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Old 12th April 2017, 12:28 PM   #1
Arjuna
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Good day everybody!
May I please ask you for your opinion for this Jogja keris?
Thx
Arjuna
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Old 17th April 2017, 07:03 AM   #2
Johan van Zyl
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Arjuna, having only seen my own two kerisses up close and "in the flesh", I am not qualified to comment, but for the sake of contributing, let me voice an opinion for what it's worth. Thanks to the good pictures, especially of the wrongko, I am thinking that this is a decent genuine keris, perhaps not antique but of respectable vintage. The blade seems very interesting to me, and I am putting my bet on the hope that the more experienced collectors will give it a clean bill of health. The wrongko has a good deal of pelet - I have read that it starts life in the wood as a fungal growth, but if well preserved in the "dead" wood, it is an enhancement. Well, there it is. If this comment gets flak, I'll be learning all the way.
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Old 17th April 2017, 09:41 AM   #3
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well the blade is straight and there's a rudimentary dragon, so the closest dhapur should be naga tapa

CMIIW

regards
Donny
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Old 18th April 2017, 10:45 AM   #4
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Thank you.
I was asking because the blade looks rather thin to me and the Naga like a snake not the common dragon. I thought it could be a interesting keris, as someone has invested some effort, the sarong looks not "cheap" and fits well and also the handle is very deeply carved.
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Old 18th April 2017, 07:19 PM   #5
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I was going to comment on the hilt. It is certainly a nicer carving than the standard. Looks like good wood, deep cuts and pierced through.
However, the hilt is no real statement on the quality or value of the blade itself as we all know how interchangeable keris parts can be.
You say that it fits well in the sheath. By that do you mean to imply that it seems the sheath was actually made for the blade or that it is just well adapted? Can we see a photo from above showing the fit.
This does indeed seem to be an older blade, but my suspicion is that the naga may have been added later in its life. It's hard to tell these things for certain and a hands on inspection is always preferable so i couldn't say for sure. It is certainly not your standard design for a Javanese naga though.
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Old 19th April 2017, 05:20 PM   #6
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Maybe just adapted?
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Old 19th April 2017, 11:44 PM   #7
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Arjuna, unlike many people I do not find wrongkos that have been adapted to a keris, rather than made specifically for that keris, to be unacceptable.

The question of acceptability or not is all a matter of balance.

Using the old Javanese standard as a point of reference, it is correct to say that when a keris is given a wrongko, that wrongko should ideally be newly made for that keris. However, in today's world, and for a long time in the past, quality material for a newly made wrongko has simply not been available. Even when material is able to be sourced from outside Jawa, it is now rarely possible to source premium quality material that is suitable for use as a wrongko.

The dreaded CITES restrictions have been applied to some woods, and other woods have become so scarce that good material is very rarely encountered.

The end result of this is that in Jawa itself, the old standard has had to be rethought and Javanese philosophy has found a way in which to rationalise this problem.

In Javanese society divorce and remarriage, or remarriage of a woman after the death of a husband is the norm, it is not something unusual or to which unrealistic restrictions apply.

Think about it:- rich and/or powerful older men frequently marry much younger women who as a rule are quite premium quality women. As for death, so it is with divorce; in Javanese society divorce is a very common occurrence.

It is completely unrealistic to expect a premium quality woman --- or any woman, for that matter --- to remain unattached simply because her husband has died or a divorce has occurred. She will remarry.

Javanese historical sources record many cases of the remarriage of women of noble birth after the death of a husband, or even after theft of the woman by another man.

The Javanese do not waste anything, and the same thing applies to the potential waste of a good woman.

In Javanese philosophy, the wilah or blade of the keris has a male character, and the warangka (wrongko) has a female character. This relationship is frequently used in Javanese philosophical discussion.

As with women, so it is with a wrongko:- it is not wasted.

In the present day and age if somebody wants a wrongko made of premium quality material, he really has no option but to seek that premium quality material in wrongkos that were originally made for other blades. All older blades have had more, sometimes many more, than one wrongko, that means that there are a lot of old wrongkos floating around, not all of these old wrongkos are gems, just as not all women qualify as centrefold models, but then not all keris blades are the keris equivalent of a male stripper.

Going back 30 years and more, I found it impossible to have a new wrongko made from premium quality timoho. Even though I had connections of the most powerful nature, right at the top of the keris culture, in Solo, Jawa Tengah, I could not get a new wrongko made from even good, let alone premium, timoho or trembalu.

