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Old 14th February 2018, 10:09 PM   #1
Athanase
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Default Minangkabau Keris??

Hello everyone, this is my new addition to my collection.
It is clearly a keris from Sumatra, but I am not sure of its origin.
The blade and the scabbard remind me of the Minangkabau keris but the handle is closer to the Gayo style.
The length of the blade is 29.5cm long and is very thick.
The handle is made of marine ivory, the pendokok is made of suassa with low-grade gold and garnets?.
The scabbard is made of wood covered with a silver repoussÚ in its upper part, and a weave between strips of silver and cords of buffalo? hair in the lower part.
The buntut seems to be too sutra with a band of gold filigree.

Sorry for the quality of the photos (it's dark when I come back from work), I'll try to do better.
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Last edited by Athanase : 15th February 2018 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 15th February 2018, 10:21 AM   #2
kai
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Hello SÚverin,

Congrats, that's another nice one!


Quote:
It is clearly a keris from Sumatra, but I am not sure of its origin.
The blade and the scabbard remind me of the Minangkabau keris but the handle is closer to the Gayo style.

I believe it is fair to call it a keris Gayo. The hilt and selut appear to be genuine Gayo style. Thus, the keris apparently was worn in Gayo; the Gayo are also known for their eclectic use of blades and fittings from neighbouring regions.


Quote:
The length of the blade is 29.5cm long and is very thick.

It looks like a legitimate Bangkinang blade to me (of course, these were widely traded), possibly with a replaced gonjo? Please post pics after thorough cleaning, too.


Quote:
The scabbard is made of wood covered with a silver repoussÚ in its upper part, and a weave between strips of silver and cords of buffalo? hair in the lower part.

Seems like good, old craftsmanship to me. It may have been traded together with the blade (or even be a later match). It's not that rare for Sumatran keris to have a bit of a loose fit, so we'll probably never know for sure...


Quote:
The buntut seems to be too sutra with a band of gold filigree.

I always love what auto correction does to specialized terminology...

The buntut looks like a good fit. I wonder whether the band might be a repair? I've seen this motif from before WW2, I believe. I'd love to hear of any antique examples with reasonable provenance though!


Quote:
The handle is made of marine ivory, the pendokok is made of suassa with low-grade gold and garnets?

Rubies/spinels would also be possible - I'm also seeing lots of red glass utilized in Sumatran keris. Apparently, it didn't made much of a difference culturally and it was only the look which really counted...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 15th February 2018, 01:06 PM   #3
Athanase
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For me, the gold band is original. The work seems typically Minang because it is identical to what is observed on Mingangkabau bracelets.
But it seems indeed that there has been a repair of the Buntut, the black spot that we see on one of the two faces seems to be a weld repair.

For the stone, for me it lacks a touch of pink in the color for it to be ruby.
The auction house said garnet, but it can also be spinel or glass because I do not know if they really check the stone.
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Old 19th February 2018, 08:18 PM   #4
kai
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Hello SÚverin,

Quote:
For me, the gold band is original. The work seems typically Minang because it is identical to what is observed on Mingangkabau bracelets.
But it seems indeed that there has been a repair of the Buntut, the black spot that we see on one of the two faces seems to be a weld repair.

The buntut seems to be in line regarding age (of course more prone to damage - it may have had a more ovoid shape originally). I was wondering whether the band might be part of the repair work (it might be old or recycled) - its borders seem too roughly worked for a quality piece like this though IMHO.

I wasn't precise with my last comment: The motif and it's variants do seem to be genuine Minang; as you mention, they are found on antique Minang jewellery and will have been distributed fairly widely throughout the Minang expat communities. However, these are crafted from strong bands rather than thin wire - what I'm not aware though is the latter being utilized on fittings of early keris Minang. This may be a later development or indicating different levels of skill though - let me look for more examples...


Quote:
For the stone, for me it lacks a touch of pink in the color for it to be ruby.
The auction house said garnet, but it can also be spinel or glass because I do not know if they really check the stone.

I don't know of any auction house which does critically test gems on all antique pieces (they don't guarantee their descriptions, anyway). If it does really matter for a high-end sale, auction houses tend to supply certificates from vetted external experts. In cases like this keris, it probably is a more or less educated guess or even merely based on the consignor's opinion.

As already mentioned, I don't think it doesn't matter much, anyway!

Regards,
Kai
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