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Old 6th June 2017, 04:32 PM   #1
alexish
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Default Viking Norse Keris for comment

I just commissioned new sarung for a Javanese keris blade, which has carved Viking Norse Motifs.

All comments are welcome.
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Old 6th June 2017, 10:38 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum Alexish.
I can't say that i see the reasoning behind this particular kind of cross-culturalism, but it does seem to be technically and artistically well executed.
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Old 7th June 2017, 01:29 AM   #3
A. G. Maisey
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Sumenep.

I feel that perhaps we will find that the keris itself is a rather recent one in an East Javanese style.
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Old 7th June 2017, 03:27 AM   #4
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Default Viking Norse Keris - More pictures and inspiration

I attach more pictures of my Viking Norse Keris with blade, including pictures of the original Viking Norse designs that inspired me.
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Old 7th June 2017, 03:50 AM   #5
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Perhaps you can share with us your thinking here Alex. I thought at first perhaps you were of Norse descent (which may still be true) however your location seems to be in Hong Kong. We all collect keris for various reasons. Mine, at least in part, is a deep interest the cultures of Indonesia and a desire to study and preserve this cultures so dressing a blade like this is pretty antithetical to my own thinking on the subject. Do you have a particular fascination with Viking culture or see particular similarities between these cultures?
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Old 7th June 2017, 03:53 AM   #6
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Default Viking Norse Keris - More pictures and inspiration

Here are additional pictures of the Viking Norse Keris, including pictures of the Oseberg Viking ship that inspired the Warangka.
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Old 7th June 2017, 04:00 AM   #7
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Default Inspiration for Viking Norse Keris

I was inspired to commission a keris sarung based on Viking Norse design, because I see such strong parallels between the Vikings and the sea-faring cultures of the Malay Archipelago such as the Bugis and the Moros, which all have piracy traditions. Additionally, Bugis adventurers founded various new kingdoms in other parts of the Malay World such as Selangor in Malaysia. This is similiar to Viking adventurers who founded the duchy of Normandy, that led to the Norman conquest of England.
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Old 7th June 2017, 06:07 PM   #8
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Default Dhapur and locality of the blade?

Can someone comment on the Dhapur and locality of the blade. I know for sure that the blade is Javanese, because I bought it from a dealer in Java. But which part of Java is it likely from - Solo, Yogya, Cirebon? Also, what is the name of the Dhapur, and what mystical properties is the Dhapur associated with?
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Old 7th June 2017, 06:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexish
Can someone comment on the Dhapur and locality of the blade. I know for sure that the blade is Javanese, because I bought it from a dealer in Java. But which part of Java is it likely from - Solo, Yogya, Cirebon? Also, what is the name of the Dhapur, and what mystical properties is the Dhapur associated with?

Well Alexish, this is a contemporary creation and frankly it includes some features i have not encountered on keris before. Dhapur is a designation of specific pakem that applies to specific kratons (palaces) from various kingdoms such as you have mentioned so given the artistic license of this particular piece i am not sure exactly what dhapur name would apply.
Buying a keris in Jawa is no guarantee that the blade was actually made in Jawa, though it is possible. There are also centers of modern keris production of these forms in parts of Madura as well that could possibly produce a blade like this. Someone here may be better at recognizing these modern works stylistically and have a more definite answer for you as to what area this one comes.
Mystical properties are more usually connected to pamor pattern than with dhapur, though that can figure in as well. From the photos you display your keris seems to be without pamor (kelengan) so i can't offer much information there. However, i will say that modern keris from these keris making centers in Jawa and Madura tend more towards the artistic presentation of keris, not the mystical/magicak form. The vast majority of modern keris makers are not empus who still know the secret rites and rituals necessary to make mystically empowered blades. Perhaps others will have a different opinion.
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Old 7th June 2017, 08:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexish
... I see such strong parallels between the Vikings and the sea-faring cultures of the Malay Archipelago such as the Bugis and the Moros, which all have piracy traditions.
Yes, I can see the parallels. It brought back fond memories of this thread concerning artifacts from a sea captain involved in a pirate attack in the Sulu archipelago in the late nineteenth century. Just like the Vikings, both the Moros and their Sulu neighbors employed pattern-welded spears and swords (I'll show a nice pattern-welded kris later when I can get the photos done). Also, I do like your Viking themed keris.
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Old 7th June 2017, 09:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
Yes, I can see the parallels. It brought back fond memories of this thread concerning artifacts from a sea captain involved in a pirate attack in the Sulu archipelago in the late nineteenth century. Just like the Vikings, both the Moros and their Sulu neighbors employed pattern-welded spears and swords (I'll show a nice pattern-welded kris later when I can get the photos done). Also, I do like your Viking themed keris.

