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Old 3rd August 2011, 06:30 PM   #1
marklefont
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Default What do the holes mean??

Does anybody know what the significance of the holes drilled through the blade on Kudi mean ? They always appear on the back of the front curve of the blade and are usually empty, although in some instances are filled with gold. They are almost always three in number. Do these have names and some sort of cultural significance ? Is it tied to the fact that many Kudi are Sajen weapons ? Inquiring minds want to know ! THANKS ! Mark LeFont. marklefont@att.net
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Old 4th August 2011, 05:17 PM   #2
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Hi Mark

A picture would be helpful.
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Old 4th August 2011, 07:44 PM   #3
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I know absolutely nothing about kudi, but thought since these fields of weapons are the primary focus here it would be fun to learn something. Basically just using our search feature I read some notes provided by Krockew (2 Dec 2007 and illustration attached) where he explains that the three holes are typically associated with the older Hindu examples. The later examples with five holes are believed to represent the Five Pillars of Islam.

It seems that pierced holes in blades are well known in a number of different cases in various cultural spheres and regions, but no definitive explanation has as yet been proven that I am aware of. Naturally, I always hope someone might step forward with such information, but......

I will simply add some information on strategically placed holes in blades for entertainment. The parang ihlang (mandau) of Borneo blades typically have pierced holes along the back of the blade, and occasionally a number of these are filled with copper. The obvious but unproven (as far as I know) suggestion that these are 'tally' records in headhunting would clearly have nothing to do with these kudi blades, just an interesting note.

In India many blades on so called temple swords are lined with holes in linear fashion along back of blade presumably for auspicious festoons in the ceremonial or ritual use, and similarly placed holes are found in many Chinese swords.

Since these holes in the kudi blades seem to align with blade profile perhaps they are simply openwork to enhance the dimensional appearance of the blade itself? and while the holes themselves have no practical use, the numeric symbolism of the features have perhaps such meaning. The number three is of course a key number in Hindu theology as well as Buddhist in the Trimurti) . Unrelated it is paralleled in the Christian trinity.

As always, the more pragmatic will suggest simple aesthetics.

Hopefully the thread will move beyond this post and the experts will offer more plausible suggestions or evidence.
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Old 4th August 2011, 10:42 PM   #4
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Default Origin of the Kudi / Kujang

Mark,

Years ago I purchased a contemporary kujang / kudi and corresponded with the enthnographer/dealer in Solo, Java who sold it to me. Here is what she had to say about it:

"There is a unique weapon that originates in Western Java, in the Pasundan (Sundanese) region. This weapon is called "kujang," (pron. "koo-jaang.") Lacking the proper English equivalent for this we have used the term, "sickle," even though its form somewhat deviates from the true shape of a sickle. Neither does it resemble the "scimitar" which curves convexly. In Indonesian a sickle is actually called "chelurit."

The Javanese living in the eastern half of the Java island refers to the kujang as "kudi." To those who are uninformed, the indigenous people of the island of Java are not all "Javanese." The western part of the island is populated by a major ethnic group called "Sundanese." The kujang is the sole monument of the city of Bogor here in Indonesia.

The kujang is filled with mysteries. It is said that it carries within its form a magical force with a mystical purpose. Embodied within its original figure lied the philosophy of the ancient Sundanese with its Hindu heritage. It is evident from the foregoing that this mystic blade was created to be more of a talisman, a symbolical objet d'art, rather than a weapon. This is especially so regarded in contemporary times.


The original creation of the kujang was actually inspired by a utensil used in farming. This utensil was widely used in the 4th to 7th centuries AD. The newly created kujang differed slightly from the tilling implements fashioned by the famed blacksmiths, Mpu Windusarpo, Mpu Ramayadi, and Mpu Mercukundo, as can be seen in the local museums. It was only in the 9th to 12th century that the form of the kujang took the shape that we are so familiar with today. In the year 1170 there was a change in the kujang. Its value as an amulet or talisman was gradually being recognized by the rulers and nobilities of the Pajajaran Makukuhan kingdom, especially during the reign of Prabu Kudo Lalean. During one of his spiritual retreats, Kudo Lalean was instructed through a psychic vision to re-design the form of the kujang to conform to the shape of the island of "Djawa Dwipa," as Java was called in those days. Immediately the sovereign king commissioned the royal blacksmith, Mpu Windu Supo, to fashion the blade seen in his vision. It was to become a weapon embodying mystical qualities and a spiritual philosophy; a magical object, unique in its design, one that future generations would always associate with the Pajajaran Makukuhan kingdom.

