.

One of the problems with tangguh rests in the way that most people try to apply their knowledge in order to form an opinion. It is in most cases a matter of "it looks like Mataram, so it must be Mataram", but if you then ask them to indicate the tells that have allowed them to form the opinion that they are looking at a Mataram keris, what you get back is a muddled mish-mash of impressions, rather than the clear, straight forward analysis that should be possible if the keris truly is Mataram. As I said earlier:- everybody wants to hang a tangguh on everything and that is not at all how the system was designed.

Not a lot of people are brave enough to say that there are insufficient tells to permit a nomination of a tangguh, because that might allow people to think that they do not have a good level of knowledge. In fact, the person with a high knowledge of tangguh will have no problem at all in saying that the keris does not display sufficient tells (or indicators) to permit an opinion to be formed. Tangguh was designed to be applied to high quality blades, not pot boilers from village forges, but how often does the average collector get to see very high quality blades? Very, very seldom.

Tangguh does work, and it works well as a system of classification, but only if it is applied by a person with sufficient knowledge and understanding to be able to substantiate his opinion, and to work within the limits of the system.

Incidentally, you've done a great job with the photos, congratulations, and thank you for making these available to us all.


thank you

and like I said before, considering expert in your calibre is getting rarer, Indonesian government should provide you with Living National Treasure title ... and perhaps opening an institute on subject of tosan aji
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Old 28th November 2012, 04:07 AM   #47
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My understanding of carbon dating is very limited, but I think it can only be used on organic substances, in addition to this, the time span involved with the keris is probably too small for carbon dating to be useful, then there are the technical problems involving contamination and the assumptions involving rate of decay. I doubt that carbon dating would be of any use for keris blades, and even if it were, I doubt that it would be relevant. To know the age of any particular keris might satisfy curiosity but that's about all.
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Old 28th November 2012, 04:15 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
My understanding of carbon dating is very limited, but I think it can only be used on organic substances, in addition to this, the time span involved with the keris is probably too small for carbon dating to be useful, then there are the technical problems involving contamination and the assumptions involving rate of decay. I doubt that carbon dating would be of any use for keris blades, and even if it were, I doubt that it would be relevant. To know the age of any particular keris might satisfy curiosity but that's about all.



regarding radio carbon dating, I got most of my information from here :

http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JO.../Cook-0305.html

it can be relevant, but not without flaws ...

but I am agree with you, that it will only satisfy curiosity and nothing else
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Old 28th November 2012, 07:40 AM   #49
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Thanks for that Satsu.

As I said, I know very little about this, and after doing a bit of googleizing, I understand even less.

I read some sites , that appear to be academically based and they tell me that radio carbon dating applies to organic substances, but then I read others that refer to radio carbon dating of iron.

I accept that iron can be carbon dated. I don't think I need to know more than that, this is not my area of interest.
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Old 28th November 2012, 10:07 AM   #50
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Thank you Satsu for the very interesting article about C14 dating of iron artefacts and I will immediately submit my 100,000$ Singosari blades to the age test

Last edited by Jean : 28th November 2012 at 04:38 PM.
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