Yes Lee, that was a very cool thread. Of course, our focus here is Indonesian keris, not it's Moro cousin.
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Old 8th June 2017, 01:31 AM   #12
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I agree with David's comments, and will add a little more.

This keris blade is post 1980 production, overall style is East Javanese, workmanship is the Sumenep Madura school, but it may have been made somewhere else in East Jawa, technically, Madura is a part of East Jawa.

The wrongko and hilt are workmanship attributable to the Sumenep school, but probably obtained through Pasar Turi in Surabaya.

This is a completely modern keris that is absolutely in line with the approach that treats the keris as a vehicle for craft/art expression. Yes, the interpretation of the carving motifs of the dress could be taken as Scandinavian, but exactly similar forms can be found in markets in Indonesia. There is nothing traditional about this keris either as a societal indicator or in a talismanic sense.
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Old 8th June 2017, 03:03 AM   #13
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Default Native Madurese designs

Thanks David and Alan for your comments. I agree that this keris can easily pass off as a native Indonesian, because there are similiar native Madurese motifs. I attach some pictures as examples. I have a question. Does anyone know about horse-head keris handles from Madura. Does this have any historical, cultural or talismanic significance? Or is it a purely modern artistic expression?
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Old 8th June 2017, 03:09 AM   #14
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Default Sorry, wrong picture attached.

Sorry, wrong picture attached. This should be the correct picture, instead of the blue arrow.
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Old 8th June 2017, 04:17 AM   #15
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Default Alexish

Could you please repost your comment that is in moderation with the correct picture please.
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Old 8th June 2017, 06:43 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Yes, the interpretation of the carving motifs of the dress could be taken as Scandinavian, but exactly similar forms can be found in markets in Indonesia.

Alan, i believe you may have missed where Alexish stated that the design of this dress was specifically commissioned by him using viking motifs which he provided to the carver. So i'm not convinced we would encounter exactly similar forms in the common Indonesian market. I am still at odds with the reasons for this cultural mixed, but to each their own i suppose. Frankly, beyond the common use of pattern welding and the common necessity for travel by sea i don't think that one would really find much commonality between Norse culture and that of any of the Indonesian kingdoms.
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Old 8th June 2017, 07:22 AM   #17
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Alexish, if i am not mistaken the image you have posted of the horse head hilt is mine. This is a relatively recent hilt that was probably carved only about 25 years ago. Madurese carvings are known for incorporating numerous European motifs introduced by the Dutch during centuries of colonialism. But the winged horse, called Si Mega, is the regional emblem of Sumenep and has been a part of their iconography for some time and probably is not attitude to the close relationship between the Madurese and the Dutch. Si Mega is mentioned in the legend of Joko Tolè. While journeying to Majapahit to assist his stepfather named Empu Kelleng, Joko Tolè met with his uncle, Adirasa, who gave him the flying horse Si Mega and a whip, both of which had been entrusted to him by Adipoday.
The horse in this hilt is a stylized version of Si Mega.
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Old 8th June 2017, 08:02 AM   #18
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Alexis, the wrongko in post 13 is also recent, it probably post dates 1980, it certainly does not pre-date WWII.

There were some beautiful, and very inventive wrongkos produced in Madura, but I have never seen a ladrangan with this sort of spiral ornamentation that went back beyond the late 1970's.I've certainly never seen one with provenance that placed it any earlier than last quarter 20th century.
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Old 8th June 2017, 08:14 AM   #19
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David, re your post #16.

Nope, I got everything that Alexis wrote, and I understand what he is saying.

What I wrote was this:-

"-- but exactly similar forms can be found in markets in Indonesia. ---"

"similar" does not mean "the same"

The style, execution, material everything except minor motif variation is the same as can be found in multitudes of these ornamental dress forms. They proliferate in souvenir shops and are very well known, and considering the detail in the carving not at all expensive.