After a period of meditation, Mpu Windu Supo confirmed the vision of Kudo Lalean and commenced with the fashioning of a prototype of the Kujang. It was to have two prominent characteristics: the shape of the island of Java and three holes or round notches somewhere in the blade.

Constructing the kujang blade into the shape of Java was interpreted to mean the ideal of unification of all the petty kingdoms of Java into a single empire, headed by the Makukuhan king. The three holes or round notches was to represent the Trimurti, or the three aspects of the godhead of the Hindu religion, of which Kudo Lalean was a devoted votary. The three aspects or gods referred to are Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The Hindu trinity was also represented by the three major kingdoms of that era, respectively, the kingdom of Pengging Wiraradya, located in the east of Java; the kingdom of Kambang Putih, located north-east of the island; and the kingdom of Pajajaran Makukuhan, located in the west.

The shape of the kunjang evolved further in later generations. Different models appeared. When the influence of Islam grew upon the masses, the kujang was re-shaped to resemble the Arabic letter "Syin." This was largely the stratagem of the sovereign of the Pasundan region, Prabu Kian Santang, who was anxious to convert the populace to Islam.

Knowing that the kujang embodied the Hindu philosophy and religion of the existing culture, the muslim rulers, imams and teachers, anxious to propagate Islam and disseminate its doctrines, re-modeled the kujang to represent the basis of their religion. Syin is the first letter of the syahadat verse of which one testifies to the witnessing of the sole God and the Prophet Muhammad (blessed in his name) as the messenger. By reciting the syahadat verse, one is automatically converted to Islam. The modification of the kujang broadened the area of the blade which geographically corresponds to the Pasundan or western region of Java to conform to the shape of the letter Syin. The newly-designed kujang was supposed to remind the possessor of the object of his allegiance to Islam and to the obedience of its teachings. Five holes or round notches in the kujang replaced the three of the Trimurti. They represented the five pillars of Islam.

With the influence of the Islamic religion, some kujang models portray the inter-blending of the two basic styles as designed by Prabu Kudo Lalean and Prabu Kian Santang.

Nowadays, the kujang is often decorated in homes as it is believed to bring about luck, protection, honor, etc. They are displayed in pairs on walls with the inner edge facing each other. There is a taboo, however--no one is to be photographed standing in-between them as this would somehow cause the death of that person within a year. I have been assured by a senior practitioner of Kejawen the truth of this, as he had witnessed this himself. Why this occurs is not known for certain, we might shrug it off as superstition, coincidence or synchronicity but behind every phenomenon cosmic laws and intelligences are at work; we just need to discover what those laws are and the mind-set of those metaphysical intelligences directing those laws to know the reason for the anomaly.

From the occult side, like the keris, another weapon used by the indo-malayan natives, the kujang was often consecrated with magical power and familiar spirits attached for specific purposes, such as the protection against psychic attack. Because of the inherent power of the kujang in conjunction with the presence of its spirit guardians, the well-informed natives revere them as sacred objects."
- Melia Widyawati
[Emphasis added]

Here are three kujangs from my collection, all contemporary.

Picture 1 is a Kujang Bikang 5 holes
The blade measures 7 1/2" and 1/4" thick hand-forged spring steel. It is fully etched or engraved on both sides. It also has a 5" sharpened false-edge, fileworks; sharpened and hardened. The handle is 2 colors hardwood ("Sonokeling") with mild steel ring. The sheath is stained hardwood, carved dragon in light varnish. The overall length is 13 1/4".