In 1984 I paid an absolutely obscene sum of money for a piece of scented sandalwood with feather crotch grain (simbar grain). Today I doubt that it would be possible to obtain such a piece of scented sandalwood, even if I was prepared to wait for an extended period of time, and pay an even more obscene sum of money.

In about 2005 I placed an order with perhaps the best connected keris dealer in Solo for two pieces of good burl teak (jati gembol) large enough for a Surakarta ladrangan terusan wrongko ( a terusan wrongko is one with the gandar made iras, that is, as one with the atasan or gambar). I promised the dealer that I would pay double the going price for this wood, in order to ensure maximum opportunity of obtaining it. This was a special order for a friend. After a three year wait and no wood, I was offered, and I accepted, two pieces of very good jati gembol large enough for a ladrangan, but not large enough for a ladrangan terusan.

The simple reality of the matter is this:- if we want a wrongko that has been made from top quality material we either refit an older one or seek out a premium quality complete keris and pay the appropriate price. This second option is not an option at all for most keris collectors based in the world outside Jawa.

To address the keris under discussion in this thread.

The blade is an older one of rather pedestrian quality, the naga is original to the blade, the gonjo has been replaced.

The wrongko is a relatively nice piece of timoho and is perfectly suited in both quality and condition for the blade; regrettably no effort has been put into the refit, but I can understand this, because the cost of a refit by a skilled m'ranggi would not be justified for the quality of this blade.

The pendok is old, ordinary pasar quality and has some damage; the jejeran is old, passable quality, but will be subject to a risk of cracking so should be treated gently --- do not exert undue pressure if removing, do not bind the tang all the way down when refitting, keep it out of direct sunlight; the mendak is old, pasar quality and appears to be undamaged.

I consider this to be a good representative keris for a beginning collector. Everything goes together nicely and it is a very nice example of the type of keris that many ordinary people living in Jogjakarta and surrounding districts would have as a personal keris.
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Old 20th April 2017, 04:25 AM   #8
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Alan, please don't interpret my enquiry as a sign that i disapprove of keris adapted to old sheaths. As you must know, i hold many such keris in my personal collection and hold those keris in high esteem. Especially when the re-fit is artfully accomplished. I asked Arjuna you show the fit simply to learn more about this keris, if the sheath is original to the blade or, if adapted, how well and by what methods.
I'm pleased to hear you believe the naga to be original to the blade. I have less tolerance for those adaptations than the fitting of sheaths.
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Old 20th April 2017, 04:43 AM   #9
A. G. Maisey
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David, I am not interpreting anything that you have written as disapproval of anything.

When I say "many people", I mean precisely that:- many people, mostly people who have read the books, looked at the pictures but have very little first hand experience of how difficult it can be to acquire a technically perfect keris, especially when some artistic merit and/or age is a part of the equation.

I think you have been collecting for long enough to understand the situation perfectly.
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Old 20th April 2017, 02:15 PM   #10
Arjuna
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Thanks for your expertise!
So it is what I tought, no special keris, no scrap, but a fair and authentic example of an average keris.

Just one remark (maybe due to my lack of English): The comparison with the “reuse of high quality women to not waste them” is a bit of a hard stuff for me …


Regards Karl
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Old 20th April 2017, 09:25 PM   #11
A. G. Maisey
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Please accept my most sincere apologies for offending your delicate sensibilities Karl.

However, when we engage in discussion of the keris, we unavoidably involve ourselves in the discussion of the societal mores of a place, and in reality, a time, that is not really governed by the same or even similar customs and conventions as those to which many of us may be heir.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 03:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjuna
Thanks for your expertise!
So it is what I tought, no special keris, no scrap, but a fair and authentic example of an average keris.

Just one remark (maybe due to my lack of English): The comparison with the “reuse of high quality women to not waste them” is a bit of a hard stuff for me …


Regards Karl


don't think about it too much, Karl

the values we held today is very much different than what they held during their time

Donny
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Old 22nd April 2017, 04:04 AM   #13
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Very true Donny --- regrettably
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Old 24th April 2017, 06:55 AM   #14
Arjuna
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Well, I did not intend to offend or correct you Alan, obviously I didnt get the reference to older times.

In some ways its regrettable that times and manners are changing, in others it isnt ...
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Old 24th April 2017, 08:33 AM   #15
A. G. Maisey
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You did not offend me in the slightest degree Karl.

Yes, I was thinking in terms of times past when I was writing, but upon reflection, I cannot see any contradiction in what I wrote if I think in terms of the segment of society in which I live when I am in Jawa.

Nothing is wasted.

I mean nothing at all.
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