Everybody knows the famous (notorious?) Balinese "tourist" keris executed in ebony or fake ebony and often bearing very refined, skilfully executed carving. Well, when these died out in Bali, their place was taken by the type of thing that Alexis is showing us.

I'm not talking motif detail, I'm talking about the complete object.
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Old 8th June 2017, 02:48 PM   #20
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Thanks for clearing up my confusion Alan. I was thrown by your phrase "exactly similar" and thought you were referring to the motifs as well as the over all dress forms.
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Old 9th June 2017, 01:00 AM   #21
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Understood.

Maybe I should not have used "exactly", because even though exactly similar, the motif difference does not make them exactly the same. I'll try to be a bit more careful in future.
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Old 19th April 2018, 11:21 AM   #22
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Default New keris in Madura style with Norse motifs

Dear collectors,

my sincerest apologies for re-opening this new thread on an old subject. For the sake of completeness, I just feel compelled to post pictures of my newly commissioned piece. Of course, it will be criticized for being a modern fantasy piece along the lines of the fantasy barbarian swords of the Kult of Athena. But, the point I want to make is how easily medieval Norse motifs can easily be mistaken as local Indonesian to the untrained eye, even by native Indonesians themselves. I have actually shown pictures of this new 'Norse' sarung to some local Indonesian collectors, and many of them seem to think of it as a variant of Madurese-style sarung. I think because the Norse and various Indonesian cultures are sea-faring, it is thus not surprising that there are many similarities in carved motifs of these cultures on opposite ends of the world.

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Old 19th April 2018, 11:30 AM   #23
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Default The hilt inspired by History channel's Dragonhead

There is a popular TV series on History Channel 'Vikings'. Although not 100% historically accurate, I believe that the producers have at least made some attempt to keep a degree of authenticity to the costumes and prop, for example, the absence of horned helmets, as in popular culture. I therefore believe that the dragonhead prop of the protangonist's (Ragnar Lothbrok) Viking ship is actually inspired by genuine Norse motifs, even though it was never based on an actual archeological artifact. Hence, I utilized this as a model for my hilt, rather than genuine archeological artifacts such as the Oseberg ship dragonhead (which shape incidentally was not suited for a keris hilt).
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Old 19th April 2018, 11:36 AM   #24
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Default The wrongko and pendok

For the pendok, I utilized motifs from the Oseberg ship, which is a genuine archeological artifact. For the carved motif of the wrongko, I utilized a Dragon motif found on a Scandinavian weather vane.
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Old 19th April 2018, 11:42 AM   #25
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Default Blade

The blade is however based on a Kemardikan pakem.
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Old 19th April 2018, 12:35 PM   #26
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Hello Alexis,

Quote:
The blade is however based on a Kemardikan pakem.

AFAIK there have been no additions to the pakem during the kemardikan period yet (neither by the Solo kraton nor Yogya). Thus, it would be rather out-of-pakem as most modern keris art. Not a bad thing per se, just saying...

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Old 19th April 2018, 02:27 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexish
Dear collectors,

my sincerest apologies for re-opening this new thread on an old subject. For the sake of completeness, I just feel compelled to post pictures of my newly commissioned piece. Of course, it will be criticized for being a modern fantasy piece along the lines of the fantasy barbarian swords of the Kult of Athena. But, the point I want to make is how easily medieval Norse motifs can easily be mistaken as local Indonesian to the untrained eye, even by native Indonesians themselves. I have actually shown pictures of this new 'Norse' sarung to some local Indonesian collectors, and many of them seem to think of it as a variant of Madurese-style sarung. I think because the Norse and various Indonesian cultures are sea-faring, it is thus not surprising that there are many similarities in carved motifs of these cultures on opposite ends of the world.

<SIGH> I'm sorry you have felt so "compelled" Alexis. I don't know how many times and how many ways i need to tell you that this is not what we do here. You will not be told again.
I am also not surprised that you have met Indonesians who believe this is a variant Madurese style. There are Americans (far too many in fact) that also know little of their past culture and this country is less than 250 years old. Despite what we as keris collectors know on the subject, keris is no longer in the forefront of the Indonesian mindset. Ignorant and uninformed people live in all cultures. That you have confused a few Indonesians with this is not at all surprising, but it validates nothing. But i believe it is our responsibility to keep keris culture alive and increase the wealth and knowledge of this wonderful cultural icon, not to confuse the issue and pollute the field with nonsensical cultural appropriations.
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