Pictures 2 and 3 is a Kujang with pamor Sersan 3 holes
-
Style / Dapur: Kujang
- Surface Pattern: Sersan
- Sheath and handle made from sonokeling wood
- Length of the blade is app. 25 cm
- Total length is app. 40 cm

Picture 4 is a Kujang with pamor naga rangsang no holes!
- Style / Dapur: Kujang
- Surface Pattern: Naga Rangsang
- Sheath and handle made from sonokeling wood
- Length of the blade is app. 25 cm
- Total length is app. 42 cm

Best Regards,

Dave A.

Last edited by DaveA : 4th August 2011 at 11:03 PM. Reason: added pictures -- oops
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Old 4th August 2011, 10:57 PM   #5
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Default Khyber with holes

Adding to Jim's list of knives with holes:

One of the three Khybers in my collection has a total of four holes. Two go all the way through and two only half-way. The story associated with these is also "score keeping".

Insided horn grips, 20 " slashing Tee backed butchers blade. Iron foregrips and grooved horn grips. General patina of age to blade with some monor localised areas of light pitting. One ear of the horn grips has been damaged and the tip is missing, minor damage to the other side, at the tip. Otherwise a decent Khyber, solid construction and still tight, probably 1850-1880. Almost identical to the one displayed in the Gurkha museum in Winchester.
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Old 4th August 2011, 11:07 PM   #6
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Default 2nd try, with pictures: Kujang / Kudi with holes

Here are three kujangs from my collection, all contemporary.

Picture 1 is a Kujang Bikang 5 holes
The blade measures 7 1/2" and 1/4" thick hand-forged spring steel. It is fully etched or engraved on both sides. It also has a 5" sharpened false-edge, fileworks; sharpened and hardened. The handle is 2 colors hardwood ("Sonokeling") with mild steel ring. The sheath is stained hardwood, carved dragon in light varnish. The overall length is 13 1/4".

Pictures 2 and 3 is a Kujang with pamor Sersan 3 holes
-
Style / Dapur: Kujang
- Surface Pattern: Sersan
- Sheath and handle made from sonokeling wood
- Length of the blade is app. 25 cm
- Total length is app. 40 cm

Picture 4 is a Kujang with pamor naga rangsang no holes!
- Style / Dapur: Kujang
- Surface Pattern: Naga Rangsang
- Sheath and handle made from sonokeling wood
- Length of the blade is app. 25 cm
- Total length is app. 42 cm
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Old 5th August 2011, 05:15 AM   #7
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Hello,

Here under, a translation of the French text on the Kijang-Kudi in my study on Keris ( my site Blade http://blade.japet.com/KRISS/K-Arme...s/Kudi/Kudi.htm). It does not claim that's the truth.


Originally from West Java (Pasundan - Sundan), the Kujang (Kudi) was first an agricultural widespread.

- By the XII°, it takes value as talisman with a blade having two characteristics:


- the shape of the island of "Djawa Dwipa" (the current Java) representing the ideal of unification of small kingdoms into one empire.
- 3 holes in the blade representing the Trimurti or three main aspects of Hindu religion: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (also representing the three main kingdoms of Java).

- When the Muslim influence grew, the base of Kujang (corresponding to the country geographically Sundan) was modified to take the form of the Arabic letter "Syin" (first letter of the verse "Syahadat" by which the devotee expresses belonging to Islam). Similarly, five holes representing the five pillars of Islam has replaced on the blade the 3 holes of the Trimurti.


Usually, they are talismans worn by Pawang (magicians) and Brahman. The variety of derivative forms is important. It can be mounted either on a short handle or shaft of a spear.

Hope that help.

Louis-Pierre
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Old 5th August 2011, 05:38 AM   #8
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Absolutely fantastic information Dave and Louis-Pierre!!! Thank you so much.
Truly a fascinating weapon with this history and explanation of thier symbolism.

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 5th August 2011, 05:53 AM   #9
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Hi Jim

Have a glance please to the Takouba team as we had some talks (Iain and I)

Have a nice day.
LP
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Old 5th August 2011, 09:27 AM   #10
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Thought you might be interested in an older example (dress is contemporary)...four holes...now i wonder what THAT means...
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Old 5th August 2011, 11:09 AM   #11
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Perhaps David we should consider this to be 3 holes + 1 hole?

Oh goodness me I love this esoteric hypothesising.

Interestingly Harsrinuksmo, who was not at all shy about floating the odd hypothesis here and there did not say much at all in this regard about kudis and kujangs.

What he did say was that the people who might have known were long gone.

Something I personally find very interesting is that with the passing of time how much more previously unknown information becomes available for us to be astonished by.
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Old 5th August 2011, 03:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Perhaps David we should consider this to be 3 holes + 1 hole?

Oh goodness me I love this esoteric hypothesising.

Interestingly Harsrinuksmo, who was not at all shy about floating the odd hypothesis here and there did not say much at all in this regard about kudis and kujangs.

What he did say was that the people who might have known were long gone.

Something I personally find very interesting is that with the passing of time how much more previously unknown information becomes available for us to be astonished by.

Well Alan, i suppose the "logical" hypothesis with my 3+1 hole kudi is that it is some kind of transition piece between Hindu and Islamic. :-)
Maybe the owner was a Hindu who had a Muslim son-in-law...
Honestly i find the hypothesizing to be an interesting exercise. My only problem is that we must be very careful to remember that in the end we really haven't a clue and that we don't propagate any of this "information" as fact. Dave's retelling of what a dealer in Solo (whose is selling him contemporary kudi as Dave has noted) told him about the significance of these holes is long and detailed including the names of empus and dates and places. This report has an air of authority and certainty (partly due to all the names and dates), but what is the real source of this information? It would be very tempting to accept this report as fact and just as tempting to pass it along next time the question arises. But is it fact or merely a salesman's pitch? I don't think there is any way that we can tell for sure.
Jim's thought on the subject show just how easy it is to pass along a theory in his research that might well be taken as fact by another reader. Jim may well have read it think it just a theory, but when an idea is presented again and again it very often has a nasty habit of taking on a life of its own. Krockew's reporting of these same ideas was no more supported by any solid evidence as Dave's dealer story (names and dates not withstanding) so it remains nothing more than a hypothesis IMHO.
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Old 5th August 2011, 04:05 PM   #13
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The Seller lost me at this point :

" Nowadays, the kujang is often decorated in homes as it is believed to bring about luck, protection, honor, etc. They are displayed in pairs on walls with the inner edge facing each other. There is a taboo, however--no one is to be photographed standing in-between them as this would somehow cause the death of that person within a year. I have been assured by a senior practitioner of Kejawen the truth of this, as he had witnessed this himself. Why this occurs is not known for certain, we might shrug it off as superstition, coincidence or synchronicity but behind every phenomenon cosmic laws and intelligences are at work; we just need to discover what those laws are and the mind-set of those metaphysical intelligences directing those laws to know the reason for the anomaly. "

Pass the salt please .
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Old 5th August 2011, 06:50 PM   #14
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Default Veracity and discovering history

I absolutely agree that a grain of salt (at least) is warranted. The dealer is a native of Solo, Java and deeply embedded in the culture. Melia is actually an accountant and is very motivated to preserve traditional Java culture and the artisanship such as crafting of the weapons we admire so much. By selling contemporary works, she helps keep the village industries alive. So while she definitely wants to sell, she also wants to get the story right. Her magical thinking is not uncommon -- it is part of the culture she wishes to preserve. It shouldn't necessarily disqualify other parts of her story that may be more grounded in fact (and easier to verify). I'm not a historian or ethnographer but as a scientist I am a true believer in evidence. All of these stories are interesting, but when considering them as reliable data our confidence must be tempered by great uncertainty until there there is more corroborating evidence. All theories are contingent.
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Old 5th August 2011, 07:26 PM   #15
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Dave, i don't think that i or anyone here would question the value of selling contemporary examples of weapons and keeping alive the artisanship of creating these wonderful cultural weapons. But when we speak of traditional Javanese culture we must question which of those traditions we are talking about. Over the centuries the traditions have changed and the past has been somewhat "re-invented" numerous times. So which part of Javanese culture is she trying to preserve? It's pre-Hindu animistic traditions, it's Hindu influenced traditions, It's Islamic traditions or perhaps the relatively recent revival of Kejawen tradition? Add to this that the kudi is a Sundanese weapon which is not technically part of Javanese culture to begin with. So i am not implying that this woman is lying to you to make a sale, but she may well be relating information to you which is colored by her own specific belief system(s).
"It shouldn't necessarily disqualify other parts of her story that may be more grounded in fact (and easier to verify)"
I am curious exactly which part of her explanation you find to be "easier to verify".
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Old 5th August 2011, 07:33 PM   #16
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I love (and buy) good contemporary work .
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Old 5th August 2011, 08:58 PM   #17
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I have an article on the kujang by a Swedish anthropologist who did field work on Sundanese Silat. Based on his Sundanese informants he confirms all of the explanations of DaveA's source. It also contains some other explanations of the three holes based on Sundanese cardinal virtues as well as a form of wordplay based on the name kujang. Unfortunately I cannot reveal the exact details of the other explanations until the article is published.
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Old 5th August 2011, 10:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VVV
I have an article on the kujang by a Swedish anthropologist who did field work on Sundanese Silat. Based on his Sundanese informants he confirms all of the explanations of DaveA's source. It also contains some other explanations of the three holes based on Sundanese cardinal virtues as well as a form of wordplay based on the name kujang. Unfortunately I cannot reveal the exact details of the other explanations until the article is published.

Hey Michael, any chance you might be able to provide us with an English translation of the article when it is published?
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Old 5th August 2011, 11:38 PM   #19
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DAVID ,LOVE THE BURL WOOD ON YOUR EXAMPLE

WHEN I FIRST RAN ACROSS THESE THE UNUSUAL SHAPE AND STRANGE NAME INTRIGUED ME. THE EXAMPLES I SAW WERE OLD BUT WERE PROBABLY TAILSMANIC OBJECTS AS THE PARMOR BLADES WERE SMALL AND THIN. MY ONLY REFRENCE WAS STONES GLOSSARY AND THERE ARE PICTURES AND INFORMATION ON SEVERAL EXAMPLES ON PAGE 395 & 396 FIGURES 493 AND 494 THEY ARE REFERRED TO AS KUDI TRANCHANG AND ONE INTERESTING PICTURE IS OF A BLADE 17.5 INCHES LONG WITH SEVERAL ROUND BRASS INLAY ALONG THE SPINE OF THE BLADE. NO SCANNER SO I CAN'T ADD THE PICTURES. I ALSO WONDER WHAT THE WORD TRANCHANG MEANS, SOME STRANGE EXAMPLES ON ONE PLATE WERE IDENTIFED AS A CARPENTERS TOOL.
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Old 6th August 2011, 12:06 AM   #20
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Dave, your kudis were produced in Madura.
I have better than 40 years experience of Solo and keris dealing in Solo in particular, and in Jawa in general. These kudis and kujangs came from Madura, they are not the product of any Solo based maker. It would interest me to know exactly what village your supplier is helping to support.

David, I endorse your remarks completely.

Any information is only as good as its source, and in respect of kudis and kujangs, the possible sources of reliable information are dead several hundred years ago. Whatever stories pass for current "knowledge" are invention.

Would you like another little bit of hypothesis?

At the time when the kudi was in actual use as a weapon armies and individual warriors were much given to personal and weapon adornment. In the armies of Majapahit banners were listed as weapons.

It is possible that the holes were provided to permit ribbons to be tied to the weapon, both as adornment, and to confuse the eye of the opponent. As characteristics of weapons should always be male in nature, the number of holes needs to be a male number, which means an odd number, where an even number occurs it must be considered as two odd numbers.

As for the kujang, its unusual form with the hooked base is not the product of an attempt to create an Arabic letter, rather it is pragmatic weapon design which incorporates a body stop , preventing the blade from deep penetration, and thus creating difficulty in extraction.

The above is pure hypothesis. Given time and sufficient interest I could support these ideas with volumes of academic evidence and I would probably be able to get a great many people to believe them, but it is only the product of a spare five minutes and a deep understanding of Javanese culture and history.

Hypothesis may be entertaining, but it is as well to treat it as entertainment, nothing more.
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Old 6th August 2011, 04:57 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Thought you might be interested in an older example (dress is contemporary)...four holes...now i wonder what THAT means...



'OK, splain THIS!!!'
-Ricky Ricardo
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Old 6th August 2011, 08:43 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Hey Michael, any chance you might be able to provide us with an English translation of the article when it is published?


Sure, I will give it a try.
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Old 6th August 2011, 09:30 AM   #23
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the 4 holer could have once been a fiver that lost a hole after washing, corrosion, reshaping, etc.
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Old 6th August 2011, 02:52 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
the 4 holer could have once been a fiver that lost a hole after washing, corrosion, reshaping, etc.

That seems somewhat doubtful. The integrity of my old kudi is pretty good and i doubt there has been much reshaping. I believe this kudi always had 4 (or 3+1 ) holes.
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Old 6th August 2011, 09:00 PM   #25
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Yes, interesting Michael, perhaps this anthropologist's work extends to a dating of the rise of silat in Sunda, and a date of the decline of the kingdoms in Sunda which used the kujang as a weapon?

Then perhaps we may also be able to consider cultural distribution and use of the kudi as a weapon, and possibly the variation in mounting --- the kudi as a hand weapon, the kujang as a pole weapon.

I have not the slightest doubt that Dave's informants story can be found to be an article of faith amongst present day believers in Indonesian weapons mythology. None at all. My problem is that I have a very great deal of difficulty in accepting belief as fact, when logic and fact based knowledge does not support that belief.

Anthropologists study the beliefs of man, they do not vouch for the factual basis of those beliefs.
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Old 6th August 2011, 10:29 PM   #26
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Alan,

Of course anthropologists study present human beliefs, which is what all science is about.
Maybe I misunderstood you but do you seriously want to claim that there exist scientific eternal facts (not based on human beliefs) outside the part of Mathematics that is based on axioms (logical human beliefs that "everybody" agrees on that they do not need to be proven)?
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Old 7th August 2011, 07:56 AM   #27
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Michael, forgive me if I am incorrect in this peculiar little understanding of mine, but I do not think that in this matter of the "holes in a kudi" we are dealing with any area of science, rather I am of the opinion that we are dealing with belief systems.

Now, Dave has very kindly provided us a recital of some of those beliefs, which in turn were provided to him by a dealer in Central Jawa.

You have advised us that the writings of a Swedish anthropologist who did field work on Sundanese Silat can provide verification that the beliefs held by Dave's dealer are the same or similar to the beliefs held by some practitioners of silat living in Sunda.

So far, so good. Who can possibly argue with any of this?

Not me, and that is certain.

However, this is verification of a current belief, it is not something that can be accepted as fact, based upon evidence, and the belief itself holds no logical argument.

What we have is a belief that can probably be demonstrated to be of reasonably recent origin.This belief is attached to an artifact --- actually two quite different and distinct artifacts --- that ceased to be used perhaps 500 years ago.

Now, amongst the circle of people in Jawa with whom I associate, I have never heard these beliefs concerning kudi and kujang spoken. These are mostly older people, probably the youngest would be 55, and none have even the smallest interest in silat, but most are orientated towards Kejawen philosophy.

Bambang Harsrinuksmo was a writer of copious text. I doubt that he ever missed an opportunity to extend two words into twenty words; he was not hesitant at all to recount the esoteric beliefs associated with items of tosan aji. However, it would appear that when Harsrinuksmo was researching his encyclopedia of Indonesian tosan aji, he did not encounter this belief that Dave's dealer and some silat practitioners hold. I cannot help but wonder why.

The beliefs associated with Javanese and other weaponry are certainly interesting, in some cases, entertaining, but it is a regretable fact that a great many of the beliefs associated with Javanese tosan aji cannot be shown to be of an origin that begins more than a couple of hundred years ago, in other words, in terms of Javanese culture, they are recent beliefs, and very few of those beliefs have any foundation in evidence or in logical argument.

Once again, I do not have any problem with this, provided that we recognise that we are dealing with an artifact of a system of belief, rather than something which has some claim to be fact.
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Old 7th August 2011, 12:29 PM   #28
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Alan,

Thanks for your explanation. Two things puzzle me however:

1) I thought there was a difference culturally between Jawa and the island of Java (including Sunda)? Your sources seem to be Jawanese and based on Kejawen. The Swedish anthropologist refers to specific Sundanese belief systems and Sundanese informants. Silat practitioners or not is in this case irrelevant as far as they were familiar with the Sundanese culture.

2) Of course the information is based on our current belief systems. The same are historical "facts" and historical "logic" and belief systems. All present historical research is based on an understanding that presumes our current belief systems. And so are your Jawanese informants' opinions and also all yours and mine logical arguments and evidence. Unfortunately that is a "logical fact" that none of us can ignore.

But let us agree on your last sentence and leave the theory of science to the philosophers...
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Old 7th August 2011, 05:12 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Dave, your kudis were produced in Madura.
I have better than 40 years experience of Solo and keris dealing in Solo in particular, and in Jawa in general. These kudis and kujangs came from Madura, they are not the product of any Solo based maker. It would interest me to know exactly what village your supplier is helping to support.


Thanks. Good info. Now I know who to ask about such things! Unfortunately, I lost contact with that dealer about four years ago.

- Dave A.
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Old 9th August 2011, 12:03 AM   #30
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I apologise for causing you such confusion Michael.

I sometimes forget that people are coming from a base which differs from my own, and do not have the same resources upon which to draw, I sometimes write or say something assuming that the things which are obvious to me will also be obvious to them, so I leave out steps in the thinking process, and not infrequently, I achieve nothing other than to confuse them, as I have obviously done with you.

I'm sorry.

I'll try again.

The societal organisation in pre-Islamic times in much of what is now Indonesia was very similar. Especially across the Islands of Jawa, Bali and Madura there was a sameness to society and culture that made these areas almost able to be viewed as a single societal and cultural unit. The societal components were organised in a similar way, and the fabric of the underlaying culture for all of this area was very similar.

Similar methods of agriculture were used, which only varied dependent upon the applicable climate and conditions, and similar tools were used to carry on that agriculture, however, these tools had local variations and sometimes the names also differed. For instance the arit --- a reaping hook or sickle --- is virtually universal, but in some areas it has developed a weapon form, and has a different name, as in Madura, where it is known as a celurit and is recognised as the characteristic Madurese weapon.

Now let us direct our attention to the progression of this thread.

Mark asked a question that relates to the kudi.

The kudi is a Javanese implement that even in pre-Mataram Jawa had a tool form and a weapon form. In its tool form it still exists in Jawa today. If one has seen a kudi being used to cut grass the unusual form is easily understood, as the protrusion near the handle acts as a stop for the grass that is being cut, and helps to gather it into a bundle prior to being cut.

When the kudi became a weapon, it was given a point, to make it useable as a thrust weapon , as well as a cut weapon.

There are a number of kudi forms, there is the tool form, the weapon form, a talismanic form, and the kujang.

Lexicographers regard the word "kujang" as a regional variation of the word "kudi". In Sunda the kujang has acquired cultural connotations that the kudi does not have in Jawa.

From this we can understand that inclusion of the kujang in a discussion of an ancient form of the kudi is irrelevant, however, a discussion of the kujang should include discussion of the kudi, as the kujang descended from the kudi.

Since we are discussing the kudi, and not the kujang, we need to direct our attention to Javanese culture rather than Sundanese culture.

Mark's question concerned one of the characteristics of an implement which exists in Javanese culture and society, specifically the holes that are almost invariably found in the talismanic form of the kudi, and that may sometimes be found in the weapon form of the kudi.

Tradition has it that the talismanic form of the kudi has existed for a very long time, certainly back into the Hindu era of Jawa. This is where our knowledge stops and myth, legend, popular belief and academic hypothesis takes over.

It is tempting to hypothesise that the three holes represent the Hindu trinity, however, even if there is an association, it more probable that the holes were created to receive something that represented the trinity.

It can be fun to play with ideas, especially when we do not know sufficient about the subject to be discouraged by improbabilities and contradictions. This is why I stayed out of this thread when it began:- I do not know sufficient to be able to provide the answer that Mark was seeking